Backpack Pennsylvanias "Grand Canyon"; the Black Forest Trail: 25 miles, 3 days

Named the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" by Backpacker Magazine, and "The Dolly Sods of Pennsylvania" by Mid-Atlantic Hikes, the Black Forest Trail is considered by many to be the best hike in Pennsylvania.  Named for the forests cloaked in darkness by the huge hemlock trees that used to comprise the countryside, the Black Forest Trail offers a variety of hiking environments that I have always wanted to explore.

Although the entire Black Forest Trail is a 42-mile loop with ~8500' elevation gain, we are only hiking a portion of the loop so that we can have a more leisurely hike and spend more time taking in the views.  

I haven't firmed up the exact route just yet, as a few parts of the trail can be difficult to ford in high water.  Here are two options from Mid-Atlantic Hikes,  giving you an idea of the topography; the BFT North and the BFT South.  I will post the exact trailhead and route in the next week or so, but leaning towards the northern route, which is slightly longer than the southern, with about 3000' elevation gain. The trailhead for the northern route is here.

Regardless of the final route, we will hike about 6 miles Friday, ~11miles Saturday, and ~8 Sunday; so a moderate trip for most backpackers. 

Expect a lot of water crossings , unreliable streams (may have to load up on water a couple of miles before a campsite), and low temps in the 20's.  Other possibilities include bear or rattlesnake encounters, depending on the weather. 

Backpackers attending this meetup need to have experience carrying a loaded pack up a hill with 1000' elevation gain over one mile, and be able to easily hike 6-10 miles in a day. This is not a beginner's trip, so please don't RSVP if you do not meet these physical requirements or do not have gear (i.e. a backpack, sleeping bag and pad, tent, stove).

MANDATORY ITEMS:

*Backpack

*Sleeping system and shelter

*Food for 3 days, and stove to cook with

*Water filtration with a room for 4 liters

*Clothing comfortable to 20*

*Rain Gear

*Topography maps of trails

*Water shoes for possible knee-high ford

*Lastly, Please bring a postive attitude and a decent sense of humor, since I am happy to organize and lead this trip, but this will be my first time on this trail, too!

By RSVP'ing you agree to the terms of the liability waiver of DCB.

 

**Update 3/18:  We will do the Southern Route as described above, with the trailhead here .

 

 

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  • Amy

    Hi everyone! Hope you sufficiently recovered from our bumps and bruises. I finished writing this trip summary for my blog. Hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if I made a glaring omission. For the sake of your privacy I didn't use last names. Feel free to share on Facebook or with friends and family (at the bottom of the post is a "share" button for FB, google+ and the like). http://demeters-dish.blogspot.c...­

    Once again, thanks for the fabulous time!!

    April 7

  • Randy

    Amy - you got us over, under, through and around all manner of obstacles, while avoiding major mishap. You should be known from now on as "the Queen of Plan B".

    2 · March 31

    • Hua D.

      Should Amy get a trail name "Plan B"..??

      March 31

  • Amy

    Ted and Becky summed it up! Because of the ice and treacherous trail conditions, "Plan B" was the theme of the weekend. Thankfully we had a flexible and safety-conscious group that worked amazingly well together. Thanks so much Craig, Becky, and Ted for your support and fun times on the trail and in the car. Mike, you and your brother are hands down the most amazing firestarters ever. Randy; you are a great sport and a nice trail companion; hopefully you will spend some more time backpacking on the East Coast with the group! We will definitely be able to talk about this one around the campfire for years to come! I can't wait to return to this area and explore some more...

    1 · March 31

  • Ted "Uphill" D.

    What a great adventure! I think we went with plan B about 8 times, but that kept the adventure fun for everyone. Lessons learned, friendships strengthened. I'm looking forward to seeing ya in the woods again soon.

    March 30

  • Becky R.

    Five stars for Amy and Weekend Plan B! This trip had it all: Thrills, chills, and spills, along with awesome hemlocks and stellar teamwork. Thanks to our fearless leader and the fire crew. :-)

    1 · March 30

  • Larke W.

    You are hard core folks. Good luck tomorrow, and come home safely. :)

    3 · March 27

    • Amy

      Larke, don't you listen to a thing that crazy boy says! We will miss you this weekend!

      March 27

    • craig l.

      Of course we will. Sheez. Cant even have a little fun around here.

