Explore the most popular trails near Ralston with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Ralston, Pennsylvania Map
4 days ago

Great trail to backpack, did it in 2 nights but can easily be done in 1 imo. There are a few views which are really nice, plus not too many people, plenty of camp spots and ton of water to filter makes this a great beginner backpacking trail . On the second night me and my friend had the shelter all to ourselves which was great, and a short spur from the shelter leads to a beautiful lookout. There is one stream crossing that you cant rock hop over , so youll have to take your boots off, roll up your pants and cross.

Trail is great. Someone built a shelter at Doe run (Dcnr?) but the best camp spot is still at Rock Run. The trail was recently rerouted around the flood damage where it crosses pleasant run/pleasant run road. reroute is better than old route. pleasant run road is still not open to vehicles and has one section that is dangerous for foot traffic.

2 months ago

Completed the 28.8 miles just before Labor Day Weekend. Didn’t see a human being for the entire time while on the trail! Started hiking on a Wednesday at 3pm clockwise about 12 miles to the Pleasant Stream campsite before the stream crossing. I arrived to the stream with enough light to get water but had to set up camp in the dark. The next morning I crossed the stream barefoot and started hiking around 10:30 am. Hiked the ~10-11 miles to Rock Run/Yellow Run and found a lovely campsite on the other side of Yellow Run. Spent the evening by the rivers and pools and made an epic campfire in the firepit. On Friday morning, I left my campsite around 11am and arrived back to my car around 2:30pm. Got out of the woods just before the heavy rains that hit the area. It was my first time backpacking solo ever and my first time backpacking in a long, long time. Wet trails and Lots of mosquitos. Wish I’d worn a long sleeve shirt the entire time. They really got me. I was also pretty cautious with making my presence known to avoid bears and cautiously approaching rocks. No rattle sightings. Overall a great reentry into backpacking in perfect solitude! It was quite the mental and physical test I was hoping for!

2 months ago

Hiked CW along the 16 mile southern loop. Very fun trail! Will likely come back at some point to finish whole path. Plenty of streams to refill at. Only place with service for us was Sharp Top Point. Got a little lost going from Sharp Top Point to Pleasant Stream but may have just been our inexperience. Drive into Masten basecamp was serene but had to navigate around a lot of road closures. In the end, I came from the south using Mill Creek Rd=>Camels=>Bearwallow=>Dry Run=>Pleasant Stream.

2 months ago

Took my son on his first backpacking trip early August 2018. He made it but it was a challenge having been so wet this spring and summer. Well-blazed even though we went around clockwise (most people go the other way).

Had difficulty finding the entrance, as GPS tried to take me on a road that was closed for flood damage. If you’re going plan on going the long way around through Shunk.

Covered shelters at the 10 mike mark (if you would go counter-clockwise) and near sprout point vista (21 mile mark). Nice picnic table at sharp top vista (19). There are plenty of other little places to set up camp, and my favorite was a gorgeous spot next to stream at 6.37 miles.

It was really wet, which made hiking difficult and meant low-lying areas had lots of mosquitoes. Also the one river crossing (17 mile mark) was a bit treacherous for shorter legs - I had to carry both packs across and then go back for him). There are also a couple nice places to camp between the 2 and 3 mike marks (from the end for us), so if you start late in the day those are good options.

All that aside, we both loved it and are planning on coming back after a few dryer seasons.

4 months ago

6/18 - 6/20 Group hike with 3 adults and 4 teens, completed north loop CCW ( Masten to Pleasant stream road ) with 2 nights in camps. Got to see black bear within first 5 min. on the trail. Be sure to watch for rattlers at the rock outlooks. Also saw 1 on trail. Well brazed and easy to follow for the most part. A great hike with some moderate challenges, and mosquitoes.

Not well marked at all. Please note that where the gps wants to take you is actually a mile into the hike, there is a road but it does not always allow vehicle access. We never could find where the trail was after we crossed the river and after about 1/2 mike through unmarked, up and down terrain we turned around and ended up doing an out and back. But it is an easy hike with great views of the creek and falls.

5 months ago

Definitely one of my favorite hikes I've done and I have done hikes all over the world. There's nothing overly spectacular about the hike however the seclusion and silence of the hike makes you really feel as though you are disconnected from the world. Not to mention I only saw 2 other people for 3 days! It a fair amount but nothing I couldn't handle.

5 months ago

I did the whole loop trail going CCW starting at Masten this past Memorial Day weekend. I started hiking around 1 pm Saturday and finished around 5 pm on Monday.

