Hikes in Northern Tiadaghton State Forest
Black Forest Trail
The Black Forest Trail is a 42-mile (68 km) loop trail in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest in parts of Lycoming, Potter, and Clinton Counties. A number of other forest roads, hiking, and cross country ski trails cross the Black Forest Trail making it possible to do shorter loops for day hikes or shorter backpacking trips. The Black Forest Trail is known for its steep ascents and descents and views of the Pine Creek Gorge and other canyons to the west.
This is a brief description starting counter-clockwise from the main trailhead at Slate Run. From the trailhead walkers take a short route through a pine plantation. The beginning of the trail crosses the Slate Run stream which is about 30 feet (9 m) wide and has a foot bridge dedicated on October 24, 2014. Walkers then climb about 1,000 feet (300 m) in a mile and a half. Part way up visitors come across an old quarry that has views of the valley carved by Slate Run Creek. Then next several miles the trail cross the plateau that is the Alcinda wilderness area. This section is generally level. About mile 6 (km 9.7) walkers descend along the Red Run, passing several campsites (including one at the top of the plateau), recrossing the Slate Run around mile 8 (km 13). Walkers then have another gradual 1,000 feet (300 m) climb, part of which is on an old logging road. The trail once again follows the plateau to the west, with level hiking for the next several miles. The Sentiero Di Shay ski trail cross the BFT twice in this section and can be used to make alternative loops. Around the 13-mile (21 km) mark the trail crosses Pennsylvania Route 44 in a stand of hemlocks. The trail slowly descends and for the next several miles and follows the County Line Branch stream. This section has several water crossings that can be difficult in high water; campsites can be found in this section.
Around mile 17 (km 27) the trail makes a steep climb to the plateau again. For the next 6 miles (9.7 km) the trail follows the plateau with views to the west. The hiking in this section is generally mostly level with a few minor climbs, as well as several campsites, especially around mile 21 (km 34). This section of trail also crosses several cross country ski trails that can be used to access Pennsylvania Route 44. Finally around mile 24 (km 39) the BFT recrosses Pennsylvania Route 44. Following the crossing walkers have another couple miles of level hiking before taking on the much more rugged eastern section of the trail. Around mile 26 (km 42) the trail drops down to Callahan Run (with camping at the bottom), one of many runs that flow into Pine Creek. After dropping down walkers immediately climb back up (this is the general pattern for the rest of the trail). After climbing up the trail heads to Hemlock Mountain. At the top around mile 29 (km 47) there is a wonderful, dry, mountaintop campsite with views of Pine Creek. Once again the trail drops down to Naval Run (with a large campsite at the bottom) and follow this for a little less than a mile before climbing again up to the plateau.
The Tiadaghton Trail was one of several trails constructed by Boy Scouts at Camp Kline following the establishment of the camp in 1920. After the camp was no longer used by scouts, the trail was abandoned. With considerable help from DCNR Conservation Volunteers, the trail was re-established and is now well maintained. The original Tiadaghton Trail was blazed with a red circle and a white T in the center. These blazes can still be found throughout the length of the trail. However, the current markers are 2"x6" yellow blazes, indicating a hiking-only district trail.
The Tiadaghton and Mid State trails can be combined to form a 23 mile backpacking loop, from Ramsey Village to Little Pine State Park and back to Ramsey Village. Hikers may also choose adjacent trails to form shorter hiking loops for day hikes. Some of the more popular side trails include the Gleason Trail, the Dry Run Trail, the Torbert Trail, the Old Wagon Rd, and the Love Run Trail.
Backpackers may camp at established campsites near the former Camp Kline or Little Pine State Park. Permits are required at these sites. Contact the Tiadaghton Resource Management Center in Waterville to receive a free permit. Little Pine State Park offers tent sites, cabins, and yurts for a fee. Contact Little Pine State Park for more information.
Source: PA DCNR