      2 · March 27

  • Amy

    Looking forward to this weekend! There are some conflicting weather forecasts regarding precipitation, but they all pretty much agree on the temps. High of mid to high 40's during the days, 30 at night. Some wind on Friday. Please make sure your rain gear is up to snuff, and you have waterproof hiking shoes. Also you must have dry, warm clothes to change into at night.

    1 · March 27

    • Amy

      fortunately hammockers don't have to worry about a soggy tent :-)

      1 · March 27

    • Ted "Uphill" D.

      Amen to that!

      1 · March 27

  • Alan F.

    I was just required to work Friday, Sat and Most of sunday, I will have to exclude myself... I look forward to attempting this again SOON

    March 27

  • Iru

    Sorry guys but seeing the forecast with cold and rain I think I will bail too. I was waiting to see if weather would get better but it doesn't look like it.

    March 27

  • Michael Portell J.

    Someone decided I needed to attend a meeting at work on Friday morning, so I will be out there on Friday, just a little later in the afternoon hopefully before it gets too dark when I make it to the campsite. I am ready for a wet and muddy hike, lol!

    1 · March 26

    • Amy

      Michael, were you planning on starting at the trailhead and hiking the seven miles to camp? Otherwise you could park near slate run and hike into camp it will only be a couple miles

      March 27

    • Michael Portell J.

      I will see when i get closer, if its still plenty of light ill do the hike down. If not ill drive into slate run and hike to the site.

      1 · March 27

  • Sandy M.

    Unfortunately I cannot take off work on Friday so will not be able to go on the trip. Hope you all have a fabulous time!

    1 · March 27

  • Ted "Uphill" D.

    It'll be a soggy one. Make sure you've waterproofed your gear appropriately.

    1 · March 26

    • Ted "Uphill" D.

      The intent wasn't to scare folks away. Honest.

      March 26

    • Amy

      Don't worry, Ted. It wasn't you, just the weather!

      March 27

  • Larke W.

    too soggy for me!

    March 26

  • Hua D.

    OK, sorry guys. I surrender to the raining weather. Have FUN, and see you all next time.

    1 · March 26

  • Lynette

    All, sadly I will not be able to make the trip due to work. :( I've been away for almost a week in OR and have come back to some pressing work that will prevent me from taking Friday off. Enjoy! Take some good pictures for me! :)

    1 · March 25

  • Amy

    I am off Thursday and thinking of heading up that morning and camping a mile or so up slate run and doing a day hike up the Lemon Squeezer and some great views after setting up camp. We would have to pack up and drive to the start Friday morning. If anyone wants to join me, I have room for a few riders.

    March 9

    • Amy

      Becky, Craig will have to correct me if I'm wrong, but I think its the one at the very end of i-70. If so it is not too hard to find each other, as it is long and narrow

      1 · March 25

    • craig l.

      You are correct Amy. Its a very open parking lot and I dont think I've ever seen it more than half full so it shouldn't be a problem finding each other.

      1 · March 26

  • Ted "Uphill" D.

    Driving from NW DC/Silver Spring. My passengers backed out, so I've got 2 open seats. Planning to leave no later than 7. Anybody still need a ride?

    March 22

    • Ted "Uphill" D.

      It's about a 4.5 hour drive from NW dc, so I was planning on leaving by 7a to meet at the trail head at noon. Will this still work for you Lynette?

      March 23

    • Lynette

      Hi Ted, Sorry I haven't got back to you. I have been away in Oregon for the last week with spotty cell reception and was waiting until I got back to respond. I am still trying to work out my schedule to see what works best and will get back to you later today.

      March 25

  • Randy

    The link above "with the trailhead here" is not working for me. Is the trailhead the one described in MidAtlantic hikes - just past the Trout Run Road sign on Rt 44?

    March 23

    • Amy

      I think I fixed it; it works for me now

      March 24

  • Larke W.

    Has anyone checked the weather lately? There rain is in forecast, but I am not sure if it is the right area.
    http://forecast.weather.gov/Map...­

    March 24

    • Amy

      I use NOAA forecast for Slate Run. Calling for 50% chance friday and 40% Saturday

      March 24

  • Iru

    Hi Ted, if there is still place in your car I would be happy to join you. I thought you were leaving early morning, but now not so sure after seeing Lynette's comment, 7 am or 7 pm? I can do both. Thanks a lot.

    March 23

    • Ted "Uphill" D.

      Leaving by 7a. You're welcome to join. There's parking at my place, or the Takoma metro is just around the corner. I can pick you up from the metro.

      March 23

    • Iru

      Thanks a lot Ted, if you don't mind metro would be perfect. Say before 7 a there?

