Past Meetup

Backpacking The Pinchot Trail, South Loop - 2 Days/1 Night - 14 Miles

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The Pinchot Trail is a 23 mile loop-type footpath in the Lackawanna State Forest. (We will be doing the south half of the loop) Backpack campers 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 Pinchot Trail is located in the heart of the 27,345 acre Lakawana State Forest. It is named after Gifford Pinchot (Pronounced Pin`-cho. French, for whatever reason, do not use the consonants at the end of names.). He was the first Chief of the United States Forest Service and the 28th governor of PA. He coined the phrase “conservation ethic” as it applies to man’s use of natural resources.

The trail is a collection of 15 named trail, one un-named trail and parts of Tannery Road. The main route described here is blazed orange with connectors blazed yellow. At times the trail follows perfectly straight routes as it follows (sometimes old) forest boundaries and then meanders a bit mostly to avoid swamps. The hiker will experience Blueberry bogs, swamps and areas of forest that had been “thin cut” as well as a more healthy hardwood forest with thick understory of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron.

Red Spruce, Hemlock and white and silver Birch provide an interesting contrast to the surroundings. Choke Creek at the southern end of the circuit is this hiker’s favorite section. The valley widens out at some points and nearly becomes a gorge at other points. Elevation changes are very slight but the trail can be extremely rocky and/or wet in spots. Good boots are a must! The entire circuit is described here but the hike can be shortened as needed. Many prefer to do a North and South loop on different days.

Distance: 15 Miles over two days

Elevation Gain: 750 feet

Trail Difficulty: Moderate - Trail has little elevation gain but can get rocky and wet/icy.

Link To Trail Map:

Gear Requirements:

This is a winter trip, ensure you have proper gear. Contact me with questions.

You are required to bring everything you need for a 1 night trip including but not limited to: Tent, sleeping bag, food (and a way to prepare it if necessary), water, proper clothing and a pack to fit it all in. You do not want to carry anything in hand during hike. Always bring rain gear. It's summer and storms come in fast. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask me.


Participation in activities is strictly voluntary and group members assume all risks in connection with activities; per's Terms of Service Agreements, organizers and hike/trip leaders are released from any and all forms of liability related to events. You are responsible for bringing the proper gear including maps, and knowing your way in and out of the areas we operate in.

Directions to Trailhead:

Link to Google Map:

To reach the Pinchot Trail, take Exit 178 off I-81, and follow PA 315 through Dupont (away from the airport). After 1.1 miles, turn left at the traffic light onto Suscon Road and continue for 12.2 miles. The trailhead is on the left side of the highway, about 1 mile east of the county line.