Black Forest North Loop Trail

HARD 24 reviews
#1 of 14 trails in

Black Forest North Loop Trail is a 22.6 mile 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.

22.6 miles
4416 feet

dogs on leash




nature trips





wild flowers



3 months ago

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.

5 months ago

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.

7 months ago

Great hike difficult at times a lot of stream crossings

Thursday, January 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.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

so many beautiful vistas that are well worth the effort

Thursday, June 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.

Sunday, December 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!

Thursday, November 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!

Wednesday, September 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 Must Have!

Monday, August 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.

Tuesday, July 14, 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!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Did this 42 mile loop, mostly day-hiking, but backpacked with my grandson from the main trailhead on Slate Run Road to Naval Run back in 2008. Had two encounters with rattlesnakes, one about three feet from my face while climbing out of Slate Run valley. The most picturesque section is in the Red Run valley between Little Morris Run and Algerine Trail. I have scheduled an eight-mile hike with the Asaph Trail Club for Dec. 23, 2014, going from the main trailhead to Little Morris Run. Hopefully the "no-winter-maintenance" access road will be open.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I did this trail with Girl Scouts when I was very young and it was incredibly fun, I would love to do it again. The scenery is beautiful and the crossing of streams makes the trail different and unique. Strenuous but not impossible

Monday, November 26, 2012

I have been on the Black Forest Trail many times. And hike it for the first time way back in the last 70's. I have hiked it clockwise and counter clockwise in it's entirety more then 5 times, and many shorter weekend getaways. If you are in good shape you can do all 42 miles in 3 1/2 days. But some days are much harder then others... It is wild Pa at it's best, one of my favorites! Lots to see, climb, and do. Good camping with water at the end of most days. This is the only trail in Pa that I have seen black bear. So hang your food. Some water crossings you will get your feet wet. Mostly at the start close to Slate Run. It's good fun in all four seasons. But be warned, some of my coldest nights backpacking have been on the BFT in Feb. And if you ever want an offbeat trip. We did the BFT to North Link Trail to the STS to the South Link Trail back to the BFT. The South Link was VERY wet with tons of water crossings. And the North Link is not marked the best in parts. We did this over New Years and it took 3 days and 2 nights. Something different...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I began my hike of the black forest trail on Thursday August 9, 2012 and completed it on Sunday August 12. I hiked 10 miles the first day, 12, the second, 14 on the third, and 6 on the final day. The trail is extremely rugged in some areas and will test the merit of your boots and the overall durability of your feet. I was limping along during the final two days. I had a lot of trouble keeping my feet dry and I encountered some large blisters on the bottom of my feet as a result. There was rain on the first two days. There is also a section of the trail with numerous wet water crossings where a few ended up over the tops of my boots. The plateaus were thick with laurel, that when wet, drenched my legs and socks.
This was a solo hike for me, my second, and my three fears were bears, rattlesnakes, and lightening. I encountered all three. The bears were very benign, some large piles of scat is all I saw. The rattlesnake was a bit more dramatic as I nearly stepped on it at the bottom of Red Run. Fortunately I saw it just before my foot came down and was able to step back without a strike. The 12 step plan worked perfectly from there, 4 steps back, 4 steps to the side, and 4 steps forward. It was just really odd and unexpected to see one down low in the hollow. I encountered a thunderstorm climbing out of Red Run. I was really nervous because my trekking poles are aluminum and my pack is an external aluminum frame (and yes, Im sure I am dating not only myself but also my equipment). Anyhow, when I saw the lightening, I was on the side of a hill so I quickly dropped the pack, and my poles. I also took off my watch and wedding band. I grabbed my foam ground pad and marched about 50 yards down from my pack. I squatted in a catchers position on top of the pad and waited out the storm. I could hear the thunder right over my head and could see lightening striking the hill right next to me. I never experienced anything like that before so needless to say I was pretty tense. I actually prayed out loud. Fortunately the storm passed without incident in half an hour. Big thanks to Jesus for keeping me safe and the Boy Scouts for techniques to use in that pinch! All of that happened the first day and I was anxious to set up camp after the storm, hence only the ten miles on Day 1. The rest of the trip, aside from the blisters, had less bad drama. The trail was very challenging. There are lots of places to camp and water was plentiful. Although I used some of my reserve supply of water at various points, I generally had no trouble keeping the Nalgene bottle topped off. Firewood in the campsites was scarce and I resorted to a small twig fire each night to wind down and set the mood. Fire starters helped with the wet wood. About half way into Day 3, going down the steep descents began to hurt just as much as ascending the rises. However, the trail was absolutely gorgeous and I would most definitely hike it again someday. I encountered some folks along the way as well, mostly day hikers. The vistas are amazing and it was a pure workout, both physically and mentally, like none other that I had ever done. An amazing experience and am most happy to be back home with my wife and family and am looking forward to the next one.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I hiked this trail when I was a kid years ago in Boy Scouts. I don't remember enough details to write a proper review. I just remember that it rained the whole time, going up and down a lot, and I almost stepped on a rattlesnake. I'm going to put this on my list to do again... hoping to create a better memory.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Black forest Trail-The toughest ever. Huge elevation gains, long switchbacks, numerous times. three nites of long, demanding hiking. Voracious appetite. Numerous vistas and runs. Saw a fisher/mink at a run. Was an overcast, foggy hike, limited vistas.

7 months ago

Friday, August 19, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

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