Great park and trail. Definitely download the map at the park website. The trails vary a lot, some are rocky footpaths and others are wide, flat grassy trails. It is nice to have the option of what kind of trail to walk on. The view at the vista is great! Definitely recommend this trail!
Completed the trail (both north and south loops) April 1 and 2 2016 to record my first solo hike. Pretty challenging in the rain and cold (glad I brought my cold gear). Camped on the banks of a beaver pond between 2 dams. The trail was in good shape even though it rained both days a pair of boots with gaiters kept my feet dry. Didn't see any other person the entire length of the trail.
beautiful and quite place to hike, endless amounts of wilderness it seemed! just curious, what color marker everyone else was following, i thought i was on this 10 mile trail but turns out the orange marker is a 25 mile trail!!!! quite a difference haha. is there a trail at this location that is 10 miles and maybe i followed the wrong color marker??
I completed this trail on 18-19 June 2015. I picked a rainy couple of days to walk this trail. As a result I walked in standing water for most of this 23 mile loop. A lot of the trail is over grown and has not seen much maintenance, as a result I was treated to a very thorough "Hiker Wash" from all of the wet leaves and branches that were constantly brushing me as I walked. I spent the night under a very large hemlock just on the south side of the loop, that was very nice and mostly dry. My second day I completed the Southern portion of the loop, passing by a large beaver dam and nice stream. This trail was very well marked and easy to follow. Pick a dry time of year and you will enjoy this trail.
First time backpacking and it was a solo trip. I hiked the North loop for a 1-night trip. I enjoyed this trail a lot, but it was certainly challenging with some rocky sections, at least for a beginner. I would recommend gaiters too, with the trail being so narrow, you are walking into brush almost constantly.
I ended up camping at the north most site of the loop. I anticipated being able to obtain water at Painter's Creek as others have mentioned, but by the time I reached the campsite, a big storm rolled in, and I had not found the Creek. Fortunately, I had brought 4L of water since it was my first time and didn't want to take a chance. I think I might have gotten into some trouble otherwise.
Once I found Painter's the next day, it seemed like a very shallow and slow moving stream that looked more like a swamp, so I don't think I would have preferred to get water from it anyway.
Incredibly diverse forest in my opinion, and the vista at the end of the loop was a great reward!
Did this loop as my first backpacking trip. Terrain was pretty rocky and there were some downed trees across the trail, but other than that it is a really nice little trail. Lots of different scenery, and it switches between ferns, pines, and rocks frequently enough that you don't get bored looking at it. Only one water source with decent camping that we saw, and all three sites around it were claimed by 4pm. Not really an issue if you're a fast hiker or like to carry lots of water. Good spot to refill halfway through the loop. The trail to the top of the little rock formation by the Pine Hill Vista is a bit overgrown, but if you drop your pack you can scramble up through the brush.
We did the south loop going clockwise from the Bear Pond Rd parking site and began with the McClintock’s Gate Trail. Very well maintained trail and was well marked. We stayed overnight at the southernmost Choke Creek campsite. Nice site but regardless of what you may read, don’t depend on this water for drinking. Phosphates and other contaminants make it unusable unless a survival situation. Tried boiling and chlorinating the water and was awful. Do yourself a favor and take the necessary water. That night, heard packs of coyotes howling a few hundred yards away on the hunt. The next day, we found another 5-6 campsites heading north along the creek. After the trail breaks from the creek, heading back to Tannery Rd, there were another 5-6 campsites so lots of places to camp. Found a heavily used beaver dam\pond along the way as well. Nice trip and looking forward to doing the north loop. And yes, plenty of ticks and the blueberry’s weren’t ripe yet either.
Excellent trail! Very diverse ecosystem, no huge hills. I thought the trail was less rocky than most PA trails. I would not want to do this trail in the rain or after a lot of rain. It looks like it could get pretty muddy!
The only downside was the hike on the road (parked just north of Bear Lake). Next time I will park on Tannery Road and use the snow mobile trails to avoid the hot road. Other than that - excellent. Attached a DCNR map link.
Back packed the north loop. The weather was fair the company was great the adventure was awesome. We started out late Friday night under rainy sky's and temperatures hovering around 40 it was pitch black out (cave dark) we started walking north on Pittston Rd and decided to take the first snow mobile trail we came to just to set up camp for the night. We camped right along spring run creek. It was chilly sleeping but survivable. The next morning we made a quick breakfast and hit the trail. We headed back the way we came and found the start of the main trail. We walked in a counter clock wise direction to the watres reservoir trail. We were on here for a short time when the sound of running water called us. We followed the faint whisper to this very tranquil stream (panther creek) where we found a perfect camp site with plenty of overhead cover, the night was clear but brisk once again chilly over night (I'm a hammock camper). The sun rose the sky was gray and it was time to head back to the truck. Overall this trip found its way into my top five. The reasons are gorgeous views and the added element of starting in the dark and cold rain was definitely not for the faint of heart
I picked this trail to do my first solo hiking trip. I was able to do the entire trail in 25 hours and I took my time. I'm from pennsylvania and still wasn't prepared for how rocky this trail was. It was an easy trail but with the rocks in the southern half it can be tough going at times. Be prepared to treat your water at Choke Creek. All of the campsites are below multiple beaver dams. I filtered my water and boiled just to be safe. The last two campsites along Choke Creek are the best with the last spot being primo. On a side note I had cell service along the entire trail.
Just did the south loop again, I couldn't have dreamed of better weather for october! Overnight camping was A+ due to weather! Little bit of rain, but that never killed anyone! This is the first time I ever saw other campers spending the night, must be the weather! Trail was great and maintained very well, trail markers are still in great shape so it is very easy to follow. I will definately be back again!