Great loop. Was rainy and wet when we did it, the trail was a river. Banged it out as an overnight. Not so many great views but great forest and numerous campsites. One tricky stream crossing late in the first day but probably wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't raining. Easily found a log to cross on.
Very well marked and maintained trail. Be warned that it is very very dry this summer. We hiked clockwise from Masten. Between Pleasant Stream (around mile 10) and Yellow Dog Run (around mile 20) almost all the streams have dried up. Get water when you can. We also saw a couple rattlesnakes up at Big Rocks. The highlight for us was Sharp Top Vista where we camped on our first night.
The views from the vistas were breathtaking at the least! The path was marked very well, and a moderate hike. Watch for Timber rattle snakes by Big Rock vista. Encountered 6 of them. My only complaint is that the trail is advertised at 23-25 miles depending on the site but it is actually 29.98 (as per GPS tracking) so plan accordingly and bring enough water!
Beautiful views from the vistas! We did Old Loggers Path. The path was well marked and easy to follow. It was a moderate path to hike but be warned! It is NOT a 25.3 mile loop. Our GPS tracked us at 29.98 so plan accordingly. If we go back, we definitely will make two days of the hike. Also watch for Timber Rattle snakes, we encountered 6 by Big Rock vista
This is an amazing area. There are great day hikes, plenty of parking area, and several great lookouts and views. Take a minute to take it in and breathe in some nature. This entire trail is full of hills. The usual PA terrain. It's moderate to fairly strenuous, and isn't a leisurely hike. Wear sturdy shoes. Most sections had moving water for drinking in October, but the park office said the water levels were low this season. From the photos I've seen I could tell they were low. The trail is very well marked with orange blazes. Contact the park office (570-946-4049) to check trail conditions, and they even mailed me a trail map for free. Very helpful staff. If you hike the off season, October to the spring some time, you need to call the office a day or 2 prior to your hike to make sure you can have fires.
We drove in on Thursday night, and setup camp in the dark. If you come in from the north on Masten Road it will take you right to the parking area. There are 2 parking areas. One west, and one east in the ghost town. We parked at the west one, which has tent camping right across the road. Very convenient. If you look at the map (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_20027896.pdf) it's the one labeled "Masten Ghost Town Start". Nice facilities.
Day1:(11.5 miles) Up Bright and early Friday morning. We brought extra car camping gear for that first morning, and left it in the car for our hike.It's nice to start out with a full, hot breakfast on a cool morning. We then packed up, and hit the trail.
We started from the camp site, and ended at mile 11.54 on the map going counterclockwise. There's a small area there with a fire pit. There are other larger areas at the 10.05mile area. Due to some confusion of mileage with a track I uploaded to my Garmin, which started at the ghost town, I was off by a mile. Which is why we ended at 11 miles versus 10. No big deal, but be sure you know which start point your directions start from. Day 1 was quite a long day, and we got to camp around 6pm. Fire, fluids, food, then hit the sack.
Day2:(9 miles) Started at 11.54, ended 20.5. Due to the extra mile on day 1, we had one less to put in on day 2. Good thing... I was toast. Another long section of hills and rocks. This section seemed like we covered so much distance, but as I checked we were constantly surprised by how slow we were actually moving. It feels like a fast hike, but you just don't make any distance. At mile 16.8 there's a "NO BRIDGE" on the map. This is where you see the photos of people crossing the river on the trees. We hiked quite a bit in both directions, but nothing looked good. Perhaps the nimble, sure footed hikers can take the packs across of the less steady hikers. If the water is a bit lower toss some rocks from the shore and make a path to cross. Consider your options. Wet feet? Fall off the log and get all wet and maybe injure something? Be ready for this one.
The camp spot at 20.5 is a fantastic site. nice area, great fire pit. Just hope it's available.
Day3:(7 miles) Camp at 20.5 back to the car. This page says 23.7 miles, but it's actually 27.3 miles. The last 7 miles out are quite nice, and if you get up and go end the day fairly early. Just keep an eye in that switch back hill climb at mile 22 that just seems to keep going and going. Once you clear that it's smooth sailing from there. You pop out at the ghost town, and have an easy mile back to the parking.
