CAMMAL - Want a short, but challenging and thoroughly rewarding hike just a short drive from anywhere in Central Pa.?
The Golden Eagle Trail (GET), a 9-plus-mile trek in the Tiadaghton State Forest, is considered the state's best day hike, however if you have just a few hours, you can take the short trip from the GET trailhead to the Raven's Horn for a three-plus-mile out and back with one of the state's best views.
We've detailed the entirety of the GET in recent years, and thought with the changing of seasons coming a description of the hike to Raven's Horn would be warranted, especially given the fact it can be traversed year round.
The trailhead is located just north of the tiny village of Cammal, along Route 414 in northwest Lycoming County. The trailhead also serves as a kayak/canoe access point for Pine Creek and provides easy access to the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
While short, the hike to the Raven's Horn is almost entirely up, and it's tough. The elevation gain is just over 1,000 feet and there are sections that are quite steep. Having done this trail in all seasons, winter is easily the toughest and while I've never had to use crampons in winter, extra care should be taken if considering a winter hike to the horn. Take crampons just in case things are a bit icy.
The Raven's Horn itself is a rocky outcropping facing east and looking over Wolf Run down to Pine Creek. Just a couple hundred feet from the primary vista is another outcropping that provides a vista looking more north and east. It, too, is a stunning vista.
The view from the Raven's Horn can leave you awed, and even weak kneed. The horn's primary rock outcropping itself rests just off the ridgeline with nothing but a straight drop into the forest leading up from Wolf Run.
From the outcropping, you can look due east and see the ridgeline that leads to the Wolf Run Bald, the terminus of the Bob Webber Trail. Look hard and you can see the bench that sits in the clearing. Looking just a bit south, you see the small vista which looks up at the Raven's Horn from the Webber trail, and glancing further south you see, and hear, Pine Creek.
This entire section consists of large, rocky outcroppings, all of which provide an additional challenge while hiking. The Raven's Horn itself is the only spot with such a wide-ranging vista, though. Plenty of opportunities for climbing and photography exist, however the trail itself continues toward Wolf Run by these outcroppings before hitting switchbacks that take you to the water source.
From the Raven's Horn, you ascend the spine of the ridge, then begin the descent back toward Bonnell Run. The descent is steep in spots and presents a different challenge for your legs, already burning from the challenging ascent.
Plenty of people take advantage of the relatively short out and back versus taking on the challenge of the entire GET. Depending on the time of year, an early morning visit can feature low-lying fog over the Wolf Run and Pine Creek, leaving the sensation of walking above the clouds.
No matter the time of year, though, the two vistas provide plentiful reward for the effort it takes to reach the Raven's Horn.