Black Forest North Loop Trail

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Tiadaghton State Forest

Black Forest North Loop Trail is a 40.1 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Cammal, Pennsylvania that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 40.1 km Elevation Gain: 1,210 m Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 day ago

We (6 of us) did the BFT North Loop MDW, planning on starting Saturday, staying two nights, and finishing Monday early afternoon. Started Saturday morning at the slate run entrance, and logged about 11 miles counterclockwise on the first day. We camped on top of the mountain at the most northern part of the loop, right where it says “forest” on the map. We had a visitor during the night, presumably a bobcat, but there was some running water nearby which was pretty clutch. Day 2 we decided to try to hike out, assuming we only had about 14 miles remaining. It ended up being closer to 18 miles, and in hindsight, we should’ve stayed the second night. Trail has some fantastic vistas, and some really nice camps too. Only had one rattlesnake encounter, on the ascent on the west side of the trail, before you cut East on the blackberry trail. Some great scenery though, and a great time!

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 days ago

Did the north loop counterclockwise Memorial Day weekend it took 5 of us 3 days. We ended up doing 30+ miles with backtracking and etc. but I’d say the trail was closer to 26-27 miles. Each day has a couple hard climbs the climb after the manor is gnarly, steep, and VERY long. we even saw a rattlesnake basking on the rocks about halway up. You’re definitely rewarded with some sick views at the top of all the climbs which makes it all worth it. We camped near foster hollow camp night one which was amazing. Has what looks like a spring-fed pond surrounded by 3 pretty nice campsites. Only a few camps when you get to the bottom of the valley on day 2 but some were closed by DCNR. If you’ve got it in you to go the extra 3 miles there’s some great camps at the top of the next climb but limited water access. Overall loved the hike definitely planning on doing the full loop sooner than later. You can grab a beer and a burger at the manor but they don’t open until noon. And it was 2 of our 5 hikers first backpacking trip and they survived so so can you!

hiking
3 days ago

Nice track with some varying sections. Hiked with plenty places to camp. Patchwork of trails and gravel roads. Would be a great trail run!

Enjoyed this loop for a day hike. Started on Slate Run Road and went clockwise. Lots of stream crossings. Great views!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail but definitely has some difficult parts when going clockwise! Plenty of places to camp and lots of cool views! Many changes in terrain and surroundings. Easy to follow with the exception of the portion that diverges from the main BFT. There are just less markings in that portion. Did it in 2 nights in mid March. Had wonderful weather, got lucky, definitely need a winter bag though. Only a few muddy portions.

hiking
private property
rocky
snow
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Just finished this trail yesterday. My son and I started at Rt. 44 and Dam Hollow Rd. Going in a clockwise direction. Some very challenging climbs and descents, but some beautiful scenery. Numerous good campsites and water was plentiful. I’m 64 and in reasonably good shape. My pack weighed in around 32 lbs. This was my first overnight backpacking trip, so glad I did it!

hiking
7 months ago

amazing views once you get to them, first overnighter and first hike over 10 miles. I recommend to those who are ready for an adventure

hiking
7 months ago

We hiked from Slate Run Road clockwise. Met a handful of people going the opposite way. It was beautiful. Took my son with me for his first overnighter. It was definitely a challenge but the views were amazing! Felt like more than 22.6 miles but it was well worth it!

hiking
8 months ago

This is a very difficult trail. Climbs and descents can be treacherous. Although I did not encounter any rattlesnakes, there was fresh bear droppings. Did 16 miles day one, 15 miles day 2 and completed the trail at about 3pm on day three. I was completely wasted at the end. Weather was beautiful, the views are spectacular but not a trail for the novice backpacker. Met very nice people on the trail that were doing an overnight. Next time I will give myself an extra day. I would recommend you do not do this alone. Very little cell service.

Wed Sep 12 2018

We did this trail counter-clockwise which I think makes it much more challenging given the heavy packs we had. We were running a little behind schedule and decided to follow a trail shown on the map running diagonally from the NW corner of the trail to the SW. There was a trailhead sign, but the trail completely disappeared and we had to bushwhack and travers a ridgeline which was pretty scary for my hiking partner who was very new to all this. It's a beautiful trail, but keep yours ears and eyes peeled for rattlesnakes especially on the rocky outcroppings!

Mon Jul 30 2018

Wild blueberries, cool rocks, snakes, first hike with Frank.

backpacking
Thu Jul 19 2018

I started at slate run and began hiking counter clockwise. The first 5 miles were great, but between mile 6 and 7 I saw 3 rattlesnakes which was way to frequent for my liking. I was alone and no cell service so I decided to bail and not run the risk. Overall, the terrain is fun, but the snakes freaked me out.

Mon May 28 2018

Did this as an overnight hike and we had a great time. We went clockwise from the trailhead and camped around mile 12 where we were right near the river. There were a couple hard, steep climbs, but the views were a great reward and the stretches in between were fairly easy. Around mile 17 we lost the trail and the AllTrails map had us way off, and we ran into another pair that said the same thing despite using a paper map. The last few miles were basically weaving back and forth across a river so be prepared to get your shoes wet or take them off a lot.

hiking
Mon May 21 2018

Great trail for a fun weekend. I recommended doing this trail counter-clockwise. it is a fairly easy trail with only a couple of hill that are breath taking. the views are amazing at the vistas and you are hiking along the creeks most of the time with quite a few crossing so prepare to get a little wet at some point. campsites could use some help so if you are camping at on clean out the fire pits and set up some more rocks around the rings. hope you all enjoy!!!

