Hickory Creek Wilderness Trail

MODERATE 24 reviews
#4 of 39 trails in

Hickory Creek Wilderness Trail is a 12.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Limestone Twp, Pennsylvania that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
12.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1407 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

trail running

views

wildlife

Directions from Warren, PA: The trailhead parking lot is located at the picnic area within Hearts Content Recreation Area, 15 miles southwest of Warren, PA. US 6 and Township Road T3005 meet in the middle of Warren at the Hickory Street Bridge. TR. 3005 begins here, crossing the Allegheny River toward Warren General Hospital (bear left away from the hospital after you cross the bridge). Follow TR. 3005 about 11 miles to its junction with a marked township road which leads to Hearts Content Recreation Area (four miles).

hiking
7 days ago

Nice trail. I only did part of it but I did see two black bear while on my hike. I will be coming back to backpack the entire loop.

hiking
10 days ago

We did this trail as a day hike. I think it ended up being about 13.7 miles. There are a few places in the trail that aren't marked well. It looked like some people had attempted to mark the trail with stones. Thanks for the help! The scenery is great and changes frequently! Just north of Jacks Run there is a section of the trail that has multiple trees down. I would estimate it's at least a 50 yard section. Just pay attention to the tracks of other hikers and you will be able to navigate around it. This is a good hike. We've done this hike two years in a row now.

backpacking
24 days ago

Backpacked this trail 6/24 to 6/25. Had nice information board at trail parking lot, which included a hiker sign in. The trail has a 1.5 mile hike to the actual loop, this is something to take note of. At about a half mile in there is a split in the trail, this is not the loop. Stay left at this intersection to save yourself 45 mins of extra hiking towards a dead end. The actual loop will have a wooden sign, this is where you can decide to go left or right on the loop. The trail was beautiful, acres of high canopy forest, with the forest floor covered in ferns. Markers are faded but consistently marked along the trail. Recent storms have knocked down several trees over portions of the path, look for hikers markings on trees (carved arrows, shoelaces) these will help you find the trail after getting around the downed trees. 3 or 4 streams that have to be crossed (only fell in once). About 10 cars in parking lot and only interacted with 3 pairs of hikers which was nice. Only reason rated 4/5 stars was due to the large amounts of stinging nettle that lines much of the southeast portion of the loop and the unmarked split leading to the dead end. Only about 7 to 8 total hours of hiking between the two days. Overall had a great time in a really cool place.

trail running
24 days ago

Listed as running (NOT A RUNNING TRAIL) I'm an avid trail runner and there were only stretches when you were in the pines when you could actually run. Spent most of our time stepping over downed trees every 20 yards. Trail was nice for hiking but go elsewhere if you plan to run.

25 days ago

We backpacked this trail in late June, 2017. Overall it's a nice trail. The south side of the loop has plenty of nettles so be prepared for that. Elevation changes were not too aggressive. It's easy to get turned around in a few places as the trail disappears while traversing around fallen trees. Also, blazes are fading or nonexistent. I believe this is due to it being a wilderness trail. We started on the south end to get the longer leg out of the way on the first day. Approximately 7 miles. We finished the loop on the north end which didn't have nearly as many nettles as the south end. We camped at Jack's run. There were a handful of sites available, All appeared to have a good access to the nearby water.

1 month ago

backpacking
2 months ago

Nice long trip takes you through a diverse area. One big stream that you have to cross. Great for a small 2 day trip

3 months ago

Markers are sparse, trail often hard to see, but that just adds to the allure.