It’s been a wet spring and as you might expect the trail was muddy in spots and running with water where springs cross the trail.

Around mile 17 of the loop you must Ford a creek. Picking my way across the stones I was no more than 6-10” deep but the current was not gentle.

There were a fair amount of downed trees on the trail but none that were too hard to get over or around.

The grade of the trail is generally moderate but there were a couple more challenging sections. I did encounter one several hundred foot section of trail with about a 60 to 70 degree incline that was basically a mudslide in the damp conditions with very few stable footholds - I cursed my way to the bottom but no bones were broken.

To get there, I was driving from the south and had to do some backtracking to find a route to Masten. Several roads have been closed and cell service is pretty bad in the area so GPS rerouting was a problem. From 87 I was able to take Hooplestown Rd to Cabbage Hollow Rd to Lutz Rd and follow Cascade Rd through several turns to Hillsgrove Rd which ends in a large pile of rocks you must hike over to get to the Old Loggers Path trail.

6 months ago

We did the 16 mile half loop to the South. The town at the bottom was totally washed out and the hike is pretty decently steep from the south start. We were able to camp near the summit on the South end and it was beautiful to watch the fog lift off the valley as we sipped coffee. We had to cross the river/creek in the middle wet as there was no crossing and we almost got lost trying to find the road out. Like others mentioned it is completely washed out and you have to hike up a road that is not really there anymore. All in all the wife and I really enjoyed the views and the deep forest you get into most of the way. Water was plentiful for us but the bugs were a little extreme.

6 months ago

We arrived too late to do the loop so we did a 15 mile out and back with an overnight. The first few miles follow old logging roads (as the trail name suggests), but once you get off those roads it's a pretty forest hike. We had a great night at a campsite by the stream.

Note that you shouldn't approach the trailhead on Pleasant Stream Road from the east-- the road and bridge are washed out and the trailhead parking lot can't be reached from this direction.

great trail, but not well marked at all.

7 months ago

Just got back from 2 nights on the loop and had a great time. It was sunny and 55 hiking Saturday and on Monday morning we woke up to 4 inches of snow. A little bit of everything.

There was a nice new shelter at Doe Run we stayed in one night.

Great hike all around.

trail running
11 months ago

Great loop, Well marked!
Even got a little swim in during the the trail run!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Great three day loop in a very remote part of Pennsylvania. Miles and miles of beautiful forest, well established campsites. Typically plentiful water although can dry up in fall or drought conditions. Great vistas and two brand new shelters. If blissful peace and nature is what you seek, seek no longer. You’ve found your trail.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Solo hiked this trail from 4:30 pm on August 24, 2017 and finished up around 5:30 pm on the 26th. I did this trail once before in October of 2015, to say the area was hit by some bad storms would be an understatement. In Masten whole roads have been washed away along with bridges and houses. Surprisingly the trail was in decent shape for the most part. Two great new shelters have been added since my last time there and they're quite nice. The trail is blazed well and water is plentiful. Definitely has some challenging sections and beautiful views. This was the first trail I went backpacking on and I think it's a good trail for someone looking to see if backpacking is for them. Just challenging enough to test your limits. Will most likely do this trail for a third time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Trail is confusing around second creek crossing and not well marked.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

nice three day hike

Sunday, July 30, 2017

CW Southern loop using washed out Pleasant Stream Road as a connector. oOne very steep hill approaching Sharp Top Vista. Camp sites near streams can flood during heavy rains. Very nice trail. Loved it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Awesome loved it so much. The hike is definitely rugged but worth it! The water was so refreshing and crystal clear. The water falls are swimmable. Native trout and lots of them.

Friday, July 14, 2017

When you miss the connector trail...

Saturday, July 08, 2017

This hike was terrific! It was a challenge and I would not recommend this for someone trying just a day hike, though some say they have done it in one day... I find that had to believe after finishing. If it can be done in one day that leaves no time for some of the wonderful views and swimming areas it has to offer. I am not what you would call an experienced hiker but I have done a few. The uphill climbs are rough too say the least but so worth it in the end. The trail is blazed wonderfully. We ( my husband and I ) do plan to come back but to take areas off to the side we didn't realize were there. This was probably one of the toughest yet most rewarding hike I have done. Am experience I am glad I had and won't soon forget! The gps showed 28.86 miles in the end. Awesome trail with an awesome trail mate to keep me going!

