The trail is 9.7 miles, not the the 8 that's listed here, otherwise a great trail. Unfortunately the creeks were all dry so it wasn't as scenic as expected but the overlooks and vista made up for it. As others have mentioned there are lots of rattlesnakes along the trail so keep an eye out. If going counter clockwise as others have suggested your first mile will be entirely uphill but the view at the top is worth it and it's mostly downhill the rest of the way.
Make sure you follow orange marks at all times, there are other trails throughout the loop portion of this hike. Was a very nice and enjoyable morning hike. Tough beginning incline, but I promise the viewpoints are worth the pain your calfs will go through. Bring bug spray, the lower level portion of this hike was very buggy.
Loved this hike for its scenery and physical challenge.. Agree with the other postings in that the counterclockwise track is definitely the best way – get the ascent out of the way. It's been dry lately so neither of the runs had much if any water flowing. Really need to watch where you're walking. Came across one timber rattler about 2 feet off the path. Fortunately, they're rather docile unless threatened and it just ignored us as we slowly walked by. Can't wait to do this hike again!
Ray F. on Golden Eagle Trail
WEAR PANTS. That is my biggest advice. Hiked this is beginning of June and regretted wearing capri's, there's no escaping the nettles!! Itchy but not harmful. Google maps will not be correct on taking you to the trail. Park at Clark Farm/Utceter access area, access to the trail will be right across the road (it is labeled) I recommend going right when you come to where it splits off. You'll get the really hard stuff out of the way (but frankly ALOT of it was hard stuff) Also be aware of your surroundings at all times. Encountered a bear, a rattlesnake, and a few black racer backs. None will harm you unless you threaten it so be very careful where you walk, especially around the rocky areas. Best views by far that I've seen in PA and has some great little waterfalls walking along the creek. I recommend giving yourself about 5-7 hours of daylight to hike it. I'm 5'2, 130 lbs, exercise at least twice a week and still only completed it in 6 hrs (added in time for pictures/avoiding bears/lunch time) Last but not least WEAR PANTS!
I read a great review on PAHikes.com that gave a great description of the trail going counter-clockwise. I highlly recommend going through the trail that way! I am in pretty good shape and it took me about 5 1/2 hours, including a stop to eat lunch at one of the vistas. I agree with bug spray and long pants.
I've done this trail twice, once in early spring, and the other this fall. There's a reason this is called one of the best day hikes in PA. You get to see all our amazing state has to offer. The trail offers a pretty nice feeling of wildness and remoteness, you only see the road (rt 414) once at the one vista, otherwise you feel like you're pretty far out. I will continue to use this trail for its own, and as a way to get in shape for longer and harder multi night trips.
Wish I had read these reviews before hiking the GET yesterday in shorts; those nettles really got me. Ouch! I also recommend the counterclockwise loop, to get the hard climb out of the way. Didn't see any rattlers or bears, but I did meet a turkey at Bonnell Vista, and we scared each other (about 10 feet away) real good. Nearly missed the sign for the GET to Bonnel Run (also says The Saddle) off the road coming down from the Vistas and would have happily kept following the blazes down the road.
Favorite trail yet! Went in early July...recommend bug spray and long plants (knee-high stinging nettle through large portions of trail). Beautiful views, definitely worth the few scares we had (run in with angry momma bear, counted at least a dozen timber rattlers at ravens horn, and detoured around copperhead blocking path). Very quiet, we were the only ones on the trail. Plan on hiking this trail often! Also recommend hiking counter clockwise, get the most strenuous portion of the trail while still fresh!