Minister Creek Trail

MODERATE 136 reviews
#1 of 39 trails in

Minister Creek Trail is a 6.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sheffield, Pennsylvania that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,056 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

Good variety of vegetation, large rocks, and beautiful streams. White diamonds and blue tree markings show the trail route. The trail is well maintained and provides a variety of hills as well as some flat stretches warranting its moderate rating. There is a variety of terrain and even differences in the layout of the forest. If you're camping at the overlook don't forget to carry in water from either the campground or the stream. Camping at the overlook provides several large sites good for both tents and hammocks. Deerlick camp, at the end of an offshoot trail on the East side, is inaccessible due to some downed trees that haven't been cleaned up and what appears to be beavers. Both seem to have caused the creek to damn making the campsites inaccessible. Therefore you'll need to camp at the junction with the North Country National Scenic Trail or at the bridge on the South East side of the trail close to the Middle Loop Junction.

hiking
28 days ago

I love this place! It is worth the drive from Cleveland, I can say that for sure. Fall is by far my favorite time to visit, but timing the leaves can be tricky. I enjoy trying to complete the north loop in all seasons, though I’ve just failed to make it around today.

One more legitimate bridge needs to be built in order to make the north loop truly a loop. When winter comes I still love it out here, but the stream crossing with fallen tree bridge(s) can not safely be crossed. Maybe some brave adventurers have made it across these ice covered logs and branches, but I hike solo and can not afford to get wet at the halfway point in 15F weather.

1 month ago

Beautiful winter day, severe clear sky, temp. 30 rising to 45. Perfect! I first hiked this trail 45 years ago and several times since, but not recently. I particularly like the variety of terrain, hemlock stream bottom to massive sandstone rock formations on both sides of the valley. Plenty of good camping at the railhead and top of the loop where trail junction with NCT. My wife and I had a nice hot lunch at the overlook to cap off the day. The trail could use some maintenance. Trail marking was sparse in some area, so you need eyes moving to avoid losing the trail. Also be ready for two challenging stream crossing during periods of recent rains. Overall, one of the best short loop trails in the region. Glad to revisit an old friend!

backpacking
1 month ago

Did a 25.3 mi point-to-point hike starting at minister ridge and ending further down the NCT. Minister Ridge was great, view was epic. Only problem with the trail was poor markings and very overgrown thorn bushes for at least a quarter mile. Bring a machete just in case. Worth that view though!

1 month ago

Excellent winter hike
Beautiful views
Need to do some maintenance - replacement of trail markers

hiking
1 month ago

winter hiked this trail. I loved it except, we lost the trail bc the markers were sparse. we had to walk through a heavy stream bc we could find no other way. I strongly encourage this trail to be clarified with more markers and add a bridge to the stream where there is one lacking.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome trail, however, I recommend going counter-clockwise. We started the trail clockwise and reached the overlook fairly quickly. In my opinion, this was easily the biggest payoff and would have been best reserved for last. Also, once you pass the second bridge, the path can get somewhat confusing to follow as it intersects with a separate trail and isn't clearly defined. We ended up following this trail a bit until eventually running back into the white diamonds that mark the Minister Creek Trail. Overall still a great time!

hiking
4 months ago

One of the steepest hikes I’ve done in my lifetime! Very beautiful views from the top. Keep pushing yourself forward and you’ll be rewarded!

backpacking
4 months ago

Spent the weekend and stayed 2 nights. Beautiful trail with plenty of camping areas. There were a lot of hikers this weekend taking advantage of the weather. I can see why it is easy to get confused at the north end with the North Country Trail. Going counter clockwise, just after the second bridge there is a very distinct trail in a visibly open area. That is the NCT! The Minister Creek trail is off to the right and not real easy to see. It looks more like a deer trail initially. Although it's a relatively small loop, staying 2 days was the best idea. We were relaxed and enjoyed 2 nights out in the tent.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail, plenty of space to camp out throughout the trail and at the beginning. pretty flat up until the last part of the north trial to get to the overlook. Well maintained and a great hike overall.

5 months ago

Did the trail counter clockwise. I Loved the trail, throughout my wife and I kept saying this reminds me of....(insert cool place you’ve hiked). Older growth woods to Hemlock stands, through the blowdown areas to the creek that runs the through the north end. A couple creek crossings stepping on rocks and a couple bridges also. Are only mistake was with the poor trail markings. The North country trail cuts through the north end of loop ( make sure you don’t get on it by accident) Follow the white diamonds - they seem to disappear at times especially on the return leg. We got on the North country trail and added a couple accidental miles to hike, but we were hiking on a beautiful day, with plenty of time left in day-no biggie. Basically at the north end you caught it for just a short time. At the sign post that has been ripped off with the with the white diamond- look to your right. You have to look hard to see Minister trail. Someone wrote on actual trail marker pointing at it. (Kind of dog legs here. All kinds of camping at north end.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail, well established and easy to follow. wide variety of vegetation.
Seemed at times it was all uphill but the views were well worth the work.

