Loyalsock Trail
Mile 0.00 to 3.00 Mile 49.25 to 53.60 Mile 3.00 to 4.81
Mile 4.81 to 9.10       Mile 9.10 to 13.53       Mile 13.53 to 15.45       Mile 15.45 to 18.25       Mile 18.25 to 22.08
Mile 22.08 to 25.24       Mile 25.24 to 28.42       Mile 28.42 to 30.57       Mile 30.57 to 34.54       Mile 34.54 to 39.59
Mile 39.59 to 43.27       Mile 43.27 to 46.11       Mile 46.11 to 49.25       Mile 53.60 to 56.00       Mile 56.00 to 59.28

Revised November 6, 2003

Mile 49.25 to 53.60, hiked east to west then doubled back, October 22, 1994
Mile 49.25 to 53.60, hiked east to west continuing to World's End , October 13, 2003
Sones Pond past Porky Den and Alpine Falls to Big Run

Our third and final hike of Fall, 1994 followed a relatively flat segment -- by LT standards -- which continued to extend our series of day hikes to the east of World's End State Park toward the end of the trail at Route 220. It took a bit of scouting to determine the best way to access the parking area at Sones Pond by car. There was a sign for Loyalsock Road, a gravel road, intersecting PA Route 154 just west of the state park, but the sign indicated the distance to the pond was 11 miles. Have you ever driven 11 miles on a gravel road in a Ford Escort station wagon? The LT topo map indicated an intersection on Route 154 with Rock Run Road somewhat over five miles east of the park, and about two miles west of Route 220 near Laporte. After driving back and forth on 154 a bit, we finally saw the unsigned gravel road intersection. Our recommendation would be to start at 220 and drive west on 154 as the intersection is easier to spot from this direction because of its angle.

From Route 154, Rock Run Road travels a bit over two miles to the intersection with Loyalsock Road just before Sones Pond. About halfway there, there is an iron bridge over Loyalsock Creek, and the LT crosses the same bridge and follows the road for 1/6 mile before turning off. That section of the LT is to the east from Sones Pond; we parked at Sones Pond and hiked in a westerly direction this day.

The parking area is across Loyalsock Road from the pond and a roofed pavilion or shelter near a fishing area. It's possible -- and shortest -- to access the trail by hiking to the right along the southeast shore of the pond, but there's not really a defined trail. To make sure we didn't miss the LT, we hiked back along Loyalsock Road to Rock Run Road, the way we had just driven from, then turned left onto Rock Run Road until reaching the LT crossing at mile 53.60 in about 1/4 mile.

The only steep hiking in the first three miles was near mile 52.10 in the vicinity of some rock formations called "Porky Den," where porcupines live in the crevices of the rocks according to the trail guide. We didn't see any. This area was more of a nuisance with climbing over rocks than it was physically exerting -- the elevation change was 40 or 50 feet at most. The LT continued flat, jogging along Loyalsock Road at mile 51.67 to 51.60, then beginning a gradual descent into the valley formed by Tom's Run, dropping at a more moderate rate within the last 1/3 mile of the stream where it descended about 250 ft.

The LT reached Tom's Run at the top of Alpine Falls. A side trail (blue markers) leads from the LT to a view of the falls. (This trail was formerly labeled RX-9 with Red X markers prior to 2005.)  The LT descends alongside the falls and is quite steep. At the bottom of the falls, the LT continued downhill along a railroad grade to the low point of the day's hike, elevation 1480 ft, at mile 50.23. Here, the LT switches from following Tom's Run downstream to following Big Run upstream, and the remainder of our hike to the turnaround point was gradually uphill, past an overlook at Ken's Window, mile 50.03. When we reached the same Big Run crossing at mile 49.25 where we'd stopped on the previous hike in the opposite direction from World's End State Park, we turned around and returned to our car by the same route, except for taking the old RX-9 (no longer blazed) over Alpine Falls and for following the shore of Sones Pond to our car rather than hiking up the LT from the pond to Rock Run Road. 

As Maria got older, she began to do more hiking on her own two feet.  Of course Mike wanted her to have the opportunity to do the LT "for real."   On October 13, 2003, the two of them left a car at World's End State Park then rode with Aimee to Sones Pond where she dropped them off to begin a 7.5 mile hike of section seven of the LT.

As their photos show, the weather was pleasant for hiking that day -- blue sky and temperatures in the 60s.  The only downside to the hiking experience was caused by another group of four adult hikers who left the Sones Pond area just ahead of them and talked loudly as they hiked.  Usually it's not hard to find solitude in the woods when there are only six people along three miles of trail -- but not when all six are within a quarter mile or so during the whole trip.

