Tiadaghton Trail runs from Ramsey north to Little Pine State Park in the beautiful Pine Creek Valley. The northern half of the trail, described here, is just as rewarding for hikers as the southern half. This trail awes visitors with beautiful views any time of year, so head to Pine Creek and and check out this trail!
This part of Tiadaghton Trail runs from Waterville northbound to Little Pine State Park. This is a one-way hike about 5-7 miles long depending on the ending point (we'll list a few options). A 12-mile loop option also exists, and is described below. You can either drop a shuttle vehicle or take the longer loop.
From the Pine Creek Rail Trail parking area in Waterville, the Tiadaghton Trail leads northbound a couple hundred yards parallel to the Pine Creek Rail Trail. Keep an eye out for a sharp switchback, which is where the yellow-blazed Tiadaghton Trail separates from Old Wagon Road (enthusiastic dogs, like the one above, may miss this turn). Several switchbacks lead hikers up an 800 foot climb between private property and a steep vertical ridgeline on the mountainside.
The climb is more than worth it, as most of the trail's switchbacks offer spectacular views: the Route 44 bridge over Pine Creek, Pine Creek itself, and the Tiadaghton State Forest District Office (shown above). The last couple hundred feet of this climb mellow out a bit into a double track road.
Once it reaches the plateau, Tiadaghton Trail veers off to the left and skirts the very edge of nearly vertical cliffs for over one half mile. At the plateau, several sweeping views of Pine Creek and Upper Pine Bottom Run (Route 44) are offered. Hikers do need to be careful; these cliffs are steep and abrupt. The trail eventually curves away from the cliffs and intersects with Gleason Trail to the left.
Tiadaghton Trail meanders on the plateau for a bit longer before crossing Huntley Road and descending towards Little Pine State Park. After another gorgeous vista (above) the trail descends in dramatic vertical fashion: almost 1,000 vertical feet in about 1/2 mile of trail! This vista and section of trail have been recently improved by DCNR and a short list of dedicated volunteer groups including the Mid State Trail Association, PA Trail Dogs, Jersey Shore Outdoor Club, and an Eagle Scout named Hunter Cero.
Luckily the trail also follows a beautiful stream as it descends, which provides a good excuse to take breaks along the way. Tiadaghton Trail turns left near the bottom of the drainage. The trail now traverses across the mountain, just above Happy Acres Resort.
The trail soon reaches Boone Run Road. Here, hikers can road walk downstream less than one mile to reach Happy Acres Resort and Little Pine State Park. The Department of Adventure suggests a different route, which is about 2 miles long and includes Spike Buck Hollow Trail and Mid State Trail.
Cross Boone Run on a narrow metal bridge and take note of the trail sign wrapped with chicken wire. This wire protects the sign from being gnawed on by porcupines. Spike Buck Hollow Trail climbs steeply up the gorgeous hollow to reach the Mid State Trail (also Love Run Trail) above Little Pine State Park.
Next, turn right (south) on Mid State Trail and follow an awesome ridgeline. The ridge is narrow and filled with rock outcroppings and fantastic views. The views continue as the Mid State Trail descends to Little Pine State Park.
Here you can pick up your shuttle vehicle, or follow the orange blazes through Little Pine State Park and continue southbound on Mid State Trail back to Waterville.
This section of Mid State Trail can be considered moderate in difficulty, since it is much easier than most other sections of this trail. The trail traverses about 100 feet above Pine Creek. A primitive campsite exists at Parker Hollow for those who plan on an overnight. After a few miles, Mid State Trail crosses Dam Run on a nice wooden footbridge. A swimming hole below this bridge helps hikers cool off in the summer months. Cross the bridge, reach Dam Run Road, and turn right (west) to follow Dam Run Road back to Waterville. Find the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Waterville and head north less than a mile back to your vehicle!
Ready for another great Tiadaghton Trail Adventure?
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I had two seriously long days in the woods planned, for an estimated total of 44 miles of backpacking. My plan was to follow a slew of lesser-known trails to create a loop that incorporates both Black Forest Trail and West Rim Trail. I picked this route after studying the Pine Creek Lizard Map. There are countless trails on this excellent map, but some of them are old, neglected, and untravelled. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Winter is a great time to do this kind of exploring. There are no rattlesnakes, nettles, or ticks. Streams are easy to follow, and the cold temperatures can dress up the stream banks with ice sculptures. The lack of leaves creates winter vistas where in the summer there is only endless green. So off I went.