The Old Logger's Path is located in Loyalsock State Forest. The entire trail is a little over 27 miles with the trailhead proper being at the old ghost town of Masten. Our hike began about 2 miles north of Masten, where the trail crosses Ellenton Ridge Road. There were 5 of us doing the entire hike and we met up with Jeff about a mile from the end of our first day of hiking. The first day was to be a hike of a little over 9 miles with the remaining 3 plus miles on the second day, ending our hike along Pleasant Stream Road at the point where the trail crosses over Pleasant Stream.
|Trailhead:||N 41° 31.60'
W 76° 49.87'
|Trail Length:||12.5 miles|
|Hike Time:||8 hours|
|Near:||Masten Ghost Town,
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Over a year ago, Mark and I had done a 15 mile hike on this trail. At that time, we opted to hike the section of the trail found north of Pleasant Stream. Since I like to finish what I started, I suggested hiking the southern half when Jody and Chris asked about doing a hike in November.
Our hike began about 2 miles north of Masten, where the trail crosses Ellenton Ridge Road. There were 5 of us doing the entire hike and we met up with Jeff about a mile from the end of our first day of hiking. The first day was to be a hike of a little over 9 miles with the remaining 3 plus miles on the second day, ending our hike along Pleasant Stream Road at the point where the trail crosses over Pleasant Stream.
The trailhead proper for this circuit hike is at the ghost town of Masten. As I wanted to say that I hiked the entire trail, we began our hike at the point where the trail crosses Ellenton Ridge Road. There are a number of ways to reach this trailhead, but I will give details on the way that we got there. The reason we chose this approach is because this was to be a point-to-point hike and we needed to drop a car off along Pleasant Stream where we planned on completing the hike.
To reach the trailhead that we used for this hike you will need to make your way to route US15. If coming from the east or west you will first need to get on route US220, and get onto route US15 at its intersection near Williamsport. From the intersection of route US220 and route US15, head north fro 12.3 miles until you reach to town of Trout Run and the intersection of route US14. Exit here and continue north on route US14 for 8.6 miles. Here you will be in the town of Marsh Hill, and once you see the sign along the road, keep your eyes open so that you can make the first right on Pleasant Stream Road. We continued on Pleasant Stream Road for 6.9 miles and parked a car just after we crossed Short Run. At 9.5 miles after leaving route US14, you will be at the ghost town of Masten. You will turn left here and drive for 1.4 miles until you reach Ellenton Ridge Road. Turn left on Ellenton Ridge Road and continue for 0.5 miles. The road bear to the right, but there will be a gated road to your left. Pull off here and park your car as this is the trailhead for this hike.
This was going to be the latest overnight hike that I had ever done. Of course, hiking in November brings the risk of snow. And we were not disappointed during this November hike as it had snowed the night before and the ground and trees were covered with white when we reached the trailhead.
There were five of us doing this hike, with a sixth hiker joining us later in the day. Jody, Chris, Doug, Kaelen and myself started the hike where the OLP crossed Ellenton Ridge Road, at the same location where Mark and I had started our hike over a year ago. We were going to hike in a clockwise direction and end our hike along Pleasant Stream after spending an night on the trail.
Our hike started on an old mountain road. This road is typically gated, but since deer hunting season was starting soon, the gates were open to allow easier access for hunters. We continued down the road for 0.35 miles before the trail turned off the road into the woods to our left. This section of the Old Logger's Path is also known as the Schoolhouse Hollow Trail.
We followed this trail for another 0.8 miles before we turned off of Schoolhouse Hollow Trail, still following the orange blazes of the OLP, onto an old logging road. We continued on this wide trail until it met up with the Pleasant Stream Road at 2.0 miles into our hike.
About 1000 feet after the trail merged and turned left onto Pleasant Stream Road, we came across the trailhead proper for the Old Logger's Path. There is sign here indicating the start of the OLP as well as a plaque describing the old town of Masten. Masten was an old logging town located at this spot. Currently only a view ruins, including an intact fireplace and chimeny, mark where this town once stood.
We followed the road, crossing over North Pleasant Stream, and continued on the dirt road for another half mile before the trail turned off to our right. After a short scamper up to an old railroad grade, the trail continued toward the west. The old railroad grade that we were on was wide and accept for an occasional washout, there weren't any obstacles to impeded our progress.
At 3.2 miles into our hike, and after hiking on a relatively flat grade for the past mile, the trail and old railroad grade switchbacked to our right. At this point the grade of our ascent became a little steeper, but it was still and easy climb. We followed this old railroad grade, slowly climbing to the top of the mountain. The grade and trail followed the contour of the mountain and ascent was very easy to handle, even with our heavy packs on our back.
