The Haystacks, a Loyalsock Trail landmark.
|Length||59.2 mi (95.3 km)|
|Location||Lycoming / Sullivan counties, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Trailheads||West: Pennsylvania Route 87, 10 mi (16 km) north of Montoursville
East: Meade Road, 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from U.S. Route 220, just north of Laporte
|Highest point||2,140 ft (650 m)|
|Lowest point||665 ft (203 m)|
|Season||Spring to Fall|
|Hazards||Severe Weather, Poison ivy, Bears|
The western terminus of the trail is on Pennsylvania Route 87, 10 miles (16 km) north of Montoursville and 9 mi (14 km) north of I-180. The eastern terminus of the trail is on Meade Road, 0.2 mi (0 km) from U.S. Route 220, north of Laporte.
Most of the trail is on Pennsylvania State Forest lands, in the Loyalsock State Forest. Prior to the state forest reorganization on July 1, 2005 the trail ran through the eastern Tiadaghton State Forest in Lycoming County and the Wyoming State Forest in Sullivan County.
The trail was first laid out in 1951 by Troop 10 of the Explorer Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America from Williamsport. The original trail was 30.4 miles (48.9 km) long. In 1953, the Alpine Club of Williamsport was formed to maintain the trail, and still does so today. The Alpine Club's Guide to the Loyalsock Trail has seen 19 editions and was last revised in 2015. The trail reached its present length by 1962, although sections of the trail have been moved five times since, along with many changes in and relocations of side and link trails.
The trail is named for the Loyalsock Creek, whose name comes from the Native American name Lawi-saquick or "middle creek", as it is between Lycoming Creek and Muncy Creek. A section of the trail follows part of the Towanda path, a Native American trail. Other portions follow old abandoned logging roads and railroad grades. These are left over from the 19th and early 20th century when the lumber industry cut down almost all the trees in the area.
The trail is blazed using red metal disks with the yellow letters "LT" painted in the center. An abrupt direction change is marked with double blazes. In addition to the metal disks (which are can lids), 2 by 6 in (5 by 15 cm) painted yellow rectangles with a 1 in (2.5 cm) horizontal red stripe are also used as blazes. A yellow arrow in the proper direction is used to mark turns.
Previously, blazes were a red disc with a yellow "LT". They have been replaced by a yellow disc bearing a red "LT". Be cautious at intersections with "Red X" trails, which are blazed with yellow discs bearing a red "X".
The three kinds of side trails are:
- "Red X" trails, which are bypasses or alternate routes and both begin and end on the main Loyalsock Trail. These are blazed with a yellow metal disk with a large red "X" on it.
- "White" trails, which are unmaintained and blazed with white metal discs (with solid color, no other mark).
- "Blue" trails, which either lead to the Loyalsock trail or to "Red X" trails or interesting sites, and are blazed with blue metal disks. Numbers on the disks identify "Blue" trails leading to the Loyalsock Trail or "Red X" trails.
Side trails are described in the guide available from the Alpine Club.
- The Alpine Club of Williamsport and Loyalsock Trail Official Website
- Pennsylvania DCNR's Loyalsock Trail Page
- Jeff Mitchell, Backpacking Pennsylvania: 37 Great Hikes, Stackpole Books, 2004, ISBN 0-8117-3180-4
- Keystone Trails Association Page on the Loyalsock Trail
- A mile by mile description of hiking thetrail, with photos by Mike, Aimee, & Maria