Visiting Panther Hollow Falls
Before spending an afternoon parked in front of the television watching the AFC/NFC championship games, I decided to get in a few hours of hiking in the Sproul State Forest in northern Centre County Sunday morning. My intended destination was Panther Hollow Falls, located a few hollows downstream from Yost Run Falls along the Chuck Keiper Trail.
My hike started out at the Chuck Keiper Trailhead parking area, just off of Route 144, approx. 10 miles north of the village of Moshannon. I've given detailed directions to this parking area before which you can read about HERE if you are unfamiliar with it.
I made it down the snowy camp access road (past the Bloom and Brown camps) with relative ease, then made a right onto the much-narrower portion of the trail. I was happy to have my microspikes on as the footing along this portion of the hike was significantly more icy. Nevertheless, I made it to Yost Run Falls about 10 minutes after passing the Brown Camp.
As I had been here just a week earlier under similar conditions, I only shot a few frames at Yost Run Falls.
After finishing up at Yost Run Falls, I continued down the trail about 200 yards to where the Kyler Fork Trail comes in from the left and meets up with the Chuck Keiper Trail. The trail sign is on the far side of Yost Run, but plainly visible from the Chuck Keiper Trail, as are Kyler Fork Falls themselves.
I rock-hopped over Yost Run (there is no footbridge) onto the Kyler Fork Trail and made the short jaunt up the hill to Kyler Fork Falls. Again, having just been there a week earlier, I only shot a few frames.
Crossing back over Yost Run, I headed down the Chuck Keiper Trail on virgin snow, the only footprints belonging to a lone coyote. This part of the trail is just gorgeous in all seasons as it winds through the laurel and hemlocks, but it is quite narrow, portions are very steep, and it should not be attempted in the winter without microspikes/crampons.
After 30 minutes or so of carefully picking my way along the path, I came to Panther Hollow. I was happy to see a moderate amount of water flowing across the Chuck Keiper Trail and made my way upstream about 75 yards to where I knew Panther Hollow Falls to be.
Panther Hollow Falls GPS Coordinates: 41.182094, -77.903958
Panther Hollow Falls is a modest 6-footer, more impressive after a heavy rain or during the spring thaw with ample snow melt fueling it. During the summer months it can be dry as a bone. On Sunday it was flowing nicely but certainly not at peak. The ice formations around it made up for the lack of flow, however, and using my imagination I could pick out some "ice shrimp", eagle's talons, and even the creature from Aliens.
After spending 40 minutes or so at Panther Hollow Falls, I back-tracked my way to the trail head and home to State College, in time to see the Seahawks pull off one of the more improbable comebacks I've ever witnessed in an NFL playoff game. A good Sunday for sure.
Until next time, happy hiking!