Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Beltzville State Park

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Sarah and I decided to check out a new state park on Saturday: Beltzville State Park. We chose to do a hike in the hiking book she got me for Christmas, “Great Hikes in the Poconos and Northeast Pennsylvania.” In this case, the book strings together several trails to make about a five-mile hike. Here’s the map, with photos:


View Larger Map

The hike started easy, on a wide, fairly flat trail. There was some snow on the ground, but not enough to warrant snowshoes. However, things were pretty slick as the snow had a layer of ice on it. We really could’ve used some crampons on our shoes. I got a little worried when the trail dropped down a ravine. It was especially slick there, and I wondered if five miles on ice was going to work out. Once in the ravine we reached a beautiful creek. We were mostly surrounded by Hemlock and other evergreen trees, and the scenery involved a surprising amount of greenery.

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Grass and leaves, trapped under a layer of ice

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Creek

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The trail skirts the creek on the left

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Another view of the creek

It was a slick climb back out of the ravine. However, once we reached the top, things weren’t quite as icy, for the most part.

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Rob, having a blast

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Sarah

We hiked across a clearing, and saw some black bear tracks, the first of many sets we’d see on this hike, and some smaller tracks. In the winter, you can really tell what kinds of animals have been there.

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Small animal tracks — not sure exactly what these are

The trail went down a good hill and we found ourselves at Wild Creek, a bigger creek that we crossed on a bridge.

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Wild Creek

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Bridge

We had to climb some rocks, which proved difficult due to the snow and ice. But we took our time and made it without incident. Our efforts paid off with some excellent views of a lovely waterfall. Some ice clinging to rocks added to the mystique of the waterfall.

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Sarah, climbing some rocks

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Waterfall

Next, we went downhill, crossed a creek, and made a climb up to a ridgetop. We followed the ridge for some time, with more views of Wild Creek below us.

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Sarah and Rob, climbing

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Trail and sky

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My shadow

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Wild Creek

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Sarah and Rob

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Another view of the creek

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Sarah

As you can see, the scenery was amazing. It was absolutely lovely following the ridgetop and seeing a hearing the creek rushing beneath us.

The trail turned around and headed back, this time from further in on the ridge. There were no creek views during this section, but it took on a character all its own. The trees were so dense they formed a tunnel, and once again there were many evergreens. We also saw some wild turkey tracks, smaller tracks from some other bird, and more bear tracks. There must be quite a few bears living in this area, because we saw lots of bear tracks. They are cool to see, but they also make me nervous. As much as I’d like to see a bear, an encounter could be unpleasant.

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Wild turkey tracks

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The trees nearly formed a tunnel

Eventually the trail dumped us out and we followed a small creek back to the big bridge from before. The sun was getting low in the sky, and we took a different path back to the trailhead, passing more bear tracks along the way. We also passed a gorgeous field with grasses in various shades of brown, red, orange, and yellow. In the late afternoon light, it was quite a sight.

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Sarah

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Crossing the bridge again

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Creek

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Approaching the field

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Field

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Sarah and Rob

Bear print
Black bear track, next to my size 11 hiking boot print, for scale (of course, the bear print was probably enlarged as snow melted — I doubt it was quite that big initially)

Before long, we were back at the car. We stopped at an overlook on our way home at the other end of the park. It was interesting, but the dam was the major feature. Still, it was quite beautiful.

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Part of the view

Beltzville State Park Panorama
Panoramic view

This was a terrific hike — lots of gorgeous and varied scenery, and we only saw three other people our whole time out there. At the end of the day, I’d spent nearly four hours in the woods with my wife, and our dog. It doesn’t get much better than that.

3 Responses to “Beltzville State Park”

  1. Marty Says:

    Great pictures of the park – I’ve heard good things about that park as a birding destination, so maybe you can show me around for spring migration!

  2. furiousBall Says:

    love that shot of Sarah making her way through the snowy woods towards you

  3. Ear to the Breeze » Blog Archive » More hiking at Beltzville State Park Says:

    […] State Park. We have hiked there a couple of times before, and even did this same exact hike back in January. It’s one of our favorite places to hike in this area because the scenery is great, and there […]

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