“The northernmost outpost of the PA Wilds; deepwoods-feel, between lakeside parks.”
— Peter Fleszar
Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views
No camping except at developed fee sites at Hills Creek State Park and Ives Run Recreation Area at Hammond Lake. Part of the south end private land is closed Oct-Jan for hunting season. Orange hat or vest required in SGL 37, Nov 15-Dec 15, and good idea Oct-Jan and Apr-May.
At US 6, milepost 228.5, the sign says "Hiker Parking Except Sunday" in the River of Life Church parking lot. Parallel a branch of North Elk Run upstream on private land to a gravel Orebed Road.
Circle around to the right in high water or hunting season (Oct-Jan). Otherwise, turn left then right into an active cattle pasture (often muddy) then along boardwalk through shrubby wetland to some fields. From here, you'll have a pretty view at an overlook.
From there, descend along a hedgerow to Hills Creek then enter Hills Creek State Park. Pass the dam, and continue along the west side of a lake that gets even prettier the further you go. Turn away from the lake, climb a moraine, then pass the campers access road to a short gravel road to State Game Land 37.
Climb a spur ridge into the high plateau, descending to cross the remote headwaters of Stephenhouse Run. Continue to climb out a remote headwater, eventually to MST's highest point and the highest in northern PA. It hosts views extending over Mansfield into Bradford County, enjoy!
From here, wind through a maze of old logging roads, eventually descending Ives Run from the headwaters to the Corps of Engineers campground. Walk beside the campers access road over Crooked Creek at the head of Hammond Lake to a railroad underpass, then climb briefly through an old farm (look for the old corn crib that escaped the bulldozer) to step over a guardrail to PA Route 287 (no parking).