Route: Susquehannock Trail System Loop, Southern Gateway (PA)

Submitted by runwadm on Sat, 07/11/2020 - 06:32pm
Pennsylvania, US
85 mi
Vertical Gain
14319 ft

The Susquehannock Trail System (STS) is a remote long-distance loop trail in far north-central Pennsylvania that is maintained by Susquehannock Trail Club. The route largely follows old CCC fire trails, logging roads, and logging railroad grades. The trail is orange-blazed, with the “STS” emblem painted on trees at intervals. The STS is connected to Black Forest Trail via the North Link and South Link Trails (see separate entry below), and for 8.7 miles it shares a path with Donut Hole Trail. Along its lengthy route, the STS passes few signs of modern civilization and reaches into very remote state forest areas with a particular sense of quietude and seclusion.

The Northern Gateway, which provides access to the northern portion of the STS loop, is at the Bureau of Forestry headquarters building on US 6 about halfway between Sweden Valley and Walton. From the parking lot, an access trail leads a short distance to the main STS loop. Another access point for the northern portion of the loop is Lyman Run State Park, where a 1.5-mile access trail leads from the south end of the lake to the STS. The Southern Gateway is at Ole Bull State Park on PA 144, through which the trail passes.

GPS Track


This is an interesting trail. I ran and skied it years ago and now am back scouting it for an fkt attempt later this summer or fall. Or maybe it will be an okt (only known time):) 

Searching the internet I've found several accounts of backpacking trips, mostly 5 plus days, though Cam Baker did it in 2 and a half days. Don't think he tracked it though.

I'll be aiming for sub 50 hours, by going light and staying in motion as much as possible. If achieved the record would be marshmallow soft and hopefully will inspire others to get out and get after it!


Quite coincidental you commented on this trail this morning.  I just completed the self-supported FKT at 12:08am yesterday, 7/25.  I started in Hogback Hollow campsite at 5:10am on 7/23, and my total time was 1 day 18 hours 58 minutes (42:58).  I submitted my track yesterday so just waiting for approval.  It's my first FKT attempt, so hopefully I tracked it correctly.  The solitude was astounding.  I passed 2 tents set up at Hammersly Pool at 6:30am on 7/24 and only passed 1 other hiker the entire time.  Lots of deer, no bears this trip, 1 rattlesnake, 1 beaver.  many glowing eyes while night hiking on the final day.  If you have any questions about the trail, don't hesitate to reach out!

Congratulations Bob! Just saw this post and read your report. A coincidence for sure, but this is turning out to be fastpack summer.

I am curious about the frequency of available water? I plan to carry two 17 oz hand-helds and fill them from streams with a filter.

You/ve set the bar pretty high, it inspires me to train:)

Water was not an issue for me except for my last 10 miles, but that was my own fault.  to preface, I carry a 1L BeFree and a 1L Gatorade but rarely carry more than half a liter. I just pound a liter or two at water crossings making sure I'm aware of the next crossing.  I had stopped for water at Lyman Run right at sunset, filled a liter and drank that  and finished it as I hiked up the 600' climb.  I don't recall filling any water for at least 8 miles prior to that, maybe more.  I was rushing to finish and with the sun setting, for some reason I misread the map and thought the climb out of Lyman run was actually the climb to Cherry Springs fire tower.  Needless to say, I was quite confused when I reached W Branch road near Corbett in the dark, thinking it was Route 44.  I started to mildly panic because it was pitch black, 10'ish PM and I had no idea where I was or where the trail was.  I finally discovered it jogged West on W branch road for a few hundred yards but wasn't well marked.   I finally found the trail and in my haste, began to quickly ascend Cardiac Climb neglecting to fill water at W branch of Pine Creek.  I reached my car parked on 44 at 11pm and had only drank 1L in the past 16 miles or so. I knew the next water was 3 miles down into Hogback Hollow.  I had 2 liters in my car and decided to pound it to make the 700' descent tolerable.  Long story short, the only dry section is at the very North portion of the trail from the first time you cross Lyman Run to Hogback Hollow.  Fill up at each of those crossings.