Loyalsock Trail / Red 2X Loop

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 41.37000°N / 76.842°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike (Class 1-2)
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk - up
Sign the Climber's Log


Follow the directions in the "Getting There" section of the main page.

Route Description

This route gets on the popular Loyalsock Trail at the Forest Headquarters and heads east. Follow the signs for Smiths Knob. The route starts off with a steep climb up the southwest ridge of Smiths Knob. You'll head steeply up through some thick stands of maple and ash with laurel everywhere. You get some nice views through the trees of the surrounding ridges. After about a half mile you'll the trail starts to level out, but still climbing you'll reach the first viewpoint known as "Helens Window." I'm not sure how it got its name, but you are greeted with a fine vista looking north along the Loyalsock Creek with the north rim directly across from you.

From here continue on the flat, plateaued upper third of the mountain. From here it is like any other ridge hike until you can finally see your destination coming into view. Directly to your east rising above the ridge is the summit cone of Smiths Knob. This is where it gets quite steep again. Climb steeply up the class 2 trail (class 3 in snow/ice conditions) to the summit ridge. Once you reach the summit, another nice view reveals itself to the south looking towards other summits of the Endless Mountains.

From here, continue along the narrow summit ridge and you'll descend a little bit coming to the best vantage point on Smiths Knob. The view is from the top of the cliffs on the mountain's very steep and narrow east ridge. You can peer over 1,200 feet down to the Loyalsock Creek below you. PA 87 appears straight as an arrow. There is also a fair weather camping spot located just west of the overlook. It was extremely windy up there though, so you'd have to have good weather.

Now it is time for the descent of the east ridge. This is not bad with no snow, but with snow/ice, it can be treacherous, so be careful. To your left is a straight drop off over the cliffs hundreds of feet down. on the descent you'll switchback once passing by some very interesting rock formations that allow some opportunity for bouldering.

Continue on down where you'll get another view point of the Loyalsock Creek from the saddle of the mountain on the east side. A little farther beyond this you'll intersect the Red 2X trail. This trail is easy to follow as it is blazed by two red x's the entire way. You'll get to see some very pretty natural ponds along the way while heading through some thick laurel. You'll also get to see the scars of lumbering as the trail heads right through a clear cutting zone which is a little difficult to follow at points so watch where you're going. The trail eventually meets back up with the Loyalsock Trail below the summit cone that you climbed on your ascent. From here, follow the trail you came up past Helens Window. The round trip distance is about 5.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,300 feet.

Essential Gear

Comfortable hiking shoes, trekking poles, food/water, snowshoes in winter weather, and a camera.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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