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This 11.1 mile trail begins at the picnic area within the Hearts Content Recreation Area and forms a loop through the Hickory Creek Wilderness.
This trail is marked infrequently with faded yellow blazes. In keeping with Wilderness values, they will be allowed to fade further over time and will not be replaced. This may make the trail difficult to follow, especially when fallen leaves or snow make the established tread more difficult to see.
All trail maintenance is done to protect the Wilderness character of the area, not for the convenience of the visitors to this place. This means that obstructions on the trail will not be removed unless not doing so would cause irreversible environmental damage. This may make the trail even more difficult to follow. It is suggested that all hikers have and know how to use a map and compass or GPS device when hiking in Hickory Creek Wilderness.
The 11.1 mile Hickory Creek trail provides a unique opportunity for those who seek a Wilderness trail challenge not available elsewhere in this region of the country. If a Wilderness maintenance standard is not the type of hiking experience you seek, we encourage you to explore any of the nearly 200 miles of well-marked developed hiking trails available throughout the Allegheny National Forest.
Watch the informational signs. This trail offers challenges to a wide range of skill levels as it traverses the rolling terrain within the Hickory Creek Wilderness. From Hearts Content Recreation Area, the trail heads westward along the top of the plateau between East Hickory and Middle Hickory Creeks. Once the trail reaches Jacks Run, it loops back eastward and climbs in and out of several small valleys along the way.
Fishing for small native brookies can be done in East and Middle Hickory Creeks. Enjoy the wildlife viewing as you hike. The vegetation found in the Hickory Creek Wilderness supports wildlife typically associated with older trees and decaying vegetation. Groves of hemlock may be found along the lower half of East Hickory Creek. Middle Hickory Creek flows through meadows studded with bogs and beaver ponds. Large white pine are scattered in open areas. The most significant evidence of human intrusion that still remains are several old railroad grades used in early logging efforts.
Camp overnight as you enjoy the Hickory Creek Wilderness, or make a long day trip through the wilderness.
The trail currently blazed infrequently with yellow paint on tree blazes, but is in the process of being changed to unpainted tree blazes in order to be more compatible with a wilderness designation. Normal wilderness regulations apply, including no motorized vehicles or equipment use of any kind. Forest trail policy prohibits the use if a saddle, pack or draft animal on hiking trails.
The closest hospital or clinic is in Warren. For safety, follow these basic guidelines: hike with someone, carry water or purifying equipment, store foods and cook away from sleeping sites, let someone know your expected return time and route, camp away from the trail, practice Leave No Trace ethics - pack it in, pack it out, and for sanitary disposal of human wastes, dig a pit on flat ground at least 6 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water.