HIKE ALERT: Part of the hike described here includes a section of bushwhacking. For approximately 2.25 miles this hike does not follow a blazed trail with a worn foot path. At the time of this hike, this section was only marked with pink flagging tied to trees. Do not attempt this hike knowing these possible difficulties. If you do attempt to hike this entire loop please make sure to bring a print out of this map, a compass, and even better, a GPS with the track of this hike loaded on it. If this flagged trail becomes a blazed, maintained trail at some point in the future, this Hike Alert and hike description will be updated to indicate such.
Elevation Profile of Trail
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From the Ravenshorn on the Golden Eagle Trail, a large clearing can be seen on top of the mountain across Wolf Run. This clearing is called the Wolf Run Bald Vista and is accessed via the Bob Webber Trail. The Bob Webber Trail is an out-and-back hike of 3.5 miles. With trailhead access at the Ross Run Access parking area along route PA414, this is where Mike and I parked our car to hike the Bob Webber trail and see the views from the Wolf Run Bald Vista for ourselves.
The trailhead for the Golden Eagle Trail is located on route PA414. It can be reached, coming from the south, by taking route PA44 north at the intersection of US220 in Jersey Shore. Just past Waterville, you will take a right off of PA44 onto route PA414. Once you turn onto route PA414 set your odometer and drive for 9.2 miles. You will see a parking area on your left. This is the Ross Run Access parking area and the trailhead for the Bob Webber Trail. If coming from the north, once you enter the town of Slate Run, travel for an additional 4.8 miles and you will see the Ross Run Access parking area on your right.
Mike and I reached the trailhead at 10:15, about 45 minutes sooner than I was expecting. It was a bit cold out since the sun had just crested the mountain and was shining into the Pine Creek Valley. We quickly donned our hiking gear and headed across route PA414 to the trailhead proper for the Bob Webber Trail.
The trail was blazed in blue. My guess is that at some time in the near future this trail will be blazed to the DCNR standards. At that time my guess is that it will be blazed red. Shortly after starting out on the hike we came across a trail register about 300 feet from the trailhead. The trail also began to climb a bit at this point.
At 0.2 miles the trail emerged into a small, grassy clearing. As the trail made a left turn within the clearing it leveled off and became easier to hike. This was only a short break as we began climbing anew after a tenth of a mile at a double-blaze as the trail made a right to climb the side of the mountain.
Golden Eagle Trail
We were hiking what looked to be an old forest road. It was almost completely reabsorbed into the woods at this point in time, what with large trees growing in the middle of what use to be the road. We continued following this wide section of trail as it began a sweeping right turn around the north face of Pyramid Mountain about 0.7 miles into the hike. Shortly after the turn the wide trail disappeared and we were once again hiking on a single track.
At 1 mile we passed through a saddle between Pyramid Mountain to our right and the main mountain on our left. The climb became steep once again. Luckily the trail was well designed as we slabbed up the side of the mountain. We encountered a number of switchbacks as we made our way to the top. On one of these switchbacks, at approximately 1.3 miles there is a side trail that takes you to a vista called Twin Springs Rest. Mike and I checked this out and we did have a winter's view but thought we would be hard pressed to see much when the trees would be full of foliage.
Finally at a bit past 1.4 miles the trail levels off as it reached to top of the mountain. For the next quarter mile or so we had a nice level hike on a well maintained trail. At 1.75 miles we reached our destination: Wolf Run Bald Vista. The views from here were just as breathtaking as those from the Golden Eagle Trail or the Spruce Mountain Vista on the Black Forest Trail. We were able to look across the Wolf Run drainage and see where the Golden Eagle Trail was routed. We even got a different view of the Ravenshorn, seeing its profile in the distance. Mike and I spent some time here enjoying the view and snapping some pictures.
For those looking to hike the Bob Webber Trail, this is the end of the hike. You would turn around and retrace your steps back to your car at the trailhead. However, since it was still early in the day Mike and I started wondering if we could find some way to get to the Golden Eagle Trail. I thought I had heard plans of a connecting trail from the Bob Webber Trail to the Golden Eagle Trail, so Mike and I decided to do some exploring.
We hiked past the Wolf Run Bald Vista on an unmarked, but well worn trail for about 300 feet until the trail disappeared into a thicket of mountain laurel. We looked around to see if we could find a game trail that would lead us on but we didn't discover any. When we looked into the distance we saw a pink ribbon tied to a tree. We went to investigate and soon saw this pink flagging tied to multiple trees leading off into the distance. It seemed that we had discovered a new trail still in the exploratory stages as only the pink flagging marked its route.
Bushwhacking along the ridge top, Mike and I followed the pink flagging. There were a few times when we thought we lost the trail, but after a bit of searching we were able to once again pick it up. Sometimes the flagging will fall off the trees and be laying on the ground. Other times we just hiked in what we thought was the correct general direction and sooner or later we would spy additional pieces of pink ribbon.
It was about 3.3 miles into our hike, as we were following the pink flagging, that I noticed what seemed to be a worn trail. It was hard to discern at times, but it definitely looked like a trail of some sorts. And even more promising was the fact that the flagging was placed to follow this old trail. This was a relieve as the bushwhacking through the brush was getting a bit tiring. Now we had a trail with only a few obstacles such as large rocks and fallen trees that we had to deal with.
We continued following this flagged, old trail. Finally at 4 miles we emerged onto the orange-blazed Golden Eagle Trail. We were near the vista at the top of the Wolf Run drainage so we stopped here for a snack and enjoyed the view down Wolf Run. After a short break we headed west on the Golden Eagle Trail as we made our slow descent towards the head waters of Wolf Run.
For the next 2.7 miles Mike and I hiked the Golden Eagle Trail as it made its way along the banks of Wolf Run. There were a few stream crossings that we managed without any mishaps. There was ice along the stream in some places, one of which I managed to discover by accident as I slipped on the patch of ice and came close to taking a dip in the cold waters of Wolf Run.
At 6.7 miles into the hike we came to the point where the Golden Eagle Trail makes a right to climb up the mountain to the Ravenshorn Vista. We continued straight following the banks of Wolf Run. At 6.9 miles we emerged onto the rails-to-trails that run parallel to route PA414. We turned left here and followed the old railroad bed for an additional 0.9 miles of hiking until we arrived back at the trailhead and the end of this hike.
Mike and I enjoyed this hike quite a bit. It was fun discovering the new trail at the top of the mountain and bushwhacking through the mountain laurel and brush. The views from Wolf Run Bald Vista are truly amazing and well worth the steep climb on the Bob Webber Trail. I would recommend hiking the Bob Webber Trail to see these views but I would also suggest holding off on trying to hike over to the Golden Eagle Trail. Hopefully this flagged trail will become a blazed and maintained trail. That will give hikers the option for enjoying a circuit hike on the Golden Eagle and Bob Webber trails.blog comments powered by Disqus