Nestled in the Susquehannock State Forest in Austin, Hammersley Wild Area has earned the title of the most isolated area in Pennsylvania. Spanning over 30,000 acres and filled with hiking trails, swimming holes, wildlife, and breathtaking views, this is one place you’ll definitely want to add to your bucket list.
Located far from civilization, Hammersley is one of the largest areas in Pennsylvania with no roads. To get here visitors will need to park along the side roads off Rt. 144 to access the trailheads and campgrounds. Day hikes are definitely possible here but for a true off the grid experience, camping overnight is highly recommended.
The most popular trails at Hammersley include the Twin Sisters hiking trail and Big Blue Hole. Both moderately challenging, these hikes take a few hours to complete and are great for backpackers. It's also pretty unlikely you'll encounter many other people on your trek so you can enjoy the peace and quiet nature has to offer here.
Twin Sisters will lead you to a breathtaking view about 2 miles into the hike. Bell Branch Vista features a sweeping view of the wild area that's been protect for decades. Most of this vegetation has remained untouched since the beginning of the 20th century. Along the way you'll pass over a charming swinging wooden foot bridge that carries you over a crystal clear stream.
Big Blue Hole is a 10 mile trail loop that will lead you to a beautiful crystal clear swimming hole that measures about 6 feet in depth. The water is always cold here making it a great spot to cool off in on a hot summer day.
The wild nature of the lands supports abundant wildlife, The lack of development has produced an abundance of wildlife at Hammersley. Streams are filled with wild trout and deer and elk roam freely throughout the woods. There are even designated viewing areas that offer visibility to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. The area is also home to heron, beavers, and even rattlesnakes and bears.
Visiting Hammersley throughout the seasons provides for a vastly different experience. In the Spring you will see trilliums and mountain laurel blooming. The Summer months give you the chance to see wildflowers sprinkled throughout the landscape. In the Fall, yellow-gold ferns and leaf foliage take over to provide for a spectacular kaleidoscope of colors, a must see for any and all nature lovers.