      1 · March 23

  • Amy

    keep your fingers crossed, we may have a spring trip instead of a winter one. the current long range forecast is for upper 40's during the day and 30 at night. There is a chance of rain Friday and Saturday.

    1 · March 21

  • Larke W.

    Anyone up for carpooling from DC /metro area? I will contribute gas money and yummy snacks.

    March 5

    • Iru

      Hi I just managed to get a spot on this trip, I could join any of the cars that leave from the metro accesible area, I am happy to contribute with gas money. Thanks a lot!

      March 21

    • Iru

      I live in AdMo as I see some people are in Dupont

      March 21

  • Ted "Uphill" D.

    Do we have a verdict? North or south trail?

    March 20

    • Amy

      I wanted you to live up to your trail name, so the soutern route for us, Ted! I sent a group email a couple days ago. Hopefully everyone received it. The meeting spot was updated in the event listing for the new trailhead.

      1 · March 20

  • Becky R.

    Hi Amy! I think I've read through everything, but am still trying to figure out where we're meeting at 12:00 on Friday. I tried the trailhead link posted above, but it didn't work for me. :-)

    March 18

    • Becky R.

      Maybe I found it in the directions for Black Forest Trail South: Are we parking at[masked], [masked]? Thanks, Amy!

      March 18

    • Amy

      Yep, Becky, that's the trail head! if anyone has problems linking to the map, you can also navigate via the mid-atlantic hike trail description. Just click on "Custom Google Directions."

      March 19

  • Hua D.

    Hi, Amy, any alternative?? I have to work on Friday, and arrive Pine Hill around 4:30pm, then hike 6 miles to reach the camp site. Please let me know. Thanks..

    March 17

    • Amy

      Hua, not sure what you mean by alternative; we will be camping a short hike up Naval Run if you want to park at this trailhead https://goo.gl/maps/pX...­ and hike in to meet us. There are 3 campsites in the area. We can shuttle you to your car Sunday.

      March 18

    • Hua D.

      Thanks Amy. Will see you at the campsite on Friday evening.

      1 · March 18

  • craig l.

    Wow! This turned into quite the popular trip it seems. #blameamy

    1 · March 11

    • Chris S.

      Agreed. Two groups or a repeat?

      March 11

    • Amy

      I don't know about the size of the campsites so I'm not willing to increase the size of the group... Guess we will have to repeat!!

      March 18

  • Lynette

    Is anyone planning on carpooling from the Centreville Park & Ride on Friday that I can catch a ride with? Will share with gas $ of course.

    March 18

  • Lynette

    @Larke/Lori/Iru- Would either of you like to share a tent (& weight) with me?

    March 18

    • Larke W.

      I am happy to share a tent Lynette! :)

      March 18

    • Lynette

      Thanks, Larke. It's a plan then. :)

      March 18

  • Amy

    Considering the wet weather, I am concerned about high water crossings on Slate Run, so let's do the Southern Route described above. The trailhead is https://goo.gl/maps/UjJDK­ . I will also send this out by email and update the hike.

    1 · March 18

  • Rachid

    Is it safe to make an online payment since the site got hacked,

    March 4

    • Ali

      The "hack" was a DDoS and not a data leak. Payments are taken by a thirtd party (Amazon) so that information doesn't even go through Meetup ref: http://meetupblog.mee...­

      March 5

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm interested in joining, I would, however, need a ride.. and someone to share a stove with (of course I'll drink the grey water as payment..)
    I'm up here for an internship, and I'll go crazy if I can't get into the mountains some.
    Let me know if you're looking to split some gas, and even making food together (no dietary restrictions)!

    March 4

    • Amy

      Michael, I have a spare Jetboil that you can use.

      March 4

  • Sandy M.

    Hi Amy, I am trying to register for the trip but Meetup is not accepting payments currently. I'll keep trying but don't want to lose my spot.

    March 2

    • Amy

      Keep trying! I think Meetup is having a problem; Hua can't semm to register either. Becky said it took multiple attempts.

      March 4

  • Alan F.

    I'm interested in this hike, but not sure if I can handle a 10 miler as my first overnighter of the season. What kind of pace will this be!

    February 28

    • Amy

      Alan, my hikes tend to have a "stop to smell the roses" pace ;-) we walk about 2.5 mph, give or take

      March 1

  • Ted "Uphill" D.

    Pre-MAHHA!

    1 · February 28

    • Amy

      WooHoo!! :-)

      March 1

7 went

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