Water sources you do not need to filter:
Water from streams: Filtering, boiling, or some kind of purification recommended.
There are substantial beaver lodges and dams at the lower end of Hogback Hollow (around mile 16-17) and along Osborne Branch (mile 43). Beaver can carry giardia. I would suggest not getting water from Bolich Run or Osborne Branch, even though water is very accessible at those places, unless you boil that water or have a very good filtering or purification system. There is also a big beaver lodge and dam in the Splash Dam area (mile 81), but you wouldn't use that anyway -- too hard a scramble down a big bank to get there.
Some have drunk water from streams in our state forest without filtering or purifying it in any way, but that is against "best practices" for safety. Everyone is responsible for his or her own decisions. However, as you can see, there is lots of accessible water on the STS.
Email email@example.com and request a Hammersley trails hiking map. It will be sent to you free; "your tax dollars at work."
(FD = Forest District. The Susquehannock State Forest is FD 15.)
If you want to start looking at something sooner, google "Susquehannock State Forest Maps." Under "Hiking Trails," click on Hammersley Wild Area Hiking Trails. You can download and print the map if you want to.
The post office will hold packages for hikers as will the three businesses in town.
In late March and into April, expect the following:
1. Re-supply. Well, the STS is very much a wilderness trail. There are no general stores or Dollar Stores or convenience stores (also no gas stations) anywhere near!. The trail stays almost exclusively in Susquehannock State Forest. The only opportunity to purchase anything would be in Cross Fork, where you can get ice cream, drinks, and snacks at Kinneys Store, a tiny place for fishermen and folks who have camps in the area. There's also a restaurant across the road there, and people who time it right for lunch or supper rave about the Bubba Burger and perhaps some cold beer.
Other than that -- you pass through Ole Bull State Park. The park office people are friendly, and I'm sure they would hold things for you to pick up at mile 26.5, but that's early in the hike (end of day 2, maybe) unless you decide to go counterclockwise instead of clockwise around the loop.
You can send things to the post office in Cross Fork, but their hours are very limited -- maybe only open about 3 hours a day. I could find out about the hours they are open if you are interested in that option. Cross Fork is at mile 49, so it's a better half-way point.
2. Reservations are not needed for shelters. Most of the time hikers see no one else on the trail. Even if there are other hikers out there, people start at different times and probably 80-90% go clockwise, the way the guidebooks are written, so you could easily have multiple individuals and groups on the trail at the same time, but they don't run into each other unless there's the rare 20-mile-a-day man out there passing people!
Horses are not allowed on the STS, which is a hiker-only footpath.
However, the Susquehannock State Forest has some great equestrian trails.
Request free ("your tax dollars at work") maps
Email Forest District 15: firstname.lastname@example.org
Request the maps for horse trails and equestrians.
Also request the Susquehannock State Forest map.
All red-blazed trails can be used by horses, but not all of them are really suited for horses.
However, if you use the trails in the Dyer Road area -- on the map specifically for equestrians -- you will find great trails for horses, and excellent camping areas with posts and rails for tying the horses when you are not riding.
They have signage and are blazed -- mostly red blazes, for "multi-use." DCNR made the cross trails available for horses or bikes, although I am not aware of any equestrians or mountain bikers ever using the EFT or WBT. (There are yellow blazes at the ends if the cross-trail trail dead-ends on the STS, so as not to have bikes or horses end up on the STS with no road at the connecting end.)
Every season has advantages and disadvantages.
Overall, I probably like September best for backpacking, but always - "A bad day in the woods is better than the best day at the office!"
Northern gateway, behind forestry office on Rt. 6: Big parking lot but fourth-tenth mile access trail to the STS
Ole Bull State Park: The trail passes right through the parking area.
Cross Fork: Parking area by the forestry maintenance building behind old firehouse below Deb's Restaurant
- Restrooms available at all of the above.
- All are very safe. No one has ever had a problem (with animals or vandals) that we have heard of.
There are other very fine places to park for day hikes: Lyman Run Rd., Cherry Springs Fire Tower, Shephard Rd., the Williams Farm on East Fork Rd., Patterson Park, Sunken Branch Rd., or even the gas company installation near the McConnell Rd. STS crossing.
No permits needed ever, anytime, anywhere.
Yep -- any time, any where, no problem. Just be polite and remove feces from trail. Burying it somewhere off trail is fine.
We recommend the Susquehannock Lodge as the best place to stay. You can google it for info. It is on Route 6 only about two miles east of the forestry office and northern gateway to the trail. The owners are long-time members of our trail club, and their business caters to hikers and cross-country skiers. They have a good plan available with breakfasts in the morning and evening meals back at the lodge after your days' hikes, if you desire.
The majority of hikers will complete the entire circuit without seeing a single rattler. When we do get reports of snakes it is always in the southern portion of the trail, in the hotter months of the year. Rattlesnakes like to make their homes in rocky outcroppings, and are often spotted basking in sunny, open areas. Snake bites in Potter County are extremely rare, so if you do come across a rattlesnake don't panic! Just be grateful for the opportunity to observe this elusive and intriguing animal.
The Susquehannock Trail Club loves to hear from hikers who complete the whole 84 mile loop, whether its in a single thru hike or any combination of shorter hikes. All you have to do is create a written log of your adventure, with pictures if possible, and submit to the club's Circuit Hiker Committee for approval. See our Circuit Hiker Award page for more information.
Also note that the club now accepts logs in either hard-copy or PDF format!