Let me just start out by saying that this was a fantastic trip and I would recommend this trail to beginners, novice, or experienced. The trail is mostly easy but does have some moderately challenging areas. There were great views from high vistas, plenty of water from streams, and no shortage of campsites. All in all, I think it's a fantastic trail.
I drove 5 1/2 hours to get the trail head which is tucked away down a few dirt roads. There is plenty of parking available making it very easy to identify the area as the trail head. There were a couple of surprisingly very clean and well kept up Port-O-Johns for last minute go time. I went in early October and was one day after some real heavy downpours so most things were wet, but nothing was soggy. Water is not much of a concern since there are so many streams to collect water from. The trail is excellently marked and kept up making it a breeze to stay on the path. Trees that had fallen down across the path had already been cut and the way was always clear to get through. Those who take care of the trail do a wonderful job and I am grateful for their diligent hard-work.
I took my sweet ol-time since it was my first time on this trail and spent 3 nights and 4 days on the trail even tho others can complete it in 1-2 days. There are so many areas with beautiful views including where I spent the first night at Sprout Point Vista. I highly recommend taking the time to veer off onto the short side trail that leads to this vista. The highlight for me of the whole trail was at the confluence of Yellow Dog Run and Rock Run. An especially gorgeous area with lots of camp sites available. If you want a map and trail guide with all of the notes about where to camp, all the best views, and what to expect at every turn, Dave Gantz has put together a great little book titled "Old Loggers Path Guide". I would recommend spending the few dollars it costs to acquire.
I hope to make it an annual trip, there are many more beautiful sights and this is a great trail to enjoy.
A mostly moderate with many easy miles but also has some more challenging and steep inclines which can be tough if using a large pack or not in shape or used to hiking. Most of the difficult segments do not last very long but one is better described as challenging and has a very large increase in elevation is quite steep, but does not last too long but is long and steep enough that people who may not by physically in shape or used to pushing themselves may want to do the trail in the opposite direction. It is the most challenging part and is many miles into day one. There are a couple other spots that may be moderate but not quite as steep or as long or difficult. Definitely not near as challenging as the first steep incline. It's an amazing weekender or one nighter depending on what you want, but like 8 or so amazing vistas, the camp site for night one is not bad, easy trout fishing right next to it if you need some food. The camp for the second night of making a weekend and taking your time is a beautiful picturesque spot where the yellow dog converges with rock run and has so much beauty, some water falls and is amazing swimming holes and is a great way to cool off, but none of that descriptions or pictures come close to actually describing this location, and it's beauty. The waterfalls, swimming holes and natural beauty are worth the trip alone, but a couple of the vistas magnificent as well. Then when you wake up you have a mostly easy and quick 6 or 7 mile hike out which is quite easy going and can be done pretty quickly at a brisk pace of needed. I have done a lot of hiking in many states and this is one of my favorite 2-3 day trails. About 30 miles, a couple of challenging parts with steep incline but only one is a little long, and just so magnificent of a hike with many amazing scenes of nature that no pictures can describe or give it the justice it deserves. I would recommend this to any experienced hikers and even inexperienced ones that are in ok shape, it is easy to follow and stay on the very well marked and maintained path.
Did the OLP from Friday morning - Sunday noon. Great trail anytime of year.
We started by arriving into the Masten trail head location via Pleasant Stream Road at about 2am Thursday night/Friday morning. We set a fire in the old chimney (which many people have done before us) and it was great for reflective warmth and cooking delicious pre-trek steaks on hot rocks. If you plan on doing the trip during Oct-Jan, there is a burn ban in effect. Simply call the state park office, let them know your plans to hike, and they will give you oral permission to have the fire. In case a ranger stops you, just lean on that permission. It began to snow/sleet/rain that night/morning and the water likes to pool up in front of the chimney, so it is recommended to find higher ground there a bit further back if you plan to set base camp.