4 months ago

Love it

backpacking
8 months ago

The trail is great. I went there with a small group and my dog. Great weekend trip. We were there in late April. The streams were flowing very nicely. Lots of downed trees to navigate around. All and all a nice trail. I will definitely be back.

backpacking
9 months ago

A lovely walk in the woods, like most of the Allegheny National Forest. The trail is in a Wilderness Area and the blazes are being deliberately allowed to fade. The footpath is occasionally hard to spot, especially in areas without much undergrowth; there are also some spots where large new-fallen trees are blocking the footpath and picking it up on the other side can require a little bit of casting about. Aside from the occasional challenge in trail-finding, though, my husband and I found the hiking to be very easy, even speedy, without much in the way of elevation changes. Not much in the way of notable geographic features, but the trail does travel through several kinds of habitat, even passing a few small meadows.

In early September we found low water at Coon Run and Jack's Run, although both did have enough water to be viable water sources for camping. Good established campsites readily apparent from the trail at both of these streams. On the east side of the loop the trail approaches a small unnamed feeder branch of Hickory Creek that also appeared to have adequate water and some established campsites further off the trail, although we did not investigate these personally. Smaller side streams and springs were generally dry.

We visited during Labor Day weekend (September 3-4) and saw 5 or 6 other groups of backpackers (in addition to numerous dayhikers on the section closest to the trailhead). In the morning, birding was excellent although we did not see any larger wildlife. Because it's a wilderness area, human noise from ATVs, gunfire, motorboats, etc, was at a minimum. (Yay!)

An additional note: I think the trailhead and connector trail have been moved from the original description above. Parking is no longer at the picnic area; there's a separate trailhead parking lot directly off Hearts Content Road -- look for a sign.

hiking
9 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

Hiked this trail this past weekend and did an overnight with some friends. Pretty good trail overall. I like how you get a little bit of everything on this loop (inclines, declines, different types of vegetation, etc.). There were several other pre-established, but not official, campsite areas set up. Just look for the fire pits. I think we'll definitely be back again at some point.

Two things worth nothing to my fellow hikers -
- When we went (in August) a lot of the streams were dried up. There were 2 or 3 that we came across, but several of them were tried out. Just keep this in mind when filtering water.
- Wear pants. There are some gnarly plants along a few stretches that look furry, but when they hit your skin they are really really irritating (burning and itching sensations).

We also didn't see that much wildlife. Just a few deer here and there. This was somewhat surprising as we had been told there was a high chance we'd see bears.

11 months ago

backpacking
Monday, June 06, 2016

The trail head parking was easy to find using the GPS. It was me, my girlfriend, our small dog, and our two goats; so we had a crew! We planned this trail as a two day backpacking trip. From the parking lot start point to the "actual" trail head (the loop) was about a mile and half. The actual loop is 12 miles, so with the loop and walk to the parking area totals around 14 miles. The trail is pretty easy to follow most of the way. It is blazed with orange, yellow, and some white markings. It starts off really strong orange markings and then fades to yellow once you're on the loop. We only lost the trail twice but they were in pretty difficult areas. The first one around mile 5-6, you have to take a hard right over the creek. We had to go up further because our goats don't like water

hiking
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

camping
Saturday, March 05, 2016

I have been here several times in all the seasons and enjoyed it each time. I only saw other people once or twice so that's a good bonus too.

camping
Saturday, March 05, 2016

I have been here several times in all the seasons and enjoyed it each time. I only saw other people once or twice so that's a good bonus too no need to be crowded.

camping
Saturday, March 05, 2016

hiking
Monday, December 28, 2015

First and most importantly this trail is NOT the listed 11 miles. The loop itself is roughly 11 miles but there's a 1.7 mile trail you must hike from the parking area before the loop even begins, making it around 15 miles in total length. There are several deep stream crossings that will take time to ford or avoid, so plan and allow for it to take longer than expected. Roughly 8 hours to complete. This area of the forest is also not as dense as it is in other areas, making the trail harder to follow. Trail blazed are few and far between, badly faded and difficult to follow. Aside from all that it is a nice area to hike through. Very gradual inclines, not very rocky, and scenic. Rated 3/5 and would consider this more of moderate difficulty due to the difficulty following the trail and the stream crossings.