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backpacking
13 days ago

Completed the 28.8 miles just before Labor Day Weekend. Didn’t see a human being for the entire time while on the trail! Started hiking on a Wednesday at 3pm clockwise about 12 miles to the Pleasant Stream campsite before the stream crossing. I arrived to the stream with enough light to get water but had to set up camp in the dark. The next morning I crossed the stream barefoot and started hiking around 10:30 am. Hiked the ~10-11 miles to Rock Run/Yellow Run and found a lovely campsite on the other side of Yellow Run. Spent the evening by the rivers and pools and made an epic campfire in the firepit. On Friday morning, I left my campsite around 11am and arrived back to my car around 2:30pm. Got out of the woods just before the heavy rains that hit the area. It was my first time backpacking solo ever and my first time backpacking in a long, long time. Wet trails and Lots of mosquitos. Wish I’d worn a long sleeve shirt the entire time. They really got me. I was also pretty cautious with making my presence known to avoid bears and cautiously approaching rocks. No rattle sightings. Overall a great reentry into backpacking in perfect solitude! It was quite the mental and physical test I was hoping for!

Hiked parts of this from both ends in same day. Initially started from lot in Swatara State Park on Moonshine Rd and was planning to do out-and-back to about half way to Rt 325. Unfortunately had to turn back about 4 miles into it due to flooding stream a little bit before reaching Stony Creek Rail Trail. Wasn't deep, but no way to cross without completely submerging my shoes and the unpleasant sewer odor from water was enough to deter me from attempting to cross. Ended up returning to car and driving to AT lot on Clarks Valley Rd (Rt 325) to continue AT strech to Horse-Shoe Trail and looping back via Stage Coach Rd/Rattling Run Trail to H. Knauber Trail. Overall, enjoyed the stretches that I did hike and wish didn't have to turn back on 1st part. Although the long uphill stretch of AT from RT 325 is somewhat rocky, most larger rocks have been utilized/incorporated into the trail as either part of path, mini-rock bridges or steps/stairs. Can't say have seen so much use of rock steps on AT in central/northern PA which was pretty neat.

backpacking
17 days ago

Hiked CW along the 16 mile southern loop. Very fun trail! Will likely come back at some point to finish whole path. Plenty of streams to refill at. Only place with service for us was Sharp Top Point. Got a little lost going from Sharp Top Point to Pleasant Stream but may have just been our inexperience. Drive into Masten basecamp was serene but had to navigate around a lot of road closures. In the end, I came from the south using Mill Creek Rd=>Camels=>Bearwallow=>Dry Run=>Pleasant Stream.

great trail, started at 183 backpacked the whole thing in about 5hrs. i dont think it is actually 18.7 miles long. we ended up at 501 rather quick expecting their to be more to it. so since we hiked the whole thing, we turned around to set up camp near the fresh spring and water fall. the look out was beautiful there were a bunch of amish hanging out up there. a ton of people camping at the waterfall so we set up just on top of the hill to be away from them and secluded. unfortunately we could still hear the highway. i brought my dog along. and we had a good hammock and tarp set up. everything was soaked. the first half of the trail was swamp for the most part but the next day most of the water ran down the mountain and the hike back to 183 wasnt bad. id say from 183 to 501 was only about 10 or 11 miles. we were probably the only ones with fire. everyone else tried but we didnt see any out there haha. fire gods. it was funny. the one dudes girlfriend was checking us out walking by, i could tell she was thinking, " see those are some real men, they made fire and you couldnt" good times. over all it was beautiful. i wish i didnt see as much trash left behind from people. make sure you LEAVE NO TRACE!

backpacking
18 days ago

Awesome hike, have done the entire trail point to point and have done half by starting at Bradley Wales. Awesome vistas and a lot of cool hikes through the woods. The trail can get a little close to the edge at times but all in all is safe, just watch your step. Will probably be doing it again in a few years.

Hiked the South loop last year prior to the reroute. Super close to a bear, but it ran off no problem. There was a plant tunnel I believe it was Mt. Laurel. I really enjoyed that. Oh and I must of been there at the right time to pick wild blueberry. Same as the North with the campsites a bit disappointed with trash left. behind. Worth doing again I think I'll do the whole trail next time and stay overnight.

Very happy with my hike of the North loop. I was a little disappointed with the trash at the campsites. lots of overgrowth so expect the "hiker wash."

I spend a lot of time on the LTI love it

backpacking
26 days ago

Took my son on his first backpacking trip early August 2018. He made it but it was a challenge having been so wet this spring and summer. Well-blazed even though we went around clockwise (most people go the other way).

Had difficulty finding the entrance, as GPS tried to take me on a road that was closed for flood damage. If you’re going plan on going the long way around through Shunk.

Covered shelters at the 10 mike mark (if you would go counter-clockwise) and near sprout point vista (21 mile mark). Nice picnic table at sharp top vista (19). There are plenty of other little places to set up camp, and my favorite was a gorgeous spot next to stream at 6.37 miles.

