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Big Pine Hill Loop Best of the AT in Pennsylvania
Hiking in Pennsylvania
Lackawanna State Forest


Pinchot Trail
System

 

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The Pinchot Trail is a 23 mile hiking trail loop in the Lackawanna State Forest of northeastern Pennsylvania. Backpackers and hikers will find this trail on the Pocono Plateau challenging, exciting and beautiful. It offers everything from a scenic overlook of expansive forests, a path sheltered by hemlocks next to a gurgling creek, to bog areas which contain some plants not common to Pennsylvania.

The trail is blazed in orange. Most hikers prefer to take two or more days exploring the trail. You can either camp overnight along the trail or use one of the connector trails to make short one-day hikes. With a paved road cutting through the center of the system, many day hikers do the north loop and the south loop on separate days.  Here is the Pinchot Trail Map (pdf) from the Pennsylvania DCNR.

Sign at one of the trailheads for the Pinchot Trail System

A very rocky section of the Pinchot Trail

Preview: The relatively easy Pinchot Trail (PT) is a great weekend hike, featuring diverse forest types, scenic streams, wetlands, and an excellent vista from Big Pine Hill. Although a loop, the PT nearly bisects itself, making it convenient to hike only the northern or southern section of the trail. The trail is rocky in sections and passes through thick stands of mountain laurel and rhododendron, making it a prime destination in late June and July, when these plants bloom. The PT is an ideal trail for the beginning backpacker.

The trail was named after Gifford Pinchot, the father of American forestry, who lived in Milford, Pennsylvania. The trailhead is located in a scenic pine grove with ample parking. Terrain: Typically level with gentle ascents and descents. Occasionally rocky. Trail conditions: Trail is established and blazed well. Several sections very brushy. Many small stream crossings without bridges. Trail is often wet, boggy, and muddy in sections that skirt wetlands and swamps. Highlights: Big Pine Hill Vista, diverse forests, wetlands, scenic streams, Choke and Painter Creeks, rhododendron and mountain laurel, and Spruce Swamp Natural Area.

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Best of the AT in Pennsylvania Big Pine Hill Loop
Pinchot North Loop Pinchot South Loop Pinchot Trail Map (pdf)

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