Rimrock and Morrison Trails

MODERATE 20 reviews
#3 of 39 trails in

Rimrock and Morrison Trails is a 17.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mead Twp, PA that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.

17.4 miles 3249 feet Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

cross country skiing

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

backpacking
1 month ago

My husband and I hiked the western Rimrock Loop portion of this trail as an overnight. (September 24-25.) Overall hiking was easy to moderate. A few narrow and sloping sidehill sections. A few extremely dense, nearly-impassable blackberry thickets and multiflora (wild) rose thickets when we were there in late September. Tasty windfall apples from old apple trees.

Trail was generally well-marked although the turnoff for the Morrison campground was totally unlabeled, as noted by most of the other reviewers there. There's a three-way trail junction with a sign telling you you're on the Rimrock Trail; absolutely no mention that the third trail, which heads distinctly downhill, is the access to the campground.

The Morrison campground no longer has piped water; due to bacterial contamination they've removed the faucets. Water must be gathered from the reservoir and purified. Vault toilets are still there. Because the Morrison campground is accessible to boaters and is very close to the put-in facilities at Kinzua Beach, Dewdrop, and Elijah (just a few easy miles for kayakers and even stand-up paddle boards, not to mention powered craft), the campground is popular and can be noisy. On a very chilly weekend in late September all but two campsites were occupied. Views over the lake and dark, starry skies were lovely. But if I crave more peace and quiet, next time I'll camp at an established backpacker's campsite at Campbell Run (there's a site visible slightly off-trail where the trail turns southwards away from the run, and it had very low but juuust-viable amounts of water in the stream there) or Morrison Run (good water even in late September and multiple established sites all along the stream).

4 months ago

camping
4 months ago

I don't know yet, anticipating my adventure. Hiking, camping, swimming. All under the stars.

backpacking
4 months ago

My husband, son, and I made this into a three day trip. We stayed the first night just off the trail in what looked like had been another's camp in the past. The next morning we hiked to Morrison campground which, to us, was a hidden gem. The trail to the campground isn't marked but you can see an obvious trail and the individual sites are easy to find. It is $12 to stay and the money goes in a drop box so take exact change. We didn't intend to stay the night there but the surroundings were so beautiful and my husband and son couldn't stay out of the water. We spent the rest of the day exploring and swimming. We had a beautiful spot in the lake and I would've loved to stay another day. The hike back seemed mostly uphill and followed along a creek. The scenery was ever changing and beautiful the whole way. We will definitely go back. As to the trail being difficult to follow, we didn't have any trouble except where the two trails come together. I wanted to go one way and my husband another (he was right). Luckily we went the way he wanted or else we wouldn't looped back around. Otherwise, the trail was very well marked.

hiking
5 months ago

I walked this trail yesterday, completing the 5.8 mile Morrison Trail Loop. My brother recorded the hike and the distance is closer to 6.4 miles, not a great difference in distance, I suppose.

This is one of the most clearly marked trail systems I have ever seen. For those who got lost, perhaps signage was not present as it was for me. When I hiked ( June, 2016), there were large wooden signs at every juncture with arrows pointing the way and the miles of each walk listed beside the name of the trail. Along the trail, white diamonds make the trail almost impossible to get lost. This is also one of the widest and nicely maintained trails I have ever seen.

A moderate rating is probably accurate. There are some hills, but very little in the way of long steep climbs (nothing like you get at the fairly nearby Minister Creek Trail). Beautiful forest, as always. A few old oil derricks are a real downer near the start of the trail; I could even smell added gas odor at one of the sites. There is a large portion at the north-eastern edge of the trail that lies adjacent to some clear cut forest ( perhaps for fracking?). Very sad.

All in all, a gorgeous wooded wild location. This forest is one of the real natural gems of the world and should remain untouched.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike unless u miss the trail. Can get lost easily.. Lots is giant boulders and cool streams

6 months ago

Great day hike or overnight. We did the outer loop for about 12 miles. Trail is well marked and Morrison has an extended portion along a creek. Difficulty is easy to moderate in a few area of Rimrock.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked the loop over the holiday weekend. Completed the entire outside loop at 12 miles. We are beginners and the trail was marked well enough that we had no problem staying on track. A few times you were unable to see exactly where the trail was suppose to be due to rocks, leaves, and downed trees but you could almost always easily see a tree marker in those areas. There is quite a bit of water to cross, however we had no trouble. Each crossing had plenty of rocks or logs to get across without getting wet. At one point there is a steady uphill climb for about a mile if you do the loop clockwise. For the most part it's pretty level. If you plan to stay overnight, I recommend bringing $12/cash to stay at the Morrison Campground. There aren't a lot of "established sites" along the trail and this is also a good halfway point. Overall, it was a good 2 day hike. Not a whole lot to see but definitely a great trail for beginners.

6 months ago

awesome hiking, my buddy and i backpacked the tral staying the night in the woods. Trail is marked enough that if you know what your doing youll have little trouble staying on the path and finding the path after wondering off of it.

