The season of Spring is here and I am very eager to enjoy the mild temperatures, green foliage and bright flowers that will soon line many trails. But a part of me will miss the winter wonderland. There is something magical about hiking through icicle sprinkled forests.
On a hike at the end of January, we walked through groves of icicles, each sparkling in the sunlight. It was stunningly beautiful and extremely peaceful. It was during this walk that I wrote my father’s eulogy. He had died two days prior, and my grief was overwhelming. I took to nature for quiet prayer and reflection. In the silence of the winter forest, I found the peace and resolve that I needed to carry on.
The trail route
We created our own parking space along Holtwood Road, backing into a space under some power lines along the Conestoga Trail. Walking only .2 mile north, we came to a parking lot, much better suited for stowing a vehicle. Conveniently located near the parking lot are bathrooms, a picnic area and a playground.
We followed the blue Kellys Run Trail for the majority of our walk. The Conestoga Trail, marked with orange, overlaps this trail, therefore most trees were marked with both colors. At the .4 mile point, we veered right onto the yellow Oliver Patton Trail, which looped back to the blue and orange trails after an additional .4 miles.
The trail started like many others: naked trees lining a dirt pathway covered with dried leaves. As we neared the water of Kellys Run, we came to beautiful green rhododendrons, that I imagine bloom spectacularly in the late spring months.
We continued trekking, enjoying the crisp, cool air and the bright winter sunlight.
Then, the magic. Icicles appeared on the stone walls along the trail. They covered rocks and trees along the water’s edge and shimmered in the winter sunlight. I was mesmerized by the beauty.
Giant icicles hovered over churning waterfalls. Sheets of ice covered big boulders and parts of the trail.
At mile 2.3 we crossed Kellys Run by cautiously stepping on ice covered rocks and a downed tree. We tried to continue our trek, but the next section of the path was solid ice.
Our fearless pup, Faith, said “no thank you” and refused to continue on. We followed her instinct and returned along the same route for a mile, turning right onto the Kellys Run Return Trail, completing a 4.4 mile loop.
|Hike difficulty classification (link)|
|Difficulty||Easy - moderate|
|Geographic location||Lancaster, PA|
|Trailhead parking options||Parking lot|
|Trail amenities||Parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, and playground|
|Elevation - trailhead||630'|
|Elevation - highest peak||720'|
|Total mileage||4.4 miles|
|Water sources||running creek|
|Highlights||Kellys Run waterfalls and many rhododendrons
Map – Kellys Run Loop