PA WILDS Yost Run Loop: Day Hiking Along the Chuck Keiper Trail

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Yost Run Falls

The Yost Run section of the Chuck Keiper Trail in Sproul State forest is an unforgettable trail for moderate to well-experienced hikers. This trail is located along Route 144 between the remote towns of Snowshoe and Renovo, PA. Yost Run’s headwaters begin on this plateau and lead downstream until dumping into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.  Yost Run is listed as Exceptional Quality by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and is a magnificent Pennsylvania mountain stream. Many hikers park at the main trailhead and walk downhill to the falls (pictured above) and then turn back to their cars. But how many hikers are aware of the 7-mile long Yost Run Loop, which includes a steep 1,200ft descent with a mellow 1,200 climb back to the parking area?

The main parking area for this loop is called “Bloom Draft parking area,” which is roughly 18 miles north of the Snowshoe exit on Route 80, just alongside Route 144. Unfortunately, the free CKT maps, last produced in 2015 by PA DCNR, fail to indicate this popular, signed parking lot. Hikers may want to pick up the Chuck Keiper Trail Guidebook before embarking on this adventure. From this parking lot, hikers need to road walk roughly ¼ mile to the Eddy Lick Trail, which is a dirt, double track road to the left (west). Follow this dirt, double track for about a mile. Along the way, enjoy the blueberries, hunting camps, animal tracks, and mountain laurel.

Soon, hikers will reach a trail junction with the orange blazed Chuck Keiper Trail. Follow the orange blazes towards the left, and immediately begin to descend towards Yost Run. The descent is steep, narrow, and overgrown at times. Ecologists, naturalists, and geologists will appreciate the surrounding ecosystem and rock formations. Always keep a lookout for bear, ticks, rattlesnakes, and other wildlife anywhere in Sproul State Forest!

Black Bear Along The Chuck Keiper Trail

Yost Run appears about 3 miles into the hike. There is one popular campsite here, and a few other less popular sites in the surrounding area. These sites are great places to take a lunch break, or to set up camp for the evening! As always, please practice Leave No Trace ethics in Sproul State Forest.

The climb upstream along Yost Run is generally more gentle and forgiving than the descent from earlier in the hike. For the most part, the orange blazed Chuck Keiper Trail ascends on the left side of the stream. At times, the hiker might spot orange blazes on the opposite side of Yost Run; this was an older route that follows close to the stream (but can be very wet during high water seasons). After some time, keep an eye out for beautiful cascades across the waterway as water from Frenchman’s Hollow and Kyler Fork spill into Yost Run.

Eventually, this trail leads directly past Yost Run falls. Be sure to appreciate these natural falls! Shortly after these falls, the Chuck Keiper Trail turns left onto a double track road that eventually leads back to Bloom Draft Parking Area. Multiple hunting camps are passed along this loop; please be sure to always respect private property.

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