It will tax you legs and lungs. I'm planning on another hike soon.
Good camping areas on the north loop.
combines with the north country trail for a short time.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice area to hike around! The middle and south loops are fantastic, but the north loop has areas that are extremely overgrown with numerous downed trees and erosion. Great campsites on the north loop.

backpacking
6 months ago

great introductory hike for teaching our kids backpacking. There ages were 14, 11, 7, and 3. There are campsites at about the ¾ mi mark, and about the halfway point ( 3-3½ mi). Has plenty to keep it interesting for kids (Creeks, water, views, unique rock features) but not too long. Does have some cliffs/ledges to be aware of. Love this place!

6 months ago

Great views! On the harder side of moderate, definitely recommend doing the loop counter-clockwise.

backpacking
6 months ago

nice trail

hiking
6 months ago

Great hiking, great views, had a wonderful day hiking with my 5 dogs. We did the big loop 6.9 Miles. The black berries in the blow down area where amazing.

7 months ago

Lots of ups and downs, great camping at the peak of the loop.

7 months ago

Beautiful views and stunning rock formations. Keep alert though because this trail intersects with others and we got turned around more than once. take a map with you.

hiking
7 months ago

just completed this trail for the first time in many years. I wanted to see the changes over the last 15 years. much of the trail is the same with the exception of two severe blowdowns which have occurred in the last few years. From what I was told there was a teenage girl who tragically lost her life during one of the storms. The trail is still quite and a great place to clear your head of all the day to day stress. I saw many deer for the two days I was on the minister and north country trails and many bear footprints as well.
This trail is heavily used at times in the summer months but you probably will not see many people.

7 months ago

very beautiful...And pleasant.. but easy to loose track of the trail..good camspites near the river...

hiking
8 months ago

A great hike overall. Awesome for sightseeing and exercise (I think it should be rated difficult). Some of the rocks are massive and very cool! It is poorly marked in some spots, but you will find your way. It is also slightly overgrown in some places, but it is acceptable. I would recommend taking it counterclockwise to get the overgrown parts and uphill hiking over with first, and to end with the overlook/sights and downhill hiking. I think this is an awesome hike and that anyone can have a good time on it! (I got 130 floors from this haha)

backpacking
8 months ago

Came here with my dog and had a blast. Lots of little streams and waterways go the dogs to drink and for me to water filter. I’d say 80% of the trail is shaded. So it keeps you cool. I came in on a hot day and the shade saved me and my dog. Overall an awesome hike with the last leg of it a bit challenging due to steep uphill to the scenic overlook. A great hike though. Will be back !

hiking
8 months ago

Would rate moderate to difficult more because of certain sections being tight to get through otherwise ok. The markers are not well laid out we lost about an hour and a half back tracking because we thought we had lost our way . As it turned out we were going in the right direction all along. My suggestion if this happens to you is keep moving forward and don’t double back . Great scenery and we enjoyed the hike .

backpacking
8 months ago

Very nice first hike in the Allegheny National forest. hiked on May 20th and saw 1 other hiker and no bugs. Covered the 11 mile loop with an overnight, trail-side camp. Moderately strenuous with a fair amount of elevation gained and lost. Lots of picturesque overlooks and rock-falls. Very high return for the effort. The trail is well marked and cleared but gets a little confusing around the intersection with the North Country trail and needs a careful look at the map.

hiking
10 months ago

While this trail states 6.5 miles don’t let it fool you. There are ways—and I found them—to tag on at least an additional mile (accidentally perhaps). This is a great hike with many challenges. Plenty ascensions to keep one alert; a couple water crossings (is this where I went off trail?); and you might even come across some friendly hikers as I most certainly did over my 3 + hour hike. I will mark this one on the calendar: must do again!

backpacking
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Good trail. Some parts are poorly marked. Great for a day hike or an easy over night.

backpacking
Monday, November 13, 2017

love this trail, easy to moderate, with some hill climbs. wonderful views, rock castles, etc. plenty of water near by

hiking
Sunday, October 08, 2017

The AllTrails app put us right to the parking lot, the trail starts across the road (the feet painted on the road makes it quite easy to find). When the trail splits, I recommend taking the trail to the right to get a better direction for all the trail options. The scenery was perfect for a great autumn hike. As mentioned below, the blazes are not clearly marked and you can get turned around quickly, especially when you are exploring in and around all the boulders.

hiking
Monday, October 02, 2017

Beautiful views. Can be difficult at times. Watch for bears.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

There are a few spots where downed trees have forced re-routes, but if you look for them, you will find the silver diamond blazes.

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