John P Saylor Trail is a 12.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Windber, Pennsylvania that features a river. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking, trail running, and camping. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Very flat, great beginner backpacking trip. Muddy and rutted from ATV traffic
Overall nice trail. The only area that is less than desirable was Verla Dr. to Wolf Rocks. You could haul a lot of trash out and then Wolf Rocks has some uninteresting Graffiti all over the rock faces. The overall terrain changes quite a bit which keeps you interested. Plenty of good water sources and a few places are nice for an overnight. I spent the night at MM 4.5 after starting at the Clear Shade Rd terminus ( to the east of Babcock Picnic area off 56 (I did counter clockwise hike). The Middle loop and Shade Creek area is very nice also. I did both loops in two days taking my time. For a 59 year old diabetic on his first full pack overnighter I enjoyed this trail.
We did the medium loop (10 mi.) -- cutting the big loop in half. It was a nice hike in early fall. Very easy and mostly flat with a few rocky parts. Not much to see. No overlooks or anything like that. Wolf Rocks are just a large rock outcropping in the middle of the forest (with some uninspired graffiti.
My son and I decided to use this trail as a close by trail to backpack on. Started at the trail head and hiked it counter clockwise so as to do the rockiest section first. We didn't get on the trail till almost 5pm but hiked to almost camp 59 before deviating from the trail and cutting part of the Western section off. We actually camped near the stream using a campsite that had been used multiple times before. The eastern section of the trail along the along the stream soaked us from the waist down the next morning. It was grown up and wet from the dew. Overall a nice outing. Lots of graffiti on the rocks up to and including wolf rocks.
Backapcked this trail yesterday, with plans of this being my first solo overnight and ran into a bear in the South Loop, turned my backpacking trip into a brisk paced hike, completing the entire trail in a day rather than the planned two. The trail was nice though, well marked and maintained. Not a whole lot to see and there was quite a bit of graffiti in Wolf's Rocks. Swinging bridge was pretty cool, but so narrow I barely fit on it with my pack.
I hiked this trail with my brother on 10-11 July 2015. Due to recent rains and the general topography the trail was very wet and muddy. On the first day we departed from the Babcock Picnic area towards Wolf's rocks. The rocks were cool, but all of the graffiti really took away from the view. We continued on the Western side of the loop and around to the south end of the trail where we crossed swinging bridge on Clear Shade Creek. We then walked the southern loop which is about 5 miles. We stopped at the shelter on the Southern most part of the little loop. The shelter was a mess. Someone had put down a large pile of Ferns inside of the shelter and then left them there to rot. It was a large gooie mess of rotted plants. We keep on hiking the rest of the Southern loop and back to the swinging bridge. This put us at about 13.5 mils for the day. We made camp in area around the swinging bridge. There were some other people camping in the area who brought their barking dog along. The next morning we finished the loop, which continued to be very wet and muddy almost to the very end. There were no real nice views or sights to see on this trail.
how do you find the trail to the swinging bridge?
There are many places to access this trail, which is a very large loop, but also has a smaller loop attached to it right off Shade Rd. To get to the smaller loop, park about halfway between Crum Rd. and Clear Shade Rd. There's a parking area next to a sign for "Fisherman's Walk," which is marked on the Forestry Bureau's map as one of the "Other Well Defined Trails." Take it down to the trail and turn right, then cross the foot bridge to reach the 5 mile loop.
We camped for two nights off Shade Rd. where it crosses the culvert over Mile Run. There's plenty of parking and across the street and about 15 yards into the woods, a clearing that is incredibly soft with moss. There's a large rock that we used to build a safe fire upon, and lots of fallen branches. You can hear traffic from 56, but not crystal clear. Shade Rd. itself got 1-2 cars an hour while it was light out - it's really a logging road that seemed to get used as a cut through to Crum.
The trail begins at the Babcock picnic area, which was closed but parking is available across the road along SR 56. There are no signs pointing to a starting point or trail entrance, you just need to follow the picnic area road and look for the orange blazed to your left. The first 1.5 to 2 miles are quite rocky until you reach the biggest of them, Wolf Rocks. Unfortunately, the rocks have been almost completely covered by graffiti, detracting from what would otherwise be a great place to explore. The rocks are not high enough to get any real view of the surrounding area. After Wolf Rocks the trail gets easier as it follows old railroad tracks and forest access roads. Along the way there is plenty of scenery, from forest glades to bogs, and interesting features, such as the walls for the railroad grade, and of course, the suspension bridge crossing Clear Shade creek connecting the long and short loops. There are good camp sites along the river and, although there were no other campers at the time, the campsites are assessable via a 2 mile connector trail from a roadway and would seem to be busier during the summer months. The trail is well marked by orange blazes and easy to follow. A worthwhile side trip is to the observation deck along the Bogs and Boulder trail which overlooks the large bog at the center of the long loop.
We started out at the Babcock picnic area. From there it was an easy several mile hike to Wolfe rocks. The rocks are gorgeous. People have disrespected the area by graffiti works on many of the trails. The hike is easy going with very little difficulty. The trail is difficult to navigate without a map or gps. Other than me being a beginner this trail was worth it. Great for my dog as well!
Very nice beginner trail or just a trail to get out for the weekend! Wolf Rock is the best lookout on the trail, but there have been a lot of Jack Donkey's that day hike the area and have painted all the rocks. We set up camp at the bridge that links the two loops. I would recommend camping here as there is plenty of water! My only complaint about the trail is that it can get very wet at times and is a haven for mosquitoes. I would recommend this trail as a fall and winter trip when the ground is not so soggy and the skeeters are not out......Hike your own hike!