Shades of Death is a 1.1 mile heavily trafficked trail that offers something a little different than a scenic ending, and one that’s perfect for the heat and humidity of summer. The trailhead and parking are available by the park office or along PA 534 by the nature center and amphitheater.
This trail is beautiful and seemed to change around every bend. Sand Spring Run flows alongside the entire trail. Rock formations and rhododendron mix with remains of a logging mill and dam to add to the gorgeous environment.
Care must be exercised. It’s not that it’s especially difficult, but it does demand that you pay attention to where you are and where you are stepping
There is a large waterfall and a few smaller little ones. Loved the in-between rock wall, steps. Nice rhododendrons line the path. Just watch your step on the roots.
For most of its length, runs in close proximity to Sand Spring Run. Along the trail, Sand Spring Run cascades over two beautiful man-made dam waterfalls and through a series of small riffles and waterfalls as it drops 300 feet on its way down the hillside towards Hickory Run.
Shades of Death is a favorite among bird watchers and is an excellent place to spot Blackburnian and black-throated green warblers in the spring and summer.
While at the Hickory Run State Park you might want to explore the park’s premiere attraction, Boulder Field.
This rocky landscape is a National Natural Landmark. It’s striking because it’s a massive plain of boulders, without vegetation, over an area 400 by 1,800 foot. Some of the Boulders are 26 feet long. It has remained virtually unchanged for more than 20,000 years.