As mentioned above, this segment from Sones Pond to Alpine Falls is relatively flat, except for a drop as the falls are approached.  Even Porky Den is not much of an elevation change.  

Mike and Maria stopped for lunch at the falls, sitting on a large rock slab in the stream at the very top of the falls.  (Actually they had to wait for the other hikers to vacate the area.)  After lunch they continued across the falls, following the trail as it rose slightly then dropped alongside but just out of viewing distance of the stream.  When the low point was reached at mile 50.23, the ascent away from Tom's Run to follow Big Run upstream was quite a bit steeper than Mike remembered.  But once Ken's Window was reached after about 1/5 mile, the elevation change became slight again.

When Mike and Maria reached the stream crossing of Big Run at mile 49.25, she had finished this segment on her own two feet.  The two of them continued on to World's End to finish the day's hiking.

Footnote: In 1994, at that point in our hiking lives, we would have considered nine miles -- mainly flat -- to be a relatively routine hike. Just a month earlier, we'd hiked over ten miles of the LT with some very steep and lengthy climbs. For some reason, Aimee felt really tired, especially when we had to reclimb over the rocks at Porky Den about 7 1/2 miles into the hike. She attributed it to lack of sleep and to being tired from a variety of activities we'd done earlier in the week while entertaining Mike's Auntie Mary, who was visiting us from Chicago. Well, we didn't hike the LT any more that fall, but Aimee continued to feel tired and run down. Then she started to have some strange food aversions -- like throwing out a half gallon of cookies and cream ice cream she had just bought. Mike was pretty oblivious to the situation until Monday, December 5, when he returned from work in the afternoon and launched into a discussion of some lab experiments that had gone on that day. Aimee replied that she'd done a little experimentation of her own, and pulled out a pregnancy test kit indicating a positive response. Later, as we were counting Maria's mileage on the LT, we decided to consider this day as representing Maria's first hike on the LT to recognize Aimee's effort in carrying her the distance.

Sones Pond

Above: View from the south edge of Sones Pond off Loyalsock Road, near the parking area, October, 1994.

Below:  Mike and Maria pose at Sones Pond prior to their October, 2003 hike.

Mike and Maria at Sones Pond

Aimee at Mile 53

Aimee at mile marker 53, a little over a half mile after beginning our hike at Sones Pond on October 22, 1994. We didn't know it for another month and a half, but Aimee was about one week pregnant when this hike was made. Fortunately the terrain was relatively flat -- for the LT -- but we still hiked a total of nine miles considering the roundtrip and accessing the trail from where we parked.

Maria counts down the miles on the October, 2003 hike.

Below: Mile 53
Above right: Mile 52
Below right: Mile 51

Maria at mile 53
Maria at mile 52

Maria at mile 51
Maria near Porky Den
Maria poses in front of the rock formation just after descending over Porky Den, October 13, 2003.  We never saw any porcupines here on either of our two visits -- but the day following this photo, Maria and Dad saw one on another hike, near the Little Bear Creek ranger station at mile 4.81 .

Ann's Bridge sign A closeup of the typical LT coffee can lid sign marking a point of interest. This one indicated "Ann's Bridge" as shown in the next photo.

Ann's Bridge Do you see a bridge here? Quoting the LT trail guide, "The initial 'bridge' was a large old log which deteriorated and was replaced by a wooden bridge. This, however, rotted out. The Trail was moved several feet downstream where you merely step across a small stream. However, this spot will be known forever as 'Ann's Bridge'."

Mike signing register Mike posing with the trail register located near mile 50.45. We obeyed good trail etiquette by signing every register until we ran across one where the pen was dried out. After that, Aimee made sure to carry a spare pen in the backpack.
When we stopped at Alpine Falls on October 13, 2003, both Mike and Maria signed the trail register. This was the first time Maria signed the register in her own writing. 

Tom's Run near Alpine Falls Tom's Run as it begins to descend at the top of Alpine Falls, mile 50.45. A "Red X" trail marker for RX-9 is barely visible on the tree at the left side of the photo.  Since 2005, this has been replaced with a Blue trail designation.

Below: Look closely and see Maria sitting on a rock at the top of Alpine Falls, mile 50.45.  We stopped here for a lunch break on October 13, 2003.

Maria at Alpine Falls, mile 50.45
Maria near RX-9 at Alpine Falls
Above: Maria at Alpine Falls near the "X marks the spot" marker for the RX-9 side trail.  You can't miss the Red X in this picture!  But if you hike in this area today, you'll miss it because the Red X designation has been replaced by a blue trail.

Aimee at Mile 50 OK, this was Aimee's cliche photo after several miles of hiking every trip. But this time she had a legitimate excuse -- being pregnant -- as we reached mile marker 50 near the turnaround point of the 1994 hike, having completed about 4 miles by this time.

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