7 months ago

Rim rock is an 8.5 mile loop that joins Morrison trail a 5 ish mile loop. All trails has it marked wrong. I hiked the rim rock portion

Horrible hike, ankle deep in mud on a non rainy day, little to no drainage means all the water ends up in the trail. the trail is VERY poorly marked (when it's marked at all) requiring several backtracks to refund the trail. The few signs are horrible and actually make it difficult to tell which trail you're on. Had to use a compass at one point. Multiple felled trees require significant off trail detours as well. Completely missed the campground as there was no sinage. Toward the end the trail needlessly winds back and forth over the same stream but with little in foldable areas, rocks or other assistance to cross meaning at multiple points you have little choice but to wade through shin high water...make sure you are prepared to get wet.

On top of this trail does not go close enough to lake for any good views.

Overall one of the worst trails I've hiked. Did not enjoy and would not recommend

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

This is a nice hike probably my favorite. Inclined aren't bad, Morrison inlet beautiful and walking along the creek is great.

camping
1 year ago

I would rate this as moderate. We took the 3.8 mile trail to Morrison Campground. We took our time as we had 40 lb packs. Took us about 3 hours. No breathtaking views, but full of nature. Morrison run's water was low, but we saw a few wild trout. Purified water was refreshing. Camp site was excellent. Each site had a picnic table, and a fire ring. Each site was separated and semi private. Fire wood was hard to come by, as the area has been picked clean. You will have to leave the campground to get any good wood.

Make sure you tie up your food and lift it 10 feet from a tree when you sleep. We left our food about 50 yards away from our tent, and heard a pack of coyote's yipping and yapping trying to get at our food. Made for a long sleepless night.

We did not see any bears, but they are out there.

Perfect for a 2 day camp / hike. Highly recommend it.

1 year ago

great trail. don't use all trails directions to trailhead. trailhead is located on route 59. so much to explore. there is 2 view points that you can hike up and see off of the rimrock trail almost near Morrison campground. I've only had time to find the one next time I'll find the other. great mountain view

1 year ago

I would not give this an easy maybe moderate. There is no real views to look at. The drive there has more things to looks at then the trail has to offer. The trail is mark clearly I know this was a issues in years past but it looks like they have made some effort. There is still some issues though one being the camp site has no signage you pass right pass it and never know there is just a marker telling you the trail name an if you look south you will see the trail that goes to the camp sites. Last thing there is a sign at the rimrock loop cut though the sign is very confusing it could send you for a loop and not the one you want if your not careful. If you have a GPS you should have no trouble but if you don't be careful.

2 years ago

This is one of my favorite hikes in all of PA!! This is a beautiful and a sensory hike! The smells, sounds, scents and touch of nature will absolutely refresh your mind and body!!! Absolutely pay attention to the signs regarding bear!!!

2 years ago

Great trail. Moderately difficult in parts. Pay attention to the blazes. There are a few sections where the trail can be hard to follow. Overall great experience. The national forest service provides a free topo map at the link below.

hiking
4 years ago

A beautiful trek through Pennsylvania forest! At the higher elevations you will be walking through fields of ferns as far as you can see and then find yourself surrounded by beautiful mountain laurel. A part of the Rimrock trail has you walking among house size boulders and the Morrison trail parallels the Morrison Run. With many easy crossings, the Morrison run is charming and will bring anyone back to childhood memories of playing in the creek. There is an abundance of wildlife: saw deer, grouse, woodpeckers, many chipmonks and squirrels, heard a turkey, saw no bear) . This stunning trail can be capped off with an overnight at the Morrison Campground located on the shore of the Kinzua Reservoir ($12 self served site fee). There were also several other defined campsites along Morrison Run and the Rimrock trail if you prefer.

With one noteable exception, the trail is well defined, blazed and contains appropriate signs. The trail surface is great: mostly soft earth with some roots, rocks, and occasional mud. While i went clockwise (Morrison trail first and then the Rimrock out) it might be an easier climb out to go counter-clockwise as you would be following the slope of Morrison Run. The drop from the trailhead at PA56 to the campground is 727'. The major exception to the blazes and map is at the campground. The map shows about three ways to get from the trail down to the campsites but don't waste your time looking for them. There is only one route down that I could find: There is a sign at the intersection of the Rimrock trail with what appears to be a four-wheel drive trail (I take to be a lightly used service access to the campground). Follow this four-wheel trail down to the campground.

At the campground, there are 38 defined campsites with fire rings and picnic tables. The site is only accessible via the trails or boat with no reservations available (first come first served). Many of the sites are directly on the shore with others available throughout the area. There are a couple of clean privys and pressurized water stations. At the time of this writing there was a sign at each of the faucets stating the presence of e. coli from a sample sometime in 2009... as always, take your filter. The camp is peaceful with beautiful views of the reservoir and surrounding hills. It is surprising how loud and obnoxious motor boats are. They can be heard long before being seen across the lake but, if you can put up with the occasional racket it is a fantastic setting.

There are printable maps and nice descriptions of the campsite available here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/allegheny.

hiking
4 years ago

Beautiful wooded trail. The sign at the trailhead warning of bears should not be taken lightly. We had the awesome pleasure of encountering our first black bear in the wild! Halfway through the hike, deep in the woods, a bear sauntered down to the creek for a drink about twenty yards ahead of us. We stopped to observe him but before I could get the camera ready he bolted up an adjacent hill and was gone. One of my favorite memories now. Would be a four star trail but I'm giving five for the wildlife.

hiking
5 years ago

Nice trail. Several different loops, can be kind of hard to follow.