I’d first learned of the Thousand Steps on the Standing Stone Trail from my friend Dan Glass. Dan, as you might recall, wrote the longest post I’ve ever published at A Taste For The Woods, and perhaps the best written. (Yes, it hurts a little to write those words.) You can read his hymn to the Standing Stone Trail here:

“Stand Up Next To A Mountain”: Standing Stone Trail and the Thousand Steps


Dan Glass in triumph

So the next stop on the way to World’s End was the Thousand Steps, just ten miles from Raystown Lake, outside Huntingdon on Rt. 22. I pulled into the unassuming and unmarked roadside pulloff, grabbed the hiking poles and my trail runners, and set off.

Once past the entrance I climbed past a waterfall and into a glen seeming miles away from the world. Route 22 and its traffic disappeared as I entered the woods. Within a minute I understood some of what Dan felt about the trail. And I hadn’t even reached the steps yet.

The name Thousand Steps isn’t fancy, its fact. The stone stairs were created decades ago so workers at a quarry could reach the mountaintop. And there are more of them, as you have to hike up approach stairs to get to them. I’d already decided I didn’t have enough time to complete the trail today, so I decided to have fun. One bit of fun was my tribute to Dan and his wearing plaid shorts on a strenuous hike instead of technical clothing like a ‘real’ hiker. I’ve kidded Dan about hiking with a tablecloth on his lower half often enough that I felt I owed him something….

It begins with a single step.

I spent an hour at the Steps, mainly photographing the trail instead of getting serious hiking in. There are trails I need to do with other people if only so I don’t become discouraged from the difficulty, and the Standing Stone Trail and steps were one of them. My visit ended on a side trail with a near panic after meeting this local resident.


Don’t tread on me.


I backed away from the reptile and turned around. As I headed back to the trailhead, I ran into other hikers. One of them saw the above photo and identified it as a rattlesnake missing its rattle. I’ve since learned it was a harmless rat snake, but hearing “rattler” was enough. I’d be back and do the Thousand Steps another time, when I had all day and a friend or three. I’d spent an hour in the Garden and seen the Snake. It was time to go to World’s End…..