It was really wet, which made hiking difficult and meant low-lying areas had lots of mosquitoes. Also the one river crossing (17 mile mark) was a bit treacherous for shorter legs - I had to carry both packs across and then go back for him). There are also a couple nice places to camp between the 2 and 3 mike marks (from the end for us), so if you start late in the day those are good options.

All that aside, we both loved it and are planning on coming back after a few dryer seasons.

backpacking
28 days ago

This trail is amazing!! We’ve done this trail twice now. The 1st time we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to hike the whole thing so we drove in and day hiked a couple of the spots with great vistas, it was the 2nd weekend in oct last fall, the colours of the leaves where still amazing. The 2nd time was this spring and we started our hike at the 16 mile mark and completed it in 2 days. Next time, the whole 30 miles!!
Also the staff at Pinecreek Outfitters are absolutely incredible, so helpful and friendly.

Hiked from lot on Rt 501 to just short of Rt 183. There is a nice variety of forest vegetation throughout the length that keeps scenery changing/interesting in addition to the variety of rockiness (though mostly very rocky). The lookouts are great and the stream area near Hertein Campsite was nice break. The stretch between Rt 503 and Round Head is very rocky throughout and killer on return trip if doing as out-and-back. Once you get up the hill past the stream/campsites area it is pretty much muddy/wet trail all the way to Rt 183 (though there is enough mini-side trails to go around really wet parts).

My buddy and I decided to do an overnighter here. We planned out doing an out and back from the southern parking lot to the eagles nest lookout. The trails were definitely muddy and the rocks were slippery, but otherwise very well kept and free of debris. I would definitely wear appropriate gear for wet environments. also, keep an eye out for rattle snakes at the eagles nest. we found 2 large rattle snakes sun bathing as we climbed to the edge.

Tough hike however worth it. Various terrain with many different views. We added the cold run spur with this loop which added an additional 1.5 miles. Would definitely consider doing this again.

Haven't done it yet but curious how far in the Hertlein campsite is?

Covered this on two separate days (7/4/18- parking lot on Rt 183 to just past Eagle Nest Lookout trail and 8/5/18 from Sand Spring trail (Tom Lowe), Shartlesville to Port Clinton). First stretch of trail (from 183) is mostly narrow, curvy with moderate rocks which make it nicely scenic and interesting, but gets a lot rockier past the shelter. The Eagles Nest Lookout was decent view but wouldn't bother with the 2-mile out and back trail again to get there. On 2nd hike had taken side trail past the shelter since AllTrails map shows a camera icon at the tip but not sure what was supposed to be there (thought maybe a lookout somewhere, but nothing could find). Remaining hike was up to Port Clinton but looped on a side trail near bottom of the hill to take the Leg Destroyer back up for return hike which was...um, yep, darn steep. Was middle of the day when I got to this point and got never ending spider webs to the face so be warned those two trails do not seem to get much traffic (Leg Destroyer and connecting side trail).

backpacking
1 month ago

This being my first really backpacking trip, the views really only came at the end most of the trail was wet and uneven. A lot of yo and downs, the north end of the trail is where you want to be. Some amazing views at the north of the trail, but tons of water sources throughout a lot of little spots to rest, watch of for the 7 min. Itch also a lot of snails and toads i

We hiked starting at 501 and camped at the reservoir. Rocks are everywhere on this trail, I thought I was going to break my ankle.

2 months ago

Beautiful trail with lots of great vistas at the top. Completed the 30.5 in 44 hours, 2 nights, going north bound. The terrain changes up a lot, from flat, incline, decline, rocky, stream crossings and just about everything in between so it is a great trail to get a bit of everything. There are lots of camping sites on the first half from the southern terminous but on the second half we spotted a lot less and didn't see any in the last 6 miles but we were moving quickly because it was raining so we could have missed something. Also the second half is the most senic if you are going north bound. There was plenty a water along the way. We saw 8 people NoBo on the second day and a group of 3 guys and a dog head SoBo along the trail.
All in all this would be a great trail to take your time. I would have love to do this trail in 3 days instead of rushing through but we had a time limit.

hiking
2 months ago

6/18 - 6/20 Group hike with 3 adults and 4 teens, completed north loop CCW ( Masten to Pleasant stream road ) with 2 nights in camps. Got to see black bear within first 5 min. on the trail. Be sure to watch for rattlers at the rock outlooks. Also saw 1 on trail. Well brazed and easy to follow for the most part. A great hike with some moderate challenges, and mosquitoes.

backpacking
3 months ago

Awesome trail!!! Amazing views and places to camp can’t wait to do it again!!!

backpacking
3 months ago

Definitely one of my favorite hikes I've done and I have done hikes all over the world. There's nothing overly spectacular about the hike however the seclusion and silence of the hike makes you really feel as though you are disconnected from the world. Not to mention I only saw 2 other people for 3 days! It a fair amount but nothing I couldn't handle.

backpacking
3 months ago

I did the whole loop trail going CCW starting at Masten this past Memorial Day weekend. I started hiking around 1 pm Saturday and finished around 5 pm on Monday.

