“This trail in the Pickett State Park, undulates through & by rock houses, waterfalls and overlooks.”
— Charles Pulse
Cave · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Cumberland Sandwort is being revived in many places on this trail. Caution should be observed so that this delicate plant can continue to grow, the trail goes right beside the edge of many bluffs where there is a considerable drop off. Care should be taken in those areas as well as the rest of the trail. Note that east of the power lines, the trail is in Pickett State Forest. Hunting is permitted in that area so extra precautions (orange clothing) should be taken during hunting season.
The trailhead is easy to find and is well marked. Travel north on Highway 154 past the Ranger Station and Park Office for about 1/2 mile. Trailhead parking is clearly marked at that point. The trailhead is on the south end of the parking area.
The trail travels about 1/2 mile along but well above Thompson Creek, through lush woods. The creek can be heard babbling below. At the 1/2 mile point the trail intersects with the Hidden Passage loop. The trail north goes toward the State Park's Group Camp. East goes toward the hidden passage.
Going east for .5 miles, the hiker reaches the hidden passage. This is where the trail goes through an interesting obstacle course over and under fallen rocks within a series of rock houses.
The Hidden Passage trail has 3 interesting drop off trails. Once through the hidden passage, the hiker will come to the first of these trails. It leads to a beautiful and serene falls called Crystal Falls. The falls are less than 300 feet from the trail and anyone taking this trail should allow themselves this short side trip. The other two, Double Falls and Tunnel, will each add a mile or more to the total outing distance. Heading out to Double Falls will require a creek crossing and going into the Tunnel will require you to have lighting. Both are worthwhile, if time permits.
Shortly after the Crystal Falls trail junction the trail climbs to the top of a bluff where it stays for some distance. The trail is close to the edge which gives some very nice vistas. The trail then passes under power lines and enters into a part of the woods that have been impacted by the pine beetle and by fire. From this point and for the next 3 1/2 miles, there will be no cover and very little shade. This is the same for most of the area east of the power lines. Plenty of water is recommended. Water is available from creeks in the area but should be filtered and/or purified. Thompson's Overlook is located at the eastern edge of this section. It provides a great vista of the Pickett State Forest. The side trails to Double Falls and The Tunnel are also in this section.
Follow the trail until you are once again west of the power lines. There, the trail again travels through lush woodlands. It skirts the Park's Group Camping area and makes its way back to close out the Hidden Passage loop and returns to the trailhead parking area.
Flora & Fauna
Hardwood forest, hemlock forest, Rhodedendron, mountain laurel, Cumberland Sandwort