Hickory Run State Park

Hickory Run State Park, Pennsylvania (11/30/2012)
The famous Boulder Field of Pennsylvania has been on my list of hikes to do for several years now. The field is a geographic marvel, the only thing of its sort east of the Mississippi according to sources. But a couple of years ago the Boulder Field trail was closed for reasons I can't quite remember, some sort of wildlife activity (birds or mammals). Not wanting to take the easy and less exciting route (driving to the boulder parking lot and walking 10 feet to get to the boulders), I put the hike on the back burner. I wanted to approach it as an early explorer may have stumbled upon it: i.e., not via a Chevy Explorer.

A recent visit to the park website indicated no closed trails at all, so we took the day off today and drove over 90 minutes to get to the trailhead on Route 534. What we didn't expect was the amount of snow still on the trail. We wouldn't have minded much except that the boulder field was also completely covered with snow, making any attempt at exploration very dangerous. We did stray a bit into the field, but only very slowly and carefully. We never did make it to the other side where the informational kiosks apparently stand. No cars seemed to be parked at the lot on the other side, and there wasn't another soul in the entire field. After poking around for a bit we headed back and decided to do a quick visit to Hawk Falls on the southern side of Route 534.

For the boulder field we followed Hike #17 ("Hickory Run Boulder Field") in Hiking the Poconos: A Guide to the Area's Best Hiking Adventures (1st edition), though no description is really needed since it's a simple 3.4 miles in and 3.4 miles back the same way, all on the yellow trail. The next hike in the book, Hike #18 ("Hawk Falls"), incorporates a visit to Hawk Falls into a 3.1-mile loop, but we only had time to walk to falls and back.

Total distance was nearly 8 miles in 4 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Trail head parking

Climbing the steps

Crossing through ...

... a frozen meadow

Views south

Into the forest



Faded yellow blaze

Blood from deer kill


Rhododendron thicket

Stage Trail view east

Stage Trail view west

Mountain Laurel thicket

[Photo by Laura]

Lovely snowy trail

Evergreens ...

... abound north ...

... of the Stage Trail


Snow resembled ...

... sprinkled powdered sugar

Tall evergreens

Boulder field

Totally ...

... covered ...

... in snow

Natural depression called a "relief"

See the cairn?

Zoom to kiosks on other side

More cairns

Dan straying [photo by Laura]

View across to the north

View east


Back to trail

Sandy damage



Mountain Laura with Mountain Laurel


Very old growth

[Photo by Laura]


Very young growth

Thin saplings



Deer fur

Boulder trail head

View across meadow

Parking on both sides

Descending steps

Crossing Route 534

Hawk Falls trail head

Steep drop to left

More rhododendron

Interesting ...

... rock formation

Bridge over Hawk Run

Hawk Run

View south from bridge

Hawk Run

[Photo by Laura]

Graffiti tree!

Descending to ...

... Hawk Falls

View from top of falls

View upstream from falls

Someone placed fresh flowers


View from the top

PA Parkway bridge

Rhododendron bud

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
Web design by Dan Balogh