Friday morning we set out about 9:30am heading clockwise. That means crossing over the bridge and turning right onto the trail head. If you find yourself headed uphill and turning right, you are about to do the loop counter-clockwise. Walking is very easy on this trail, as most of it is wide old grades and smooth footpaths in between. Rocks are rarely a problem, and don't last very long when they do appear. This is a nice change from being a constant PA AT backpacker! The weather was windy cold and snowy. Sleet and snow peppered the day. We stopped for lunch atop Sharp Top Vista just in time to see snow squalls come over us from the northwest and travel down the valley. Quite a sight to see just a mass of snow surrounded by blue skies and sunshine. . . trippy for sure. All in all, we saw about 0.5" of snow accumulate at high elevation, but not stick at lower elevation. We continued down along the mountain and arrived into camp at Pleasant Stream around 3:00pm. You have to cross a "bridgeless" river here, but there is a 2-trunk tree down across - making one nice to walk on, the other to hold onto. Crossing is not a problem (at current water levels.) However, in the am it is icy, and a bit more tricky. Just be mindful and deliberate with your footing.
3:00pm was a good time to get to camp so we could, A. Break bags and setup. . . B. Have enough daylight to forage for firewood further out from camp. . . C. Beat the troop of boy scouts that were moving through counter-clockwise. Their was disappointment when they saw us at the northside camp on pleasant stream, but they were happy with the camp on the other side. They setup there for the night, as well as another small group of people.
Saturday was highlighted with nice weather, Sullivan mountain providing great views to the south from impressive rock ledges, and knowing we were headed to camp along Rock Run. We took a slight detour from the trail at the second powerline crossing. Rather than continuing around to follow Yellow Dog Run from the top, we cut down the powerline, across the road, and straight down to Yellow Dog Run. We figured we had to come down anyway, so let's save the time and be able to follow Yellow Dog Run stream-side all the way to where it dumps in to Rock Run...where we planned to camp. The choice was right. It saved us about 40 minutes. Yellow Dog Run has some great pools, falls, and slides that can only be seen if you follow along the banks. At the end you are graced with the sight and sound of it dumping into Rock Run - another gem worth exploring. Camp was great here. Nice firepits, stone chairs, and level ground. Plenty of wood - especially oily birch - and water is just a few steps away.
Sunday was pretty quick. Pulled out of camp at about 9ish and finished up about 11:45; a little over 6 miles. Solid uphill climb starts your morning, and the day ends with coming downhill to the parked cars.
Some key points to consider:
1. If you can start Friday morning, the reco is to do the loop clockwise, and camp at Pleasant Stream night 1 and Rock Run night 2. There are less people doing the trail clockwise. As a matter of fact, we crossed nobody on the trail, only intercepted folks headed counter-clockwise at camps.
2. There is a lot of water. Streams, springs, seeps, mud pits, wet leaves, etc. Be sure to wear Gore-tex boots in cool and cold weather, and something ventilated and quick drying in warm and hot weather.
3. Akin to point 2, you don't need to carry a ton of water. save the weight for a better, more comfortable hike. You cross so many runs and streams that it is easy to fill up and sterilize a nalgene or gatorade bottle.
4. You do not have cell service. Not even when you get to the Masten trail head. The only time you do have service is when you are at high elevation near sharp top and Sullivan mountain. Keep your phone off because it kills the battery as it is in constant "find the signal" mode. If your spouse or significant other is a worrier and wants you to check in morning and night, prepare them for the fact that cells simply don't work, and you will call when you can. If they don't
My first hiking trip and it kicked my a**. Did Fri a.m to Sun. Planned on doing the whole thing but I was the weak link. It was still awesome and a good measuring stick for an out of shape newb. Definitely going back to complete the whole thing. Came across a couple rattlesnakes,saw a glimpse of a baby bear + alot of bear tracks and skat and a lot of what looked like cat tracks? Bobcat? Had some really nice views,the trails were well marked and the camp site were sweet
Hello All adventurers & explorers!
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