Pinchot Trail

MODERATE 14 reviews

Pinchot Trail is a 21.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania 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 but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
21.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,706 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

trail running

bugs

rocky

The Pinchot Trail is a loop that is normally traveled counter-clockwise and can be separated into a Northern Loop and a Southern Loop. The trail is marked by orange blazes and side trails marked by yellow blazes. The Northern Loop is mainly flat and rocky whereas the Southern Loop has multiple elevation changes. The primary water source for the Northern Loop is Painter's Creek. The primary water source for the Southern Loop is Choke Creek. The Northern Loop has campsites early into the trail that makes overnight trips very easy to do.

backpacking
11 days ago

My buddy and I did this trail in a day and a half over memorial day weekend at a leisurely pace! Following just the orange blazes this trail will clock in at just a little over 26 miles! We thought 21 miles when we set out but it is actually 26! Awesome trail! Elevation changes were very few and mild! The map at the trailhead is useless! I got lucky and downloaded a map that I felt was correct and it worked for me! Also this trail is extremely easy to follow as I believe they just freshly painted the orange blazes which you can't go more than 100yds without picking up a blaze they are everywhere! There where lots of ticks on the north loop but seemed to mellow out on the south loop! There were times you would think your walking up a creek in above ankle water but don't worry that's just the Pinchot trail! I had a blast and a smile on my face the whole time!

backpacking
24 days ago

Easy trail for people looking to get into backpacking. Tons of camping spots (my favorite is the one by the waterfalls) and plenty of water to filter throughout the trail. I agree that the trail can be overgrown in some areas but the trail blazes (orange) are easy enough to follow, just make sure you pay attention as some of the trail has been rerouted so the online maps may not be spot on. As others have mentioned there are a ton of ticks in this forest so bring bug spray or better yet have your clothes treated. Not much to see other than the waterfalls but if youre looking to try new gear out or do an easy overnight I would recommend this trail.

hiking
2 months ago

TICKS EVERYWHERE. Trail is poorly maintained and overgrown throughout. Our group found literally dozens of ticks over two days, primarily dog ticks, but also two deer ticks.

Trail maps available online are wildly outdated (over 10 years) and there are no detailed maps at the trailhead - only an area map that reduces the entirety of the Pinchot North and South loops to a 2 inch by 3 inch simplified representation of the trail network. Formerly mapped trails are either no longer listed or no longer maintained, but this is unclear since they wouldn't fit on this tiny map. Yellow dot trails appear in multiple places along northern loop, but it is not always clear which trails they correspond to (Pinchot trail is orange; ALL other trails are yellow). Some trail markers do not follow standard patterns to determine direction of trail, and at some point in time, they switched from Blue to Orange, and did not thoroughly ensure all markers were updated. Additionally, many revisions have been made to the trail such that miles/hours of distance are added as compared to former routes.

Other reviews mention "swampy trails", but that doesn't accurately describe the miles of trail under a foot of water. At one point, we mistook part of the trail for a body of water that was curiously unmapped (the trail had become an 8 foot wide, several foot deep river). Waterproof boots are hardly enough, and it's likely that you will sink and take on water, even with extreme caution.

I had done this trail under good, dry conditions years ago, and the scenery is quite beautiful, but clearly this trail has been heavily neglected, and is not suitable for use under anything less than perfect conditions - and even that is questionable.

Review from Keith below is completely in line with our experience, though he WAS NOT part of our group, so this was not an isolated experience.

2 months ago

From a scenery and wildlife perspective the trail is a five. We saw deer, porcupine, beaver, skunk, multiple toad/frog species, and snakes. The meadows and swamps were spectacular. Here is why the trail gets 2 stars. The trail gets inundated with water. This makes sections very complicated to traverse. It’s frustrating because their is high ground were the trail could have been routed. The all trails map is not accurate there are reroutes in the south loop that are not indicated. However the most overwhelming reason the trail gets 2 stars is TICKS! My cousin and I pulled or flicked over 50 ticks of us. Once home I brushed and washed my gear. I must of knocked 20 more ticks off while cleaning. Only had 3 bites and not one tick was a deer tick. Still you had to be super vigilant monitoring for ticks. It greatly detracted from the trip. We cut the trip short due to the ticks. Winter is the only season I would hike this trail again.

5 months ago

This is our go-to spot since it is pretty close to Philadelphia and it's a loop. It's not always easy to drive many hours for a hike so this works. Great spots to camp, moderate elevations. Southern loop was recently rerouted and has a lot to offer - waterfall with rope swing and a nice swimming hole as well as BEAVERS. Get outside folks and leave no trace!

backpacking
11 months ago

Excellent beginner backpacking trail. Nice campsites. Not too difficult. We backpacked it with two nights out and a total of slightly more than 13 hours of hiking total for the whole loop AUG 25-27 2017. Video @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT2bh66OxAU

Sunday, April 09, 2017

I did the North Loop and South Loop in 10 hours

backpacking
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Both trails are very beautiful, many water sources. I would definitely do this in a small group or solo.

backpacking
Friday, October 28, 2016

Easy trail. The south trail is well used and I picked up a good amount of overnight camp site trash. Leave no trace? Please respect the trails!

Fun for a solo or small group hike. 26.4 on my gps.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

hiking
Sunday, October 11, 2015