On Saturday, I woke up feeling a little under the weather. I chalked it up to a few late nights in a row and headed to the gym for my scheduled leg workout.
I finished the workout, but afterwards I felt
like I had the plague a whole lot worse. My original plan to do a long hike in the afternoon was clearly off the table.
Well, I’m a tad hardheaded and the weather was finally above 30 degrees. How could I pass up 40 degree weather?
I made a compromise. I looked for a trail on my list that:
- was an out and back so that I could go as far as my body would allow and then turn around.
- had neat features near the beginning so I didn’t feel bad for not going to the end.
Bear Caves and Mount Seneca fit the bill perfectly. One of the main reasons this trail is even on my list is because I’ve heard its a good challenge for beginners (not too easy but not too hard). I want to take my roommates on a hike in the future and they are not experienced hikers but they are also up for a challenge. This small trip gave me the chance to check it out! I’d say I did about 4 miles total.
Here are the quick facts:
Distance: 4.2 out and back, 8.4 total
Location: Allegany State Park, Quaker Area
Parking: Awesome parking spots at the trailhead.
Views: No mountain-top view. There is a creek, large rock outcrops, caves and abundant wildlife.
Dogs: Definitely dog accessible.
Difficulty: Moderate. Some parts are very steep.
Trail markers: Excellent trail markers. I could not have gotten lost if I tried.
So how was the trail? Within the first mile, you reach Bear Caves. There are huge boulders that you can climb on and explore. The accessibility of Bear Caves makes it an ideal spot to stop if you have limited time or if you have young kids with you.
After Bear Caves, the hike to Mount Seneca begins. The trail has a lot of steep up hills, but it is not straight up the entire time. There is a creek that weaves in and out of the trail. I had to jump across it at several points, which was really fun! I bet it would be nice in the summer.
The trail is well-worn and I saw several other hikers while I was there. If you go on a wet day, like I did, it can be slippery at some points so mind your footing.
I also found a fossil while I was there. Does anyone else get giddy every time they find a fossil? Maybe it is nerdy, but I LOVE fossils… even when they are of something boring like a shell or a leaf.
Final thoughts? It isn’t my favorite hike of all time. I am partial to trails that are a bit more untamed. However, I would certainly recommend this hike to someone looking for a simple, solid choice. It’s well-marked, has unique features and is neither too hard nor too easy. I will definitely be back with my roommates. There are really awesome group photo spots along the way.
Check back in later this week for my photos from the hike! 🙂
What is a “must have” on your trail wish list? I LOVE bouldering! Give me a 10 foot rock wall to get over! I also really like hikes with a summit.
What is something you always take on a hike? I always make sure to bring a printed map… even if the trail is supposed to be well-marked, you just never know!