Posted by: davepidgeon | November 16, 2009

DAY TRIPPER: Run to the Pinnacle

The Pinnacle

A frozen Susquehanna River slowly flows southward. (Dave Pidgeon / Compass Points Media)

Lancaster County, Pa., ranks among the most popular tourist destinations in the United States with an estimated 10 million visitors annually. And while most of those are slurping down plates of Pennsylvania Dutch food and searching for that farm from the movie Witness, skip the tourist traps on Route 30 and head for Kelly’s Run and The Pinnacle, two wild spots you can see on a single day hike.

What you get in this 2.78-mile point-to-point hike (about 5.5 miles out-and-back) is a scenic ravine stocked with rhododendrons, oaks and sugar maples; a creek brimming with swimming holes; and a sweeping vista of the Susquehanna River.


Kelly's Run in southern Lancaster County, Pa., creates several swimming holes. (Dave Pidgeon / Compass Points)

Directions: From Lancaster city, take New Danville Pike/Route 324 South for 2.8 miles to the intersection with Route 741 (Marticville Road). Turn left onto Marticville Road and follow for 6.5 miles. At the intersection with Hilldale Road, turn left. Follow Hilldale Road for 4.1 miles, then turn right onto Old Holtwood Road. Follow Old Holtwood Road for 0.7 mile to a fork and stay right onto Street Road  until you see Holtwood Park on the right. Park in the parking lot.

Hike On: The Kelly’s Run Trail begins just behind centerfield at the League League field next to the parking lot. Look for the wooden post. The trail also follows the path of the Conestoga Trail, so the trees and rocks are marked with blue and orange blazes. The trail descends into the ravine until after about a mile you reach Kelly’s Run trickling beneath a patch of rhododendron. During the next mile, you’ll cross Kelly’s Run through some tricky fords if the water is high (dangerous if frozen), but keep your eyes open for deep green swimming holes should you find yourself here in the summer time. Look for the Conestoga Trail to break off to the right and steeply climb out of the ravine, ascending about 500 feet over about 0.75 miles. But the reward is The Pinnacle, pictured above. When you’re done gawking, just retrace your steps back to the car.


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