hiking
Mon May 07 2018

Did this as a day hike (!) on May 5, 2018, starting in Slate Run and proceeding counterclockwise. No bears, no snakes. The only serious problem was that the last 25% of the loop, ie the lower west-to-east part shown in the map, is NOT labelled as "Black Forest Trail" but you have to follow a patchwork of trails with other names and blaze colors. I got lost and did quite a bit of backtracking, and eventually found my way to a road, and hiked the last 6 miles on roads, mostly Slate Run Road. I had planned for 22.6 miles, but in the end I covered somewhere between 27 and 30 miles -- depending whether I believe map measurements or my iphone. Quite a long day! The best parts of the trip were certainly in the first 30-40% of the loop; and also the north-south part along the western side of the loop is pleasant. (But be prepared for ~20 stream crossings!) EDIT: I subsequently discovered a good map at the following URL. If I had had this map with me, I wouldn't have had all the trouble at the end, and wouldn't have had to hike 6 hard-slogging miles down Slate Hill Road. Here's the URL: http://www.docs.dcnr.pa.gov/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_20032741.pdf

backpacking
Thu Sep 28 2017

Awesome trail! Two solid days of hiking given the elevation and terrain. Plenty of good camping spots along the way. Possibly my favorite feature of this hike is the hotel + restaurant + bar almost exactly at the half way point in Slate Run. We stopped off for a beer and hearty meal for lunch and it couldn't have worked out better. We'll definitely do it again.

hiking
Mon Aug 21 2017

This was by far the most difficult trail I have done to date! The climbs are outrageous but the reward is great views for sure! Only came across 1 rattle snake...a Black Timer Rattler...let us pass right by and never even buzzed. Started the trail, from Slate Run, and went clockwise but do to injury had to cut day 2 short. Water was in great supply.

backpacking
Sat May 27 2017

Great hike difficult at times a lot of stream crossings

backpacking
Thu Jan 05 2017

Definitely a challenging trail but well worth it! Gorgeous scenery and wildlife. 1 bear siting and multiple rattlesnakes. Unfortunately it was very dry over Labor Day but still could find ample water when needed. 42.5 miles in just over 72 hours.

hiking
Sun Sep 18 2016

so many beautiful vistas that are well worth the effort

hiking
Thu Jun 02 2016

Did this hike over Memorial Day weekend. We did 3 nights and 4 days start at sunrise Friday morning. We opted to take the Sentiero Di Shay High Water route from Mile 14-19 of the BFT map. Total trip was 39 miles vs the 42. We had a great time. Very challenging, but worth every step. Great views and great camping. IT was hot, but there was plenty of water on the trail. We saw 1 bear and heard another, so bear bags are a must. Our group didn't see any rattles snakes, but heard from others that there were a few sightings. Highly recommend this trail to anyone with experience.

camping
Sun Dec 06 2015

My most recent hike of this awesome trail was Memorial Day weekend in 2015 with my son and one of his friends. I hiked it many years ago in rain, fog, and drizzle but this time the weather could not have been better! The 42 mile loop makes logistics easy and it can be completed in 3 days (2 nights) if you are reasonably fit. In my opinion this is the best backpacking experience you can find in Pennsylvania. There are some sizable climbs but many awesome vistas. There are tons of great campsites, plenty of water, and the thing I find most appealing is the sense of wilderness you feel. There are only a handful of road crossings and not too many signs of civilization. We treated ourselves to an excellent dinner on the deck at the Hotel Manor in Slate Run (the trail goes right by it). I highly recommend stopping for a beer and some real food!

hiking
Thu Nov 26 2015

Sadly went after heavy rainfall and lots of the trail was washed out and very wet. Lots of overgrown areas but all in all a great trip. Steep elevation climbs, but rewarded with multiple vistas and great views. Saw a few rattlesnakes but no bears. The manor hotel was a great stop for lunch and a celebratory beer afterwards. Would do it again!

hiking
Wed Sep 09 2015

Hiked the Black Forest Trail in 3 days over Labor Day. The trail was in good shape and was well marked. A lot of up and downs but the vista's are worth of the effort. My favorite was the vista on top of Hemlock Mtn. You will find plenty of camping sites and water sources. We also saw 2 rattle snakes on the trail. So make sure you listening for the infamous "rattle" sound. Highly recommend stopping at Wolfes General store for a post-hike hoagie! They stop serving at 6 PM so you better wake up early on the last day We hiked the trail counter clock wise and started at the trail head and headed towards Manor Hotel. The trail map and guide were purchased at the Pittsburgh REI. It can also be purchased online at pinecrk.com. Must Have!

camping
Mon Aug 17 2015

My first ever Backpacking Experience. We joined the Crazee Monkee Meet-Up for a trip that started on Saturday 9:00 am and ended Sunday 4:00 pm. We started from the Blackberry Trail to Marker #17 and ended back at 0-Zero, BFT Re-route.. As some reviews have shared on here, this is not for the faint of heart. Will I do it again? Yes, I will. The trail is well-maintained and marked. The steep elevation changes in short distances was brutal. When you're going up, you are going up indeed. When going down, your toes will jam the front of your boot. We passed a rattle snake that was rattling at us but saw no bears. Lots of mosquitoes in some areas. The vistas were beautiful, but what took my breath away are streams esp. how the sun filtered through the leaves of the trees. I only brought one pole, and that was a mistake. There are areas that despite excellent shoes, the ground was eroded, there was hardly anything to grip. You do have to be in good physical condition regardless of the length of your trek.

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