Jul 6, 2009 at 3:43 am #1237548
I'm planning a trip for myself and 3 friends, and two of them are new so I want to keep the mileage around 6 or so (they wanted to base camp and have water close by). Does anyone have a spot in the NJ,NY,PA,MD area where we could hike in and have a decent swimming hole close by?Jul 6, 2009 at 8:16 am #1512264
George, consider a part of the Susquehannock Trail System in Potter County, PA. I don't have my trail guide with me, but if memory serves, you could park at the general store in Cross Fork and hike clockwise into the Hammersley Wild Area, the largest roadless area in Pennsylvania. The Hammersley Pool is one of the nicest swimming holes I've seen. You can camp right next to it, but it might be a better idea to stay a short distance away to avoid overuse.
Other resources include Mid-Atlantic Hikes and the book Backpacking Pennsylvania by Jeff Mitchell.
Good luck!Jul 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm #1512307
Thanks Jeff! That's the kind of spot I'm looking for. Any idea about how far the hike is to that area. The crew I'm hiking with is pretty green….Jul 6, 2009 at 8:41 pm #1512387
George, it's 5-1/2 miles from Cross Fork to Hammersley Pool. You'll climb 1000 feet in a little less than 2 miles starting shortly after leaving Cross Fork, then drop about 700 feet into the valley of Hammersley Fork. Your local REI or EMS should carry the Guide to the Susquehannock Trail System; map 5 shows this area.
If you're concerned about grades for beginners, another option may be to park off East Fork Road, just south of the village of Conrad on the Sinnemahoning Creek. It's a much gentler walk to the pool, but it's 9-1/2 miles each way.Jul 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm #1512525
Thanks Jeff. I am going to REI for the maps this week. The shorter option sounds reasonable. Heck the climb will warm 'em up for the swim.Jul 8, 2009 at 6:52 pm #1512795
pine grove furnace state park would be an excellent base camp with the option for electricty in your campsite. i think they charge like $7 a campsite. they have 2 big mountain-fed lakes that don't cost anything to swim in, and a variety of trails and variety of difficulties. the AT intersects here.
i suggest the pole steeple trailJul 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm #1513171
Josh, thanks for the suggestion. I thought about Pine Grove Furnace and Caledonia, but the guys were looking more for a hole they could hike to. We're going to give the Hammersly Wild Area a shot. Looks like a cool area.Jul 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm #1513221
I hope you enjoy the STS! I haven't been there in many years, but it was a fantastic trip and I'd love to go back.Jul 13, 2009 at 5:55 am #1513532
Another option is the Old Loggers Path in Masten PA (about 45 minutes north of Williamsport). It's a loop hike (27 miles total) but if you start in Masten and hike counter-clockwise you'll hit a great base camp and swimming hole exactly 6 miles in. It's where Yellow Dog Run flows into Rock Run. Here are a couple of photos:
I'd be happy to give you the .tpo file and more info on this hike if you'd like. I've done this loop twice – both times taking along a first-timer.Jul 13, 2009 at 7:30 am #1513542
Thanks for the tip. We're going to hit the STS this weekend, but will definitely keep the OLP in mind! I've hiked the AT, Catskills, Dacks and yet live so close to PA and never take advantage of all the trails there are to offer. I'm making a point to change all that though :D!Jul 13, 2009 at 7:43 am #1513547
@slvravnLocale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
I would second Kevin's suggestion of OLP after you do STS. I was just there at the end of May and would have loved to jump in if not for the 50 degree weather and the rain. I have to get back there one of these days when its much warmer.
FYI – there is a great campsite at yellow dog/rock creek that overlooks the swimming holeJul 13, 2009 at 7:57 am #1513553
I forgot to mention that the swimming hole was written up in Backpacker about two years ago. I don't think it sees much use, but it was fun to see it in the magazine a month or two after I first hiked the loop.
Nathan – I haven't been able to swim there either. The first time I did the trail we hiked it counter-clockwise from Masten so we had lunch at that campsite and didn't have time for a dip. The second time I hiked it we went clockwise from Masten and spent our second night there, but it was early April and there was still snow along the trail in places. I've been accused of being a polar bear, but I wasn't that desperate for a dip!
One other note about the Old Loggers Path: There is an unbridged stream crossing (through Pleasant Stream) that will very likely require you to get your feet wet. In the summer you could easily cross in bare feet (it's a sandy bottom) but at other times it can be quite cold. You'll only hit this if you do the full loop – it wouldn't affect you if you only went to Rock Run.Jul 13, 2009 at 8:12 am #1513555
@slvravnLocale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
"One other note about the Old Loggers Path: There is an unbridged stream crossing (through Pleasant Stream) that will very likely require you to get your feet wet. In the summer you could easily cross in bare feet (it's a sandy bottom) but at other times it can be quite cold. You'll only hit this if you do the full loop……"
I did OLP clockwise the last time and stayed at the Pleasant Valley campsite for the first night. Just to note there are 2 sites here – one on each side of the stream. If I remembered that I wouldnt have had to do an early morning crossing in freezing water…..Jul 13, 2009 at 8:23 am #1513557
Seriously – I'll always do this loop clockwise because of the great campsites.
Here's a picture of me crossing the stream right after breakfast on April 5, 2008:
Please note – this was before I "saw the light" and dropped my base pack weight from 35+ pounds to 10 pounds. I actually crossed the stream three times that morning because I came back over to get my buddy's pack to carry it for him so he could cross the stream on the log that spanned it a little upstream from the campsite. It was cold!!!Jul 13, 2009 at 1:45 pm #1513630
Alright guys, you got me sold. OLP might wind up being one of my next hikes. I love stream crossings. Here's one crossing Big Wilson stream in the 100 Mile wilderness:Jul 14, 2009 at 11:53 am #1513803
It's always good to cross streams with a smile on your face!!!Jul 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm #1513842
If I'm far enough out that they don't bother building bridges, I smile at every stream crossing.Jul 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm #1515193
Jeff, thanks for the great tip. The STS and Hammersley Wilds turned out to be just the trip to introduce my friends to backpacking. As soon as I get a chance I'll post a trip report.Jul 21, 2009 at 7:52 am #1515378
I'm glad you had a good time! Hopefully, if the stars align, I'll be on the Laurel Highlands Trail next week.Jul 28, 2009 at 7:45 pm #1517157
Just got my camera back, so until I can get a trip report together here's a couple of pics from the STS.
A motley crew (not THE motley crew):
My buddy Dean enjoying Hammersley Pool:
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