Backpack the West Rim Trail

Pennsylvania Northern Terminus

Added by Shawn Grenninger

Backpack the western edge of Pine Creek Gorge and take in the many scenic vistas along the way on this 2-3 day hike.

Hiking north to south, the trailhead is just off of Colton Road at a gravel parking lot with bathrooms. The trail is marked with orange blazes and has the largest elevation gain at the beginning and then has relatively moderate elevation change throughout the remainder of the hike.

At 2.6 miles the trail intersects with Barbour Rock Trail and the first of many vistas. The trail will then traverse around Colton Point State Park and away from the canyon rim, but will come back to the gorge at about the 9 mile mark.

Bradley Wales Picnic area is a rough midway point where there are pit toilets and water. The southern trailhead is at Rattlesnake Rocks access 2 miles south of the village of Blackwell. Use Pine Creek Outfittes for shuttle service if needed. Permits are not needed unless camping at the same spot more than one night.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Pack
  • Tent/Hammock
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Water purification system
  • Food/snacks
  • West Rim Trail Guide
  • Camera
  • Guide book and Map (can be ordered from Pine Creek Outfitters)
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



30.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

5648 Feet




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How to Get There

10 days ago


Hiked it south to north (more challenging terrain to easier/more scenic) . A lot of the water sources were dry in mid-October including some that were marked as year round on the topo they sell at PCO so fill up whenever it's available. Beautiful fall colors and views.

10 days ago

Added by Shawn Grenninger

Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania exploring the beautiful outdoors by foot and kayak and spending the nights under the stars. I'm typically planning my next adventure before the current one ends and of course enjoy a good beer in the process.

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