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Old 10-16-2020, 10:59 PM   #1
Tomcat
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Black Forest Trail PA

Last week I hit the Black Forest Trail as an overnighter. The hike was much easier than the hype on how difficult the trail is. I wasn't sure if I could do it as an overnight trip with the short days but I covered 27 miles on the first day- the miles really just flew by especially on the plateau. There are lots of views and the foliage was decent. Much of the first wave of color blew off the trees with heavy winds but still plenty of color. Water was scary low. Many of the smaller streams were dry.

I have the full TR with lots of photos at my website at the link below.
http://www.tomcatsadventures.com/202...est-trail.html









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Old 10-17-2020, 06:00 AM   #2
hikingandwildex
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A lot of people tend to overrate the difficulty of trails in the Mid-Atlantic states, I've noticed. This trail in West Virginia is another one that was much easier than I expected it to be based on the reviews online. I also wasn't surprised that one of the only people who thought otherwise (and wrote "Relatively easy trail compared to other trails labeled as hard on All Trails") primarily hikes in the Adirondacks.

Nice photos! Will check out the entire post when I have some more time since I'd like to hike more of the Black Forest Trail in the future. Only got around to Hemlock Mountain so far, which was breathtaking from the overlook spots...

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Old 10-30-2020, 07:13 PM   #3
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I think the BFT is often rated as hard because it's being compared to other trails in the region. Most people hiking it are at least somewhat local, so it makes sense to compare it to the West Rim Trail or Quehanna Trail instead of something from the High Peaks or Colorado.
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Old 03-12-2021, 11:24 AM   #4
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Yeah, the BFT isn't easy by any measure- it's definitely up there in terms of physical challenge when compared to all other backpacking trails in PA, which tend to be at least a little bit easier. But when you compare it to something like the ADK High Peaks, for example, it becomes clear that the spectrum of trail difficulty can and does range much further into the "challenging" end of things than what the BFT can provide.
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Old 03-12-2021, 06:42 PM   #5
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For those who have done a fair amount of hiking in Pennsylvania, what would you say are some of the toughest hikes in that state? So far, I've only come across a few that gave me a decent workout:

- Jack's Mountain, which someone on Summitpost wrote has the most elevation gain in the state. While I can't verify that, both approaches (1,000 Steps and the SST from Route 655) were fairly steep by PA standards.

- Tuscarora ("Big") Mountain from Cowan's Gap in the initial section before it flattens out. Also, the spur trail from Tuscarora to Hogback Mountain felt a lot longer than it was.

- Hyner View's trail that goes down roughly 1,000 feet in a mile before heading back up. This one lived up to its name, the "Hyner View Challenge Trail."

- Gillespie Point on the Mid-State Trail. Not the longest hike in the world by any means, but one that gets increasingly steeper before reaching the ridge.

- Blue Knob, the state's second-highest peak, has some ski trails with slopes that will give you a big mountain feel if you hike there when the ski resort isn't operating.

Some people say the Minister Creek and Rimrock Overlook trails in ANF are challenging, but I didn't find them to be all that bad personally.
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Old 03-13-2021, 10:05 AM   #6
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Black Forest Trail is still up there for sure if you're traversing longer distances each day. Same with the Susquehannock Trail System- that has a number of ~1,000 foot ascents and descents and if you're trying to hike the trail quickly you've got a fair amount of elevation gain/descent every day.

When I did the STS I did it in 4.5 days- ~5 miles the first half day and then ~20 miles per day for each of the days after that. That was definitely a workout- I lost several pounds of body weight by the end of it.

The Chuck Keiper and Allegheny Front Trails both also have some decent climbs but I would not rate them as physically challenging overall as the BFT or even the STS.
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