It’s been a wet spring and as you might expect the trail was muddy in spots and running with water where springs cross the trail.

Around mile 17 of the loop you must Ford a creek. Picking my way across the stones I was no more than 6-10” deep but the current was not gentle.

There were a fair amount of downed trees on the trail but none that were too hard to get over or around.

The grade of the trail is generally moderate but there were a couple more challenging sections. I did encounter one several hundred foot section of trail with about a 60 to 70 degree incline that was basically a mudslide in the damp conditions with very few stable footholds - I cursed my way to the bottom but no bones were broken.

To get there, I was driving from the south and had to do some backtracking to find a route to Masten. Several roads have been closed and cell service is pretty bad in the area so GPS rerouting was a problem. From 87 I was able to take Hooplestown Rd to Cabbage Hollow Rd to Lutz Rd and follow Cascade Rd through several turns to Hillsgrove Rd which ends in a large pile of rocks you must hike over to get to the Old Loggers Path trail.

Waterfalls along the trail and the grand vista at Worlds End makes this moderate hike memorable.

TICKS EVERYWHERE. Trail is poorly maintained and overgrown throughout. Our group found literally dozens of ticks over two days, primarily dog ticks, but also two deer ticks.

Trail maps available online are wildly outdated (over 10 years) and there are no detailed maps at the trailhead - only an area map that reduces the entirety of the Pinchot North and South loops to a 2 inch by 3 inch simplified representation of the trail network. Formerly mapped trails are either no longer listed or no longer maintained, but this is unclear since they wouldn't fit on this tiny map. Yellow dot trails appear in multiple places along northern loop, but it is not always clear which trails they correspond to (Pinchot trail is orange; ALL other trails are yellow). Some trail markers do not follow standard patterns to determine direction of trail, and at some point in time, they switched from Blue to Orange, and did not thoroughly ensure all markers were updated. Additionally, many revisions have been made to the trail such that miles/hours of distance are added as compared to former routes.

Other reviews mention "swampy trails", but that doesn't accurately describe the miles of trail under a foot of water. At one point, we mistook part of the trail for a body of water that was curiously unmapped (the trail had become an 8 foot wide, several foot deep river). Waterproof boots are hardly enough, and it's likely that you will sink and take on water, even with extreme caution.

I had done this trail under good, dry conditions years ago, and the scenery is quite beautiful, but clearly this trail has been heavily neglected, and is not suitable for use under anything less than perfect conditions - and even that is questionable.

TICKS EVERYWHERE. Trail is poorly maintained and overgrown throughout. Our group found literally dozens of ticks over two days, primarily dog ticks, but also two deer ticks.

Trail maps available online are wildly outdated (over 10 years) and there are no detailed maps at the trailhead - only an area map that reduces the entirety of the Pinchot North and South loops to a 2 inch by 3 inch simplified representation of the trail network. Formerly mapped trails are either no longer listed or no longer maintained, but this is unclear since they wouldn't fit on this tiny map. Yellow dot trails appear in multiple places along northern loop, but it is not always clear which trails they correspond to (Pinchot trail is orange; ALL other trails are yellow). Some trail markers do not follow standard patterns to determine direction of trail, and at some point in time, they switched from Blue to Orange, and did not thoroughly ensure all markers were updated. Additionally, many revisions have been made to the trail such that miles/hours of distance are added as compared to former routes.

Other reviews mention "swampy trails", but that doesn't accurately describe the miles of trail under a foot of water. At one point, we mistook part of the trail for a body of water that was curiously unmapped (the trail had become an 8 foot wide, several foot deep river). Waterproof boots are hardly enough, and it's likely that you will sink and take on water, even with extreme caution.

I had done this trail under good, dry conditions years ago, and the scenery is quite beautiful, but clearly this trail has been heavily neglected, and is not suitable for use under anything less than perfect conditions - and even that is questionable.

Nice trail well marked

Overlooks were beautiful, but the reservoir and waterfall made this trip. We camped right next to the waterfall. Beautiful area.

All I gotta say is holy rocks. This trail felt like I was getting my ankles broken by James harden every time I made a step. The rocks are everywhere as I learned very quickly after setting up my tent and going to lay down to relax when BAM, my back got bombodied by a rock. Sleep? Non existent on this trail, but the campsites are A1. In all, if your into walking through muddy/Mississippi river flooded trails, ankle shattering rocks for days, 2 maybe 3 good views, then this trails for you.

Hiked the 8.2 miles from Siemans Trail to north terminus trailhead. Mostly downhill for this sectiin which allowed for a quick pace. Only one group of 4 hikers headed south. Nice walk through the woods.

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