Hike the Bear Run Nature Reserve Loop

Rate this Adventure Pennsylvania Bear Run Nature Center

  • Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    8 Miles

Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Hike through the woods to Paradise Overlook, which provides a great view of the Youghiogheny River Gorge!

Bear Run Nature Reserve features a number of trail loops that range from 1.7 miles in length to 11.9 miles.  By hiking overlapping trails, you can complete an 8 mile hike that passes by Paradise Overlook, which provides great views of the Youghiogheny River Gorge.  Start at the trailhead, which is located at the end of the Bear Run Nature Center parking lot.  Make sure you pick up a map at the trailhead before starting out on the Blue Loop, which goes left and upwards from the start.  You will pass three intersections with other trails.  Stay left at each one, following the blue markers.  After the third intersection you will pass two campsites, which are great spots to rest and enjoy a snack.  At about 2.5 miles you will reach an intersection with the Black Loop.  At this point, turn left onto the Black Loop and leave the blue trail behind.  The Black Loop is the most difficult rated trail in the park and at times it's a struggle to find the trail, so be sure to pay attention to the trail markers.  At about 3.5 miles the trail crosses over Route 381.  The next section of the trail follows alongside Laurel Run.  At about 5 miles, the trail begins to climb gradually.  As you climb, the river gorge is on your right, and though you can't see the Youghiogheny River you can hear it.  At about 6.5 miles a small side trail on the right leads to a rocky overlook.  With leaves on the trees it's hard to see the river, but you'll notice a train track below you.  Back on the main trail, at about 7 miles you'll see a sign pointing to Paradise Overlook on the right.  There are benches at this outlook, and it provides a great view of the river gorge.  Back on the main trail, at about 7.5 miles the trail meets up with a gravel road.  Turn right and follow this past a few maintenance buildings until you reach Route 381 again.  Cross the road and walk back to the parking lot.  

Pack List

* Hiking shoes or boots * Water * Trail map (available at the trailhead) * Insect repellent * Camera * Weather appropriate outerwear

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