The Bear Run Waterfall Loop at Tioga State Forest, and at the edge of Colton Point State Park, near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania is a moderate 0.7-mile loop hike that follows the Bear Run Creek to several waterfalls between 4 and 10-feet tall.
This is mostly a bushwhack that leads out to three main waterfalls (and one seasonal cascade) along Bear Run, so for those who do not like hiking without following a trail, this hike may not be for you.
The hike begins along the West Rim Trail, at the Colton Point State Park sign, just outside of the state park boundaries in Tioga State Forest. Hikers will follow the West Rim Trail for no more than 200-feet from the road before they should notice an old log-slide "trail" that meanders its way to the right-hand side of the West Rim Trail. This old log-slide runs between Bear Run Creek and the West Rim Trail. If you cannot find the old log-slide, then the easiest way to find the waterfalls is to follow the creek itself -- this is exactly what the GPS track does in the first half of this trek.
By following the creek itself, hikers cannot miss the waterfall; however, depending on the time of year, you may end up getting your feet wet. If you hike this after mid-June, the creek should be dry enough to hike across without any issues.
Reaching Bear Run Falls
About 0.3-miles into following Bear Run Creek, hikers will reach the two waterfalls. The Upper Bear Run Falls is between 8 and 10-feet tall and approximately 10-feet wide. The Lower Bear Run Falls is about 5-feet tall at best and is much skinnier when the water level is low - approximately, 5-feet wide at best. Just beyond the lower falls is a seasonal cascade that spills down into Bear Run during the Spring. And just beyond that is another 7-foot tall free-falling waterfall.
Hike Back - Old-Growth Hemlock Grove
The hike back to parking is a bit tricky. Just upstream from the waterfall, hikers should note a slight switchback grade that heads up the hillside. Follow this old log-slide trail and then take a sharp left-hand turn to head through the mountain laurel. Hikers should be able to spot the log-slide that runs adjacent to the creek, just uphill. Along the way is a beautiful old-growth hemlock forest, located directly on this old logging grade. Follow this old log-slide until you reach what feels like a dead-end. At this point, take a right-hand turn and hike for about 15-feet to reach the West Rim Trail once again. Follow the WRT out to the parking lot to complete the hike.
Hikers will find a small parking area at the coordinates provided. This parking area is large enough to fit 2 or 3 cars.
Dogs are allowed if leashed.
This trail has no blazes other than along the WRT. Bring a map and/or download this GPX file before you head out if you do not feel comfortable navigating the woods without a digital map.
Rattlesnakes: While rare, the Timber Rattlesnake lives in this area and tends to come down to creeks to cool down or hunt between the end of April through the end of September. Watch your step and give any rattlesnake you see some space.
Bushwhack: This hike is off-trail and requires map-reading skills.