The Haystacks: Loyalsock Trail Hike PA
Mileage: 5 Miles Directions
Rise: 600 FT Facebook
Hike Time: 3 hrs with 3 kids Weather
Significance: Dutchman Falls, Rock formation, Loyalsock Trail
Here is some of what you need to know:The end of the loyalsock trail
1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them large
The trail head for this hike starts at the lower end of the parking lot. Their are two trail options. 1-If you are in the parking lot facing down hill; the path in the lower right corner will take you to the Haystacks via the Loyalsock Trail (LT). 2-Their is a trail head at the lower left end of the parking lot, it is a more direct rout (yellow blazes) to the haystacks but you will skip the waterfall. If you do the loop you will return on this path.
We took the trail head at the lower right end of the parking lot so we could see the falls.
The Beginning section of this trail is short, semi-steep and rocky. At about 0.2 miles you will come to a T intersection where there is the remains of an old railroad bed. If you want to see the waterfall you will not take the RR bed yet. Continue walking down the hill through the woods, it is not far from the RR bed. It rained the night before and the falls were beautiful.
The Haystacks are what we came for so back up the hill to the RR bed and hang a right. This is the Loyalsock Trail and you will be on it until you get to the Stacks but it is not going to stay RR bed. At 0.8 miles the LT turns downhill and heads towards then follows Loyalsock creek. If you happen to stay on the RR bed you will still end up at the Haystacks, no problem.
The LT is beautiful and well marked. The choas of Loyalsock creek is offset by the stillness of forest. Sometimes you are closer to the chaos and sometimes you are surrounded by the forest. We had been warned of its difficulty but we found little. This is really an enjoyable section of the almost 60 mile trail.
A few minutes before you get to the Haystacks you will come to a T intersection (about 2.2 Miles) where an access road will be heading up hill. Later you will take this road on your way back to the parking area. Remember the Haystacks are in the creek so do not take the access road yet.
Finally the Haystacks! As we got closer we could hear the turbulent water in a creek that was slightly swollen from the recent rains. The sound was coming from water rushing around these haystack looking rocks sticking up out of the water. The rocks are spread out across the water in a way that you have to jump from rock to rock to get to the middle. The currents were heavy and not a place you can swim, but it is an awesome place to see.
For the hike back you return to the intersection and start heading up hill. Over the next two miles you will pick up about 300ft in elevation (2 hills with some RR bed in between).
Overall a great hike; for the kids it was the right distance and the trail was fun enough to keep them interested. For me it was a great chance to run around with the kids and see some cool stuff. A perfect Day. This place is best if it has rained recently, if the weather has been on the dryer side consider going to nearby Worlds End State Park.
Enjoy your trip!!!
Check out Smiths Knob on the other end of the LT