Most visitors to Trough Creek State Park, head across the suspension bridge to the Rainbow Falls and Balanced Rock. Instead of retracing your steps back to the parking area, this hike connects a few trails into a longer loop, providing opportunities to leave the more crowded sections of trail behind.
From the Rainbow Falls/Suspension Bridge/Balanced Rock trailhead, head down the switchbacking stone staircases to the suspension bridge across Great Trough Creek. On the other side, head upstream toward Rainbow Falls before continuing up more switchbacks to a short out-and-back section to the Balanced Rock.
On the return, stay right onto the Abbot Run Trail
to connect to the south with the Ledges Trail
for a short, fairly steep climb up the nose of one of the slopes above the creek. Around the 0.65-mile mark, head left (east) onto the Copperas Rock Trail
, which descends to Trough Creek Drive. Some trail section aren't marked or blazed so keep an eye on the Hiking Project mobile app
for easier navigation.
Back at the road, turn left (north) to follow the road a few hundred yards looking for the parking area, restroom, and entrance to the Laurel Run Trail
to the right, heading north. For visitors looking to shorten this hike, continue to follow the road back to the starting trailhead.
The Laurel Run Trail
starts uphill gradually, quickly crossing into Rothrock State Forest, following the Laurel Run for much of its length. Just over the 2.5-mile mark, you'll reach the northernmost point of this hike and a couple of creek crossings before a quick climb toward Terrace Mountain Road. This road can be taken as another alternative return option to the Boulder Trail
Continuing on this hike, head across the road staying on the Laurel Run Trail
to reach the high point of the hike. After a slow descent, head left onto the Boulder Trail
to begin a steeper descent across Terrace Mountain Road again, back to the starting point.