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Donut Hole Trail

The Donut Hole Trail (DHT) is a long-distance backpacking trail, traversing 81 miles in the Sproul State Forest, paralleling the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. It is one of the most remote and challenging of the state’s backpacking trails and is for seasoned hikers only, with numerous steep climbs and unbridged stream crossings. Bridges were recently constructed or replaced over Cooks Run, Drury Run, Seven Mile Run, and Paddy Run. Extensive relocations have been made in the Bull Run, Seven Mile, and Merrimam Hollow areas, eliminating many stream crossings. The biggest remaining challenge of the orange-blazed DHT is a deep-water ford of the very wide Kettle Creek that should not be attempted during high water. A yellow-blazed side trail provides a lengthy detour around this crossing.

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Another July weekend brings about another Prowl The Sproul. This annual event is held by the Keystone Trails Association, Western Clinton Sportsmans Club, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. For this weekend of hiking I felt like a challenge and signed up for a long distance shuttle hike on the the Tee-Square Trail and the Donut Hole Trail. At a little over 12 miles in length, and quite a bit of elevation gain, this was to be the hardest day hike that I've done so far.


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During the weekend of July 20th to July 22nd, 2007, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Keystone Trails Association and PA Parks & Forests Foundation sponsored the 4th annual Prowl the Sproul Hiking Weekend. The weekend was dedicated to hiking and eating, with a pancake breakfast and picnic supper on Saturday. Guided hikes of different lengths and difficulties were available from 2 miles to 15 miles with easy, family-friendly strolls and boot-buster climbs. The event took place on the grounds of the Western Clinton Sportsmen's Association. I managed to participate on one of the guided hikes on Saturday. The hike was a circuit hike called the Kettle Creek Loop Trail. The trail shared a section with the Donut Hole Trail. The Donut Hole Trail traverses most of Clinton County, beginning in the town of Sinnemahoing and ending in the town of Farrandsville, just north of Lock Haven.