Almost at the top of the mountain we came across our first source of water since Pleasant Stream at 4.5 miles. At this point, even though we were still ascending, the climb was so gradual that you could hardly tell that we were climbing. At 5.1 miles we crossed the remains of a more recent logging access road that was starting to be reclaimed by the forest.
At 5.8 miles into our hike the Old Loggers Path crosses Hillsgrove Road. This road is an alternate way to get to Masten instead of using Pleasant Stream Road. There is a small stream along the road here and presents the hiker with another opportunity to will up their water bottles before continuing on with the hike.
For the next 0.5 miles we had another short climb. We crossed another logging road at the top of our climb before we began our descent into the Wallis Run valley. For the next 1.4 miles we gradual descended from the mountain top. I had originally thought the descent would be steeper than it was. There was a switchback half way down the mountainside, but overall the climb down was easy.
At 7.8 miles into the hike we came upon Cascade Road. This is where we were meeting up with Jeff, the sixth hiker on this trip. Even though the ground and trees were covered with snow at the higher elevations, here along Cascade Road the only snow that could be seen was in the areas of the woods that rarely see any sun. After a short break, and the packing of a case of beer amongst our packs, we headed off towards this evenings campsite, hoping to get there while it was still light enough to set up camp.
We started our hike at a little after 11:00AM and we reached Cascade Road, almost 8 miles into our hike, at 2:00PM. We were making good time and I figured we would make camp with plenty of daylight remaining. After another 1.3 miles of hiking we came upon the East Branch of Wallis Run. This is where we decided to setup our camp for the evening.
After 40 minutes we had our tents set up, a large pile of fire wood, and our camp chairs situated around an already blazing camp fire. As we were sitting around the fire, a father and son pair, hiking the OLP in the opposite direction from us, set up camp on the other bank of the stream. As darkness began to set in we decided to make our evening meal of ham steaks and mashed potatoes. I managed to hang out by the fire until 9:00PM before fatigue over took me and I headed off to bed.
I'm not sure what the tempearture had dropped to that night, but when I got up 2:00AM to take care of all those beers I drank earlier, it was definitely cold outside of the tent. Back in the tent I was cozy and warm in my sleeping bag. Apart from the usual problems I have sleeping outside (being startled by loud noises of the forest, awaken by the noisy snoring of Jody in the tent next to us) I had a rather restfull sleep, much more restfull then I would have thought sleeping outside in November.
We woke the next morning with everyone crawling out of their tents around 8:00AM. We boiled some water and made our morning coffees, tore down our tents, and put everything back in our packs. We were all packed up and ready to hit the trail at about 9:30AM.
For the first quarter mile of hiking on our second day of our trip, the trail was level and followed an old logging road. At 9.4 miles from the trailhead, the trail turns sharply to the right and begins the climb back up to the mountain top.
The climb at first was easy and gradual but it became steeper and more difficult as we continued. Over the next three quarter miles we climbed over 600 feet. This definitley got our blood flowing and if anyone was cold as we started our hike, they were definitely warm and perspiring now.
At 10.2 miles we reached the top of our climb and the Sharp Top Vista. The vista was amazing and well worth the climb. This vista is also reachable by car by following Cascade and Merrell roads. We spent about 10 minutes at the vista, catching our breath, and taking in the view.
The trail followed a dirt road from the vista for about 0.2 miles before it turned off to our left. The trail then hugged along some cliff tops as it meandered along the mountain side. At 10.7 miles we cut back away from the edge of the mountain, climbed for about 0.1 miles where we crossed another dirt road. We then began our final descent and the last leg of our hike as we walked down along Butternut Run.
At 12.3 miles into our hike, only a quarter of a mile from the car and the end of our hike, we encountered our largest obstacle of the entire hike. We had to cross Pleasant Stream. Even though the stream was not high in its banks, it was still about 10 feet across at the most narrow point and the water was flowing swiftly. We were able to find a place where there were stepping stones not too far below the surface of the water, and we managed to get across without getting too wet.
Another quarter mile of hiking got us to the end of our hike where we had Chris' car parked along side Pleasant Stream Road. We finished the last 3 and a half miles of hiking in just a little under 2 hours. Chris took me back to the trailhead to pick up my car and then back to pick up the rest of the guys. After a weekend of hiking we did our traditional routine and headed off to a bar for a beer and some warm food.