Tracy Ridge Hiking Trail System is a 8.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Corydon Twp, PA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.
This trail starts out easy and grows more challenging where it combines with the North Country Trail along the Alleghany Resevoir. I didn't do the loop described but chose a variation that I hiked to Hopewell Campsite. Reaching the campsite added an additional 5 miles to hike. There were considerable hills, and the trail often narrows dangerously on steep terrain at points throughout. Bring your trekking poles. Views were pretty non existent throughout this hike, except when you make it the NCT and have views of the Resevoir. The trails were hard to determine at times because proper blazing for trail turns were not often used. Especially heading to Hopewell campsite, so be careful.
I hiked in mid October and was surprised to find little water sources which force me to fill my 2L Bladder, and 1L water bottle at a drizzling creek bed. I did this just in case there wasn't water at Hopewell Campsite. This added an additional 6.6lbs to my pack which was an additional challenge when climbing and descending hills. I found that I did well to top off the water because the only water source that I did have access to was the Resevoir itself. Believe me I wasn't a fan of drinking water from it even though I had a filter.
The Hopewell Campsites were great, clean, and well situated. They even had picnic tables. There is a $12 fee per site per night on the honor system. Be honorable ;o). There was a privy nearby as well which was an added bonus no matter how bad it smelled.
I left camp early because my return trip was primarily an 8 mile trek back to the trail head. The beginning of which was a 4 mile ascent which added additional challenges because I learned that I should have worn my trail runners instead of hiking boots the day before so my toes were angry at me.
My only gripes are 1) the blazes and signage need to be revisited and executed so that there is little chance of missing crucial directions while on trial. 2) The trail has a lot of over growth in areas so be prepared for that.
Overall it was a very good area to hike. I'd recommend heading to one of the campsites along the Tracy Ridge system via North Country Trail heading North To South for an added challenge!
We (spouse, 22 year old son and Teddy our dog) spent two full days on these trails in early October, 2016. gorgeous hiking, saw very few people even on the weekend.
We covered almost 30 miles. the trails are well marked and even have distances for each section showing. This made it easy to adjust our route to fit our time.
We were surprised by the lack of wildlife we saw. except for chipmunks and hearing some birds chirping, we did not see another type of animal.
There was very little available running water, so fill up when you can or at the well pumps at the campgrounds. Probably different in the Spring?
We did not camp at one of the campgrounds. We found a really nice camp site at the northern end of the trail section, near the little jut of the reservoir.
Overall, a great area to hike and backpack in. The trails are mostly well marked and
we felt we were truly out in the woods, all by ourselves. Well worth it!
Some trail maintenance completed 10/14 on the 5-6-7 loop. Chainsaw team hopefully to be out in a week or so to cut the downed trees/branches we tagged on the gps. Planning some sapling and brush cut back for April.
Note: The Tracy Ridge Hiking Trail System has been greatly expanded beyond the 8.9-mile loop described at the top of the page here. Check out a good map from the forest service here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5052731.pdf
My husband and I put together an approximately 20-mile loop which we hiked over three days, October 7-9. The trail is generally moderate in difficulty: some stretches up on the top of the plateau are quite flat and easy; there are some narrow sidehills; a few big climbs between the top of the plateau and the edge of the reservoir; many small stream crossings (pretty much all dry in October) and a few larger stream crossings that may be trickier when water is higher; occasional big swampy stretches, especially on the old forest road between junctions 5 and 7.
Like most hiking in the Allegheny National Forest, it's a nice walk in the woods. Occasional views of the reservoir in between the leaves; a few house-sized boulders here and there. Blazes are generally excellent; there are signposts showing one's location on the trail map at all the numbered trail junctions.
There are two developed campgrounds with vault toilets and hand-pump water: Hopewell, which is directly adjacent to the trail, and Handsome Lake, which has a longer connector trail going down to it -- we didn't go down to Handsome Lake at all, but I assume it resembles Hopewell. We did not camp at either of the developed campgrounds. On the first night we used an established backpackers' site near the outlet of Polly's Run -- water in the run was very low, so we went down to the reservoir for water. On the second night we used an established site on the north bank of the Tracy Run outlet. Tracy Run was clearly at a pretty low ebb but it still had plenty of water in it. Many other established sites dot the shores of the reservoir. Lakeside campsites are popular with boaters, so don't expect much privacy or solitude even if you stay out of the developed campgrounds.
We didn't see much in the way of wildlife -- squirrels, mice, and chipmunks in enormous abundance. Spotted a bear track near Nelse Run but no bear encounters. A number of songbirds, especially closer to the water.
Very nice hike. The 8.9 mile loop requires taking Tracy Ridge Trail to the NCT and then back up the Johnnycake trail. Or trailmarkers 1->2->15->14->12->11->10->17->3->2>1. The trail is very well documented with a map located at every intersection. You can make this a longer hike if you continue past the Johnnycake trail south along the NCT to trailmarkers 6 or 7.
A group of four did this trail in a day. It was grueling, and it took about 6-7 hours. If you're doing it in a day, do not overpack, wear good shoes, and try not to do it after a storm. Lots of trees down, and lots of muddy patches. Very nice views, and it seems like there would be a lot of cool places to camp to make this an overnight trip. Trails are marked, but be ready to make basically a 3 mile incline hike at the end of the trip.
Backpacked this trail over 3 days. Trails are well marked, plenty of places to camp, swim spots and lots of neature!
Visited here the first time in August, just a day hike 2.5 miles in to Handsome Lake CG and back. Completely fell in love with it! We're planning our first backpacking trip to camp in October when the weather is cooler and the bugs are fewer! Will post another update and more photos when we finish that trip!
I have backpacked here twice. The first time was simply a three day trip of hiking. When we arrived at our campsite the second night it was several feet underwater. However I returned a couple years later for a five day hiking, swimming, and relaxing trip. It was very enjoyable. One of our campsites which we spent two nights at had a rocky beach into the water. It was a great experience.
This is a really nice trail but be advised, there is some considerable elevation gain as you go up and around the mountain so it can get pretty strenuous at points, especially in the heat and if you're carrying a lot of gear. That being said if you're looking for a good two/three day backpack with ample camping and good views this is a great spot. After four miles you'll start to see the reservoir through the foliage and there are several really nice spots near the water to pitch a tent. I've done this trail in the fall and in the Summer. In late fall before the leaves come in you'll be afforded better views, but in summer when the woods are green it's equally nice but more closed off to the valley. As long as you have a filter there are plenty of places to gather water, and there is abundant wildlife in this stretch of the forest although I've yet to see a bear there.