This is not so much a “hike”, as an exploration. A ridge, several hundred yards long, made of giant glacial rocks, with numerous cracks, crevices, and caves. Perfect for careful exploration. This rock formation is located on Forestry Road 179, near Sheffield. Watch the video for a preview of this area. The last few minutes of the video is a walk through a natural tunnel in the rocks.
DANGER: There are steep cliffs!!! A fall from one of these rocks would cause severe injuries and possibly death! The caves/ crevices could be home to wild animals, from opossums to raccoons to foxes to bears. Most wild animals are dangerous when cornered.
This 11.1 mile trail is located approximately one half mile north of Hearts Content Recreation Area along SR2002 (the Hearts Content Road), 15 miles southwest of Warren, PA. the and forms a loop through the Hickory Creek Wilderness.
SPECIAL NOTICE TO HICKORY CREEK WILDERNESS TRAIL HIKERS
This trail is marked infrequently with faded yellow blazes. In keeping with Wilderness values, they will be allowed to fade further over time and will not be replaced. This may make the trail difficult to follow, especially when fallen leaves or snow make the established tread more difficult to see.
All trail maintenance is done to protect the Wilderness character of the area, not for the convenience of the visitors to this place. This means that obstructions on the trail will not be removed unless not doing so would cause irreversible environmental damage. This may make the trail even more difficult to follow. It is suggested that all hikers have and know how to use a map and compass or GPS device when hiking in Hickory Creek Wilderness.
The 11.1 mile Hickory Creek trail provides a unique opportunity for those who seek a Wilderness trail challenge not available elsewhere in this region of the country. If a Wilderness maintenance standard is not the type of hiking experience you seek, we encourage you to explore any of the nearly 200 miles of well-marked developed hiking trails available throughout the Allegheny National Forest.
Finding the trail: The new trailhead parking lot is located approximately one half mile north of Hearts Content Recreation Area along SR2002 (the Hearts Content Road), 15 miles southwest of Warren, PA. US 6 and Township Road T3005 meet in the middle of Warren at the Hickory Street Bridge. TR 3005 begins here, crossing the Allegheny River toward Warren General Hospital (bear left away from the hospital after you cross the bridge). Follow TR 3005 about 11 miles to its junction with a marked township road which leads to Hearts Content Recreation Area (four miles).
Hiking the trail: Watch the informational signs. This trail offers challenges to a wide range of skill levels as it traverses the rolling terrain within the Hickory Creek Wilderness. From Hearts Content Recreation Area, the trail heads westward along the top of the plateau between East Hickory and Middle Hickory Creeks. Once the trail reaches Jacks Run, it loops back eastward and climbs in and out of several small valleys along the way.
Fishing for small native brookies can be done in East and Middle Hickory Creeks. Enjoy the wildlife viewing as you hike. The vegetation found in the Hickory Creek Wilderness supports wildlife typically associated with older trees and decaying vegetation. Groves of hemlock may be found along the lower half of East Hickory Creek. Middle Hickory Creek flows through meadows studded with bogs and beaver ponds. Large white pine are scattered in open areas. The most significant evidence of human intrusion that still remains are several old railroad grades used in early logging efforts.
Camp overnight as you enjoy the Hickory Creek Wilderness, or make a long day trip through the wilderness.
Regulations: The trail currently blazed infrequently with yellow paint on tree blazes, but is in the process of being changed to unpainted tree blazes in order to be more compatible with a wilderness designation. Normal wilderness regulations apply, including no motorized vehicles or equipment use of any kind. Forest trail policy prohibits the use if a saddle, pack or draft animal on hiking trails.
This 10.5 kilometer (6.4 mile) trail utilizes old railroad grades, roads and existing trails to form several loops for your skiing pleasure. Of significance is the old growth forest of hemlock, beech and white pine in the Hearts Content National Scenic Area – enjoy the solitude and grandeur of these ancient trees.
Finding the area: The trailhead parking lot is located at the picnic area of the Hearts Content Recreation Area 15 miles southwest of Warren, PA. To reach Hearts Content Recreation Area, take the Warren to Tidioute road from Warren or Tidioute to the junction of the Hearts Content Road. Follow this road four miles to the Hearts Content Recreation Area. From Sheffield, take the Austin Hill (Bull Hill) Road to the Hearts Content Road. Total distance is approximately 15 miles.
Regulations: This trail is for hiking, skiing and mountain biking. Motorized vehicles, ATVs and snowmobiles, are not allowed on any of the trails. Forest trails policy prohibits the use of a saddle, pack or draft animals on hiking or cross county ski trails. If you are hunting in the area, please make sure you are outside the campground boundary. All dogs must be on leashes when using the trail.
Skiing the area: Watch the informational signs. This trail area offers challenges to the beginning skier. The more experienced skier will find these trails offer an easy afternoon. All three loops are rated as suitable for beginners.
The Hearts Content Loop offers a scenic tour through the grandiose old stands of beech, hemlock and white pine. Toms’ Run Loop offers a gradual rise in elevation as it climbs the plateau along Tom’s Run. At the headwaters of Tom’s Run, the trail crosses the plateau and joins with the Ironwood Loop. This loop offers another opportunity for beginning skiers to experience the Hearts Content Cross-Country Ski Area, park at Dunham Siding on the Hearts Content Road instead of parking at Hearts Content Recreation Area. The Ironwood Loop receives less use than the other two trails and for that reason offers a little more solitude.