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West Rim Trail, PA Backpacking Trip

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During the weekend of July 3-5, 1998 Frank Maida and I hiked the 30-mile West Rim Trail between Blackwell and Ansonia, PA. We carpooled up from DC the afternoon of July 2 since I had to work that day. We camped out that night at
Southern terminus of the West Rim Trail near Blackwell, PA

At right, the southern terminous of the West Rim Trail near Blackwell, PA.   By Mike Calabrese

the River Front Campground in Duncannon, PA. The AT goes right past this campground as it lines up to cross the Susquehanna River over US Route 322. The campground was fairly rustic, moderately priced and somewhat noisy, but afforded a good night's stay. The morning of the 3rd we started out early and got to Ansonia, PA around 10ish. We were going to be shuttled to the southern trailhead by a local outfitter. There was another couple (whose names escape me) and an individual named Kelly being shuttled with us. We all became good hiking companions.

The first day we did about 11 miles and camped by a spring. It was tough
Southern terminus of the West Rim Trail near Blackwell, PA

At left, Pine Creek and the Grand Canyon of PA.
By Mike Calabrese

getting up on top of the ridges surrounding the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. But once on top, the elevation changes weren't bad. The views of the gorge below were fantastic! We could see canoeists and white water rafters on Pine

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Not far from here is another fantastic backpacking trip that I did: The Old Loggers Path

Creek 15-1800 feet below us. We also saw bicyclists trudging along the east side of the canyon.

The second day we did a swift paced 15 miles. We left the rim for a short
Frank M and Kelly at one of the many overlooks

At right, Frank M and Kelly at one of the many overlooks.
By Mike Calabrese

stint to get around private property, went through the Bradley Whales picnic area and camped atop a mountain for the night. It rained lightly during the day Saturday and then again during the night. Hey, it's rained on every backpacking trip that I have been on this year. I'm used to it! We then met 2 guys with 3 dogs from northern VA who joined us for the night. The dogs were very well behaved any were very friendly!

The next day we did the final 5 miles. We skirted around Colton Point State Park, descended from the ridge and met our vehicles. This was a nice hike.

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Animals spotted during the hike included lizards, a flock of Wild Turkey and deer.
Northern terminus of the West Rim Trail near Ansonia, PA

At left, the northern terminus near Ansonia, PA (30 miles later) of the West Rim trail.  By Mike Calabrese

I would recommend the West Rim Trail for the experienced backpacker that wants to do something a bit longer. Please note that starting January 1, 1999, you will have to get a free permit to camp more than 1 night in the Tioga State Forest, where this trail is located. These permits are available from Pine Creek Outfitters in Ansonia, PA or the Tioga State Forest Ranger Station south of Wellsboro, PA. The shuttle service is nice, though you can park a car at each end if possible. If you do park your cars at the northern and southern trailheads, sprinkle some mothballs under your car to keep the porcupines away. They like to chew on radiator hoses. This trail can be hiked over a 3 day weekend, but the 5-6 hour drive from the DC area may make the trip a little rushed. Take a week so that you can leisurely drive up and back and enjoy the beauty of north central Pennsylvania.

Mike C

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