I am a sucker for a summit. I am always skeptical of a hike without one. Can it really be interesting? Can the views still be spectacular? Will I still feel the same sense of accomplishment?
The answer to all of the above is, “yes.”
The Rimrock Loop absolutely crushed my skepticism.
This past Saturday, the temperature in Western New York reached a high of 55. Weather that warm in February is a rarity. I knew I needed to take advantage of it by going on a long hike. Juliette, my roommate, asked to come with me.
Because Juliette has never been on a hike before, I scoured my bucket list for a trail that would satisfy my desire for distance while still being suitable for a beginner. My All Trails app has search filters that you can use on your “favorites” list to narrow your options. I entered in 6-12 miles and “moderate.” The Rimrock Loop was a match! It is less than an hour from Olean and received great reviews.
Here are the quick facts:
Distance: 8.3 mile loop plus a 0.7 path to and from the trailhead, 9.7 miles total.
Location: Allegheny National Forest, Bradford, PA.
Parking: Awesome parking spots at the trailhead. There is a box with printed maps and a bathroom.
Views: There are many gorgeous features on this loop — moss-covered boulders, a roaring stream, waterfalls, apple trees, and a lake.
Dogs: If your dog has a lot of energy and is capable of handling somewhat difficult terrain, the trail is definitely dog accessible.
Difficulty: Moderate for an experienced hiker, difficult for a new hiker.
Trail markers: The trail is maintained well, but the markers are not. Juliette and I had to backtrack several times to find the trail. Other hikers we met made the same comment.
Our thoughts? The Rimrock Loop is gorgeous. There is no better word to describe it. Juliette and I took the loop in a counterclockwise direction at the recommendation of an All Trails review. I can’t say it mattered, but it helped us decide which way to go anyways.
Our favorite aspect of this hike was the constantly changing scenery. Each section of the hike was like being on a completely different trail.Some areas were steep, rocky and mossy areas. Some areas were flat, wide, creek side areas. Some areas were scraggly, wild and untamed. There was even a large lakeside area and another area full of apple trees. I’ve never been on a hike with such diverse landscapes.
In most places, the trail is clear enough to follow without markers.However, there were many stretches of the trail that desperately needed new marking.
Juliette did an amazing job on her first hike! Despite falling a grand total of 11 times (I totally blame not having hiking boots), she had a great time.
She said, “I think for my first hike ever it was a magical experience! I loved the views and how often the scenery changed, it made it feel like a Disney movie — all I needed was a robin to perch on my hand!”
The apple trees definitely gave it a Snow White/ enchanted forest feel. So did the heart-shaped hole in this tree trunk 🙂 …
We were glad that we prepared well for this hike. It is long and there are some strenuous climbs. Be sure to pack plenty of water and food if you decide to go on this one (along with these other nine essentials).
I recommend this trail to anyone looking for a great way to spend a day, but especially anyone looking for an excellent group hike. It is suitable for many ability levels and has a variety of features. It is a trail with something for everyone.
Stay tuned for a photography post later this week!
- Are you partial to summit hikes? Have you ever been proven wrong by an awesome hike that didn’t have a summit?
- What’s your favorite Disney movie? I love Princess and the Frog!