After hiking the Golden Eagle Trail the day before, Jody and I woke up on a cloudy Sunday morning wanting to do another hike. Since we were camping near Little Pine State Park, Jody suggested a hike on the Panther Run, Mid State, and Love Run Trails. He promised it would be a work out, with a decent vista, and would have us back to the car and on the road by lunch. So we parked my car at the Bald Eagle viewing lot and Mary Ellen dropped us off at the trailhead so we could begin our Sunday morning hike.
|Trailhead:||N 41° 23.02'
W 77° 21.42'
|Trail Length:||3.4 miles|
|Hike Time:||2.5 hours|
|Near:||Lttle Pine S.P.|
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This hike was done as a shuttle hike, with us being dropped off at the trailhead. It can also be done as a loop hike if you do a little bit of road walking. To reach the trailhead you simply follow route PA44 taking the PA44 exit off of US220. After approximately 10.8 miles you will enter the village of Waterville. As you cross the bridge over Little Pine Creek, bear right onto Little Pine Creek Road. Follow this road for 5.8 miles, as you drive through Little Pine State Park. You will see the trailhead on your left with enough room to park 3 or 4 cars just a bit past on the right. As I mentioned, this is a shuttle hike and we parked my car at the end of the hike. This is just past the recreational parking area for Little Pine State Park, on the right, near the picnic area where people will often sit to observe the nesting Bald Eagles.
We started the hike on the Panther Run Trail. For the first tenth of a mile we hiked through some high weeds along the edge of the woods. This section of the trail could most definitely use a little TLC. We arrived at Panther Run, where it slows its trek to Little Pine Creek when it hits the open, flat meadow. There are some remains of an old, stone building here. We looked up the steep embankment at a 80 foot climb up a very steep dirt hill. After some struggling we were on a flat trail that made its way through a pine forest and in another tenth of a mile was following the banks of Panther Run.
The trail slowly climbs, following Panther Run up the hollow. The hiking wasn't too bad, but the ascent was constant and I was soon working up a sweat on this cool, but muggy early fall morning. There were a few small water falls on Panther Run and the hike was quite peaceful. At about 0.8 miles into the hike out gradual, peaceful hike came to an end. At this point the trail turns sharply to the left, leaving Panther Run behind, and begins a steep climb to the ridge top.
In the next 0.2 miles the trail climbs steeply over 500 feet. After a false summit, we reached the top of the ridge, at the intersection of Panther Run Trail and the Mid State Trail. We had put a little over a mile of hiking under our belt and we took this opportunity to quench our thirst and catch our breaths. After a short break, we turned left, following the Mid State Trail to the south.
The hike along the Mid State Trail was quite enjoyable. For one thing, it was nice to be hiking on a flat trail as opposed to climbing to a ridge top. Second, the trail was well maintained. It seemed as if someone had been through recently with a DR Trimmer or brush whacker as there was a lot of clearance to both sides of the trail, devoid of encroaching brush.
We hiked on the Mid State Trail for about 1.3 miles, when we came to an intersection of trails, with the orange blazed Mid State heading off to our right. We continued straight, on the Love Run Trail and soon came upon a nice vista. I took a few pictures here and enjoyed the view before we continued down the trail, slowly descending on top of the ridge.
We continued our descent on the ridge line and it leveled out about 2.8 miles into the hike as we walked on the level we started to see some interesting rock formations. The trail meandered through these outcroppings and we took our time as we marveled at these oddities perched here, on top of the ridge.
At about 3.1 miles we started to descend once again, hiking through a stand of small pines. The descent became quite steep at places. It was about this time that we heard rumbles of thunder in the distance as a wind began to pick up.
At 3.3 miles we came upon a switch back and we were able to see the end of the hike below us. At this time the rain began to fall, sparsely at first, but the intensity began to pick up. At a little less than a tenth of a mile from the end of our hike, the trail meets an old forest road, where we turned left and emerged out of the woods on the paved road. As we ran to the our parked car, the skies began to open up. Luckily we were doing this hike as a shuttle because if we would have done a loop hike, we would have been drenched until we reached the trailhead.
This was a nice, short hike, perfect for a Sunday morning. I would like to go back to Little Pine State Park and explore more of the trails. We could have easily hiked more of the Mid State Trail as it crosses Little Pine Creek Road just south of the state park, near Boone Run. Looks like an opportunity for more day hikes in the Little Pine Creek valley.