Hiking the Angel Falls Trail in Loyalsock State Forest

Across a river, up a steep unpaved road, then through a series of switchbacks lies the trailhead for Angel Falls Trail, which follows a portion of the Loyalsock Trail. The trail follows a creek that splits and joins itself again a few times before turning right up the mountain.

Ogdonia Creek.

The name is a bit of a misnomer – apparently the falls only fall during periods of recent rain. Turns out, December isn’t the best time for viewing waterfalls, but the weather can’t be beat.

The Way Up

The trail crosses over Ogdonia Creek a few times. The creek doesn’t get quite thin enough to step over, but some careful footwork and a jump or two does the job just as well.

One of the areas Angel Falls Trail crosses Ogdonia Creek.
That log is not stable footing.

After fording the creek twice, the trail takes a sharp turn up the mountain. The sound of the creek falls behind, replaced by wind rustling through the bare trees. The path goes right up the mountain for a short distance, then follows what looks like an old access road, usable by ATVs and the like. It’s clear the access road is no longer used, since only the portion that follows Angel Falls Trail is actively maintained. A few trees have fallen, notably before and after the trail meets and breaks with the access road.

A peaceful image of one of the flatter portions of Angel Falls Trail.
You could take a motorized vehicle through this part. Don’t, though.

After about a quarter mile, the trail breaks from the access road and winds its way up the mountain. It’s a somewhat more challenging hike here, with shifting rocks and signs of erosion throughout the trail.

Where Angel Falls Trail heads up the mountain again.
Follow where the log points: it’s rocky but fun!

In other seasons, it’s likely easier – all the fallen leaves made things a bit trickier than it needed to be.

The last leg of the trail was pretty much straight up the side of the mountain. It narrows down to about a foot or two wide, so I didn’t stop for photos for fear of losing my footing. The summit is just past the most difficult part of the trail (isn’t that how it always is?), but well worth the sense of achievement.

The top of the mountain Angel Falls Trail goes up.
The Summit: here be dragons?

Loyalsock Trail continues on through the pine grove and down the other side of the mountain for a total length around fifty miles, but Angel Falls Trail is only about three miles long. Having finished the Angel Falls Trail, I turned around and headed back down the mountain.

Photos From The Way Back

The very narrow portion of Angel Falls Trail.
Where the trail narrows. Can you see the edges?
A tree has fallen over Angel Falls Trail.
The only downed tree not yet cleaned up. We’ve had some high winds the last few weeks. It made a great bench to take a rest on.
Angel Falls Trail running through a pine grove.
Another pine grove, with trail blazes off to the right.
Ogdonia Creek
The waters of Ogdonia Creek.
Ogdonia Creek with a wide-angle lens
I’ve been enjoying my new wide-angle lens capabilities.

Inside the valley, I saw some excellent examples of a fascinating phenomenon: needle ice! Needle ice forms when the air is below freezing but the ground isn’t quite yet, and the ground has a water supply readily available. The water on the surface freezes, gets replaced by water from the water supply, and slowly raises itself into these tiny little ice columns.

Needle ice
Needle ice.
One of the places where the Angel Falls Trail crosses over Ogdonia Creek.
A hop, skip, and a few jumps and you’re back on the trail.

If you enjoyed this article, check out another hike of the Roaring Creek. If you’re into abandoned places and spaces, check out The Abandoned Turnpike or Centralia, the infamous forever-burning ghost town.

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  1. Kym Helwig

    Tyler, this is really good writing and beautiful photography. Thank you for sharing: I really enjoy these articles!

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