If your family is looking for a quiet spring day trip in the woods, consider beautiful Loyalsock State Forest, north of Williamsport. The forest is separated into different sections in Lycoming, Sullivan and Bradford Counties.
To get to the Hillsgrove area of the forest, drive toward Williamsport on I-180, and then head northeast on state route 87. This picturesque highway winds 20 miles or so to Hillsgrove. Turn right on Dry Run Road. The entire trip is about 140 miles or 2.5 hours.
In the nearly 180 square miles of the Forest, you’ll find–
- remnants of old logging towns (much of the park was bought from a logging company in the 1930s)
- waterfalls like Dry Run Falls, Jacoby Run Falls, Angel Falls
- former Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) sites
- 200 miles of hiking trails, including the 59 mile-long Loyalsock Trail
- canoeing and rafting streams. The Loyalsock Creek boasts class III and IV rapids on the upper end and quieter water at the lower end.
- lookouts like High Knob Overlook, from which you can enjoy a view from 2,000 feet of the surrounding hills and valleys.
- fishing in the Loyalsock and Lycoming Creeks inviting trout fishermen during the season.
- Worlds End State Park, which offers hiking, camping, cabins, and fishing.
- Camping is allowed on hiking trails.
Summer is, of course, the busiest time of years for the forest with heavy hiking, camping, and fishing. So this time of year might be a perfect time to be alone with the family in the forest.
One of the biggest attractions to the forest is Dry Run Falls, a pretty 20-foot falls. One of the biggest advantages to this falls is that it can be seen from the car. The road leading to the falls parallels Dry Run, and the parking lot is adjacent to the stream.
Continue on that road to reach High Knob Overlook, on a short loop road. From there, visitors can spot Hillsgrove in the valley below, along with farms and the Hillsgrove Covered Bridge, built in the 1850s. At one time, there were 30 covered bridges in Sullivan County; today there are only three.
From this section of the forest, continue northeast into another section of the Loyalsock State Forest, where visitors can find what’s left of Masten, one old logging town. The town of Laquin, in Bradford County, once boasted a population of 2,000 and four logging companies and later became a CCC camp. Once the CCC left, Laquin became a ghost town.
Some of the dirt roads through the state forest have no winter maintenance, so be careful planning the visit. But that can be an advantage.
In spring, cars– and visitors– are scarce, and the park may be all yours.