I was asked to lead a hike for the 2017 Prowl the Sproul hiking event, sponsored by the Keystone Trails Association. I was assigned to a hike along the Chuck Keiper Trail (CKT) down Drake Hollow, which I had hiked many years ago. I remembered it being a scenic place, so I was excited to return. This was a shuttle hike, and since we were starting at the top, it would be mostly a downhill walk to the car along PA 144.
About seven people joined me on this hike, some were from the local area, others were from near where I live in Northeast PA. They were a great group of people and after enjoying the vista over the Fish Dam Wild Area, we began the hike on the orange blazed CKT, which is a rugged 50 mile double loop trail. We only did a section of this trail, this hike was about 6 miles long.
The trail explored scenic forests with lowbush blueberry and northern hardwoods. We walked a road and took a side trip to Big Rocks, which featured large boulders, cliffs, and even a cave. Everyone enjoyed the huge rocks. A yellow trail explored the maze of rocks, but we did not hike all of this trail, instead retracing our steps to the CKT.
The CKT eventually left the road as we hiked through laurel before the trail descended into Drake Hollow. The terrain was a little rocky as we entered the glen along a dry stream. The stream soon appeared along mossy rocks and clear pools. A sidestream joined, with a small, trickling falls above us. I was worried about stinging nettle, but it wasn’t too bad. The CKT followed an obvious grade down this beautiful glen with towering hardwoods as shafts of sunlight lit the ground.
I was told of a waterfall on Drake Hollow and to look for a side trail. I found the side trail, on the left if descending, and it dropped down to the creek, ending at a beautiful hidden grotto and a seven foot falls. For some reason, this spot really impressed me with its beauty. Springs spilled from the bedrock and everything was green and mossy. If hiking Drake Hollow, be sure to include the falls.
The trail leveled and crossed the creek a few times. We had lunch under hemlocks as everyone enjoyed the scenery. Our hike continued as we passed some campsites before the CKT turned right along the base of the mountain on a new route put in a few years ago to avoid the old route, which was a roadwalk along PA 144.
I enjoyed this “new” route as it wound in and out of two glens that had seasonal streams and cascades. One glen had a distinct cool breeze flowing down it, like natural air conditioning, something we relished on a warm day. The CKT dropped down to PA 144 where the other car was parked.
This was a great hike with waterfalls, glens, streams, and beautiful forests. I encourage everyone to explore more of the CKT, and Drake Hollow in particular. You can see these beautiful places on guided hikes during the Prowl the Sproul hiking events, held each July.
Map of the CKT’s east loop, with Drake Hollow on the left.