January 25, 2018

Tiadaghton Trail: a gem all year long!

The Lizard Department of Adventure offers yet another great hike suggestion for those who want to discover the beauty of Northcentral PA. Tiadaghton Trail! 

In beautiful Pine Creek Valley on the Pine Creek Lizard Map lies a long forgotten trail simply called the Tiadaghton Trail. It has been recently reopened by DCNR and a small group of dedicated volunteers. The southern half of this trail, now better than ever, consists of a very steep climb along a narrow ridge, followed by a beautiful ridgetop hike, concluding with a fantastic descent into a canyon that drains to Pine Creek by Waterville. It is a strenuous hike, but one that offers many rewards!

One-way shuttle, longer day hike loop, or overnight adventure

The trip below can be completed as a 7-mile one-way hike ending at Waterville Parking Area along the Pine Creek Rail Trail. Those looking for a loop hike can go for an 11-mile day hike (including almost 4 miles of the Pine Creek Rail Trail), or a 16 mile day hike or backpacking trip (including a section of the Mid State Trail). All three options are described below. This trail is enjoyable anytime of year. Trekking poles are suggested due to very steep sections of trail. 

Ramsey Bridge Mid State Trail Tiadaghton State Forest PA

Begin at a small parking area near the Pine Creek Rail Trail access in Ramsey. This is less than ten miles north of Route 220 and Jersey Shore and about 25 miles from Williamsport. The proximity to the highway allows this lot to be accessed easily during winter conditions. Begin your hike by heading south on the Pine Creek Rail Trail, which is also the Mid State Trail at this point. Follow the orange blazes of the Mid State Trail to cross Pine Creek on Ramsey Bridge, which is a historic gem.

Mid State Trail and Tiadaghton Trail in Ramsey PA

Several new trails are being added and upgraded in this area, but we suggest sticking to the classic route for now. Follow the Mid State Trail southbound, turning at a restroom area and walking to Bonnell Flats Camping Area near Pine Creek. The Mid State Trail winds along Pine Creek and leads to three trail shelters. Shortly after this, the Mid State Trail crosses the rail trail and reaches the southern trailhead of Tiadaghton Trail. Follow the yellow blazes of Tiadaghton Trail northbound (and upwards) toward Waterville.

Old Quarry near Tiadaghton Trail Ramsey PA

Take note of an old quarry site just to the right (downhill) of Tiadaghton Trail as it nears the narrow ridgeline before climbing very steeply. Our Trail Guru followed a short blue blazed side trail (Stone Cutter Trail) to explore this quarry for a bit before returning back to the climb.

Tiadaghton Trail Vista Ramsey PA

The first great vista appears on top of a rock outcropping after a steep uphill scramble. Thankfully, you'll find a log bench which provides a great spot to rest and enjoy the view of the valley below.

Tiadaghton Trail Vista Ramsey PA

A second steep uphill scramble results in another great vista, Ramsey Bed Vista, on top of another rock outcrop. This is also a Lizard Spot on the Pine Creek Lizard Map. Several rocks offer another resting spot. The climbing isn't done yet, so be sure to take a few minutes to cool down and appreciate the view. Can you spot your car from this vista, parked below in Ramsey?

Narrow Ridge of Tiadaghton Trail Ramsey PA

The climbing continues!

The ridge here is very narrow and offers many excellent views of the valley below. Geologists will also enjoy the exposed rock outcroppings along the way.

Tiadaghton Trail and Stone Cutter Trail Ramsey PA

After climbing almost 1,000 vertical feet from Pine Creek to Kline Peak, the Tiadaghton Trail drops slightly and reaches Stone Cutter Trail at a saddle in this narrow ridge. Stone Cutter Trail offers a cutoff route off the ridge and back downhill to Pine Creek. If you're feeling good, keep going north along the yellow blazed trail, and climb a few hundred more feet uphill to the top of the plateau.

Bull Run Dead End Road #2 Tiadaghton State Forest Ramsey PA

Tiadaghton Trail becomes a double track road, Bonnell Run Road, just before reaching the plateau. Follow this to a gravel road called Bull Run Dead End Road #2. Hang a left on this road, then a quick right at the trail sign to re-enter the woods. Back on a dirt path, follow along the only prolonged flat portion of this hike. Enjoy the flat, as it doesn't last very long!

Bull Run Waterfalls Tiadaghton Trail Tiadaghton State Forest PA

Soon enough, Tiadaghton Trail begins a steep descent into Bull Run through a side hollow that intermittently has flowing water. The trail drops over 600 feet in about 3/4 of a mile. A beautiful cascade (shown above) is the reward for this tough descent. 

Bull Run Tiadaghton Trail Tiadaghton State Forest PA

The beautiful cascades continue as Bull Run and the Tiadaghton Trail drop another 500 feet to Pine Creek.

Tiadaghton Trail along Pine Creek Tiadaghton State Forest PA

Tiadaghton Trail follows Bull Run for roughly one half mile before turning left (north) above the banks of Pine Creek. Now the trail parallels beautiful Pine Creek until reaching a junction with Lower Pine Bottom Road. Turn right to reach Route 44, then turn right again along Route 44, southbound, to cross Pine Creek on the road bridge.

Hikers who left a car at the Pine Creek Rail Trail Waterville Parking Area have reached the end of their hike. Hikers who need to get back to Ramsey rather quickly (and easily), can enjoy a mellow 3.5 mile walk along the Pine Creek Rail Trail back to Ramsey. Either way, be sure to stop for a snack at McConnell's Country Store and Fly Shop in downtown Waterville.

McConnells General Store Waterville PA

Hikers wishing to add another 7 or so miles to their day (or those who want to make this an overnight backpacking trip) can walk back on the Pine Creek Rail Trail heading towards Waterville. Get off the rail trail at 2nd Street after it crosses Little Pine Creek on an awesome old railway bridge. Follow Route 44 southbound for just a bit and then turn left on Dam Run Road. Roadwalk Dam Run Road for a little over a mile, then turn right (southbound) onto Mid State Trail.

Mid State Trail Tiadaghton State Forest PA

Mid State Trail is extremely steep here. It climbs an unnamed watercourse uphill over 1,000 feet before crossing Ramsey Road on the plateau. Natural gas infrastructure, including a well pad and holding pond, can be observed along the way.

Ramsey Run Mid State Trail Tiadaghton State Forest PA

Now the trail quickly descends to Ramsey Run, which is yet another gorgeous mountain stream that leads to Pine Creek. The total descent is roughly 800 feet. Luckily a few volunteers from Mid State Trail Association and PA Trail Dogs recently updated switchbacks in this area to make the trail easier to navigate. 

Footbridge Across Ramsey Run Mid State Trail Tiadaghton State Forest PA

A few primitive campsites exist near a really fun footbridge along the Mid State Trail at the Ramsey Run crossing. This is a great spot for overnight explorers to enjoy an evening!

Mid State Trail Tiadaghton State Forest PA

The Mid State Trail climbs up and away from Ramsey Run beside a steep drainage. It is over 700 feet elevation gain back to the plateau.

Vista Along Mid State Trail Tiadaghton State Forest PA

But the views at the top are worth the effort! Finally, follow several steep switchbacks down off the mountain and back to the town of Ramsey, where your car is patiently waiting. Be sure to show your knees some love after this difficult day of climbing and descending in Pine Creek!

Ready for More Tiagdaghton Fun? 

Tiadaghton Trail Part Two: Waterville to Little Pine State Park

Find more trails in Pine Creek, and check off the trails you've already completed with our downloadable Pine Creek Adventure List:

 And of course, don't forget to bring a Lizard Map on all of your adventures:

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