Friday, June 02, 2017

I've done this trail twice now. First time I followed the maps course of going counter clockwise and this past time I went clockwise which I found much easier. I actually through hiked the trail in under 12 hours. If you can find a spot to camp along Rock Run make the effort to stay along one of the most beautiful trout streams in PA there is!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Great loop. Was rainy and wet when we did it, the trail was a river. Banged it out as an overnight. Not so many great views but great forest and numerous campsites. One tricky stream crossing late in the first day but probably wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't raining. Easily found a log to cross on.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Water gets busy in summer, awesome area. Hiked then went for a dip in the icy cold water.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Very well marked and maintained trail. Be warned that it is very very dry this summer. We hiked clockwise from Masten. Between Pleasant Stream (around mile 10) and Yellow Dog Run (around mile 20) almost all the streams have dried up. Get water when you can. We also saw a couple rattlesnakes up at Big Rocks. The highlight for us was Sharp Top Vista where we camped on our first night.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The views from the vistas were breathtaking at the least! The path was marked very well, and a moderate hike. Watch for Timber rattle snakes by Big Rock vista. Encountered 6 of them. My only complaint is that the trail is advertised at 23-25 miles depending on the site but it is actually 29.98 (as per GPS tracking) so plan accordingly and bring enough water!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Beautiful views from the vistas! We did Old Loggers Path. The path was well marked and easy to follow. It was a moderate path to hike but be warned! It is NOT a 25.3 mile loop. Our GPS tracked us at 29.98 so plan accordingly. If we go back, we definitely will make two days of the hike. Also watch for Timber Rattle snakes, we encountered 6 by Big Rock vista

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Getting ready to do this trail April 15 2016. Any suggestions.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This is an amazing area. There are great day hikes, plenty of parking area, and several great lookouts and views. Take a minute to take it in and breathe in some nature. This entire trail is full of hills. The usual PA terrain. It's moderate to fairly strenuous, and isn't a leisurely hike. Wear sturdy shoes. Most sections had moving water for drinking in October, but the park office said the water levels were low this season. From the photos I've seen I could tell they were low. The trail is very well marked with orange blazes. Contact the park office (570-946-4049) to check trail conditions, and they even mailed me a trail map for free. Very helpful staff. If you hike the off season, October to the spring some time, you need to call the office a day or 2 prior to your hike to make sure you can have fires.

The Trip:
We drove in on Thursday night, and setup camp in the dark. If you come in from the north on Masten Road it will take you right to the parking area. There are 2 parking areas. One west, and one east in the ghost town. We parked at the west one, which has tent camping right across the road. Very convenient. If you look at the map (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_20027896.pdf) it's the one labeled "Masten Ghost Town Start". Nice facilities.

Day1:(11.5 miles) Up Bright and early Friday morning. We brought extra car camping gear for that first morning, and left it in the car for our hike.It's nice to start out with a full, hot breakfast on a cool morning. We then packed up, and hit the trail.

We started from the camp site, and ended at mile 11.54 on the map going counterclockwise. There's a small area there with a fire pit. There are other larger areas at the 10.05mile area. Due to some confusion of mileage with a track I uploaded to my Garmin, which started at the ghost town, I was off by a mile. Which is why we ended at 11 miles versus 10. No big deal, but be sure you know which start point your directions start from. Day 1 was quite a long day, and we got to camp around 6pm. Fire, fluids, food, then hit the sack.

Day2:(9 miles) Started at 11.54, ended 20.5. Due to the extra mile on day 1, we had one less to put in on day 2. Good thing... I was toast. Another long section of hills and rocks. This section seemed like we covered so much distance, but as I checked we were constantly surprised by how slow we were actually moving. It feels like a fast hike, but you just don't make any distance. At mile 16.8 there's a "NO BRIDGE" on the map. This is where you see the photos of people crossing the river on the trees. We hiked quite a bit in both directions, but nothing looked good. Perhaps the nimble, sure footed hikers can take the packs across of the less steady hikers. If the water is a bit lower toss some rocks from the shore and make a path to cross. Consider your options. Wet feet? Fall off the log and get all wet and maybe injure something? Be ready for this one.

The camp spot at 20.5 is a fantastic site. nice area, great fire pit. Just hope it's available.

Day3:(7 miles) Camp at 20.5 back to the car. This page says 23.7 miles, but it's actually 27.3 miles. The last 7 miles out are quite nice, and if you get up and go end the day fairly early. Just keep an eye in that switch back hill climb at mile 22 that just seems to keep going and going. Once you clear that it's smooth sailing from there. You pop out at the ghost town, and have an easy mile back to the parking.

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