About a year ago, May 13th 2016, a friend and I decided to try to complete the entire 41.75 Allegheny Front Trail in one go (traditionally it is a 4 day backpack trail). We began at the trailhead at PA RT504 and completed the loop in a clockwise direction. We had 3 coolers with food and water at road intersections along the loop, as well as carrying fastpacks with us. Unfortunately, at mile ~35 we had to abandon the FKT, as it was getting dark and we were in no shape to continue on. We walked the Benner Run road and the Rattlesnake pike back to the trailhead for a total of 38.6 miles in 12:33:47.
We intend to try the route again this summer and complete the full 41.75 miles in under 12 hours. Does anyone know if anyone has completed the loop in a single day? I have done some looking around but I can't find another person who has.
quadfather, that is impressive! The trail is definitely more punishing than it appears on a map, whenever my friend and I set out initially we thought that sub 10 hours would be easy, and it really was not easy at all (hence the incomplete loop).
To answer your question, I never did get to run the whole loop this summer, I had other goals as far as running is concerned and didn't want to jeopardize my races... a redo is definitely on the list for the near future though. Although it would go against the prescribed route in the trail guides, I think starting at the 504 trailhead and traveling counter-clockwise may provide the best opportunity for the FKT; the difficult sections would be in the first 25 miles for the most part (other than the disheartening climb from whetstone run back to the trailhead). I will definitely post an update when I make another go at it.
Post by quadfather on Nov 13, 2017 22:33:43 GMT -5
Thanks! It's a beautiful, signature PA trail that I hope others will consider.
It certainly wouldn't be "easy", but I don't think 10 hours would be hard either: I don't do well in the heat & the end got real ugly for me, with plenty of walking. I'd never seen the trail before stepping foot on it that morning & while it's very well marked, I'd guesstimate I lost at least 30 minutes to route finding: finding the trail behind the cabin after the Black Mo stumped me for a while, I initially missed the drop down to it further upstream prior & turned off the climb after the Red Mo too early as well.
The flat section after the climb up from the Red Mo had a lot of shin high grass on it. I remember thinking to myself while I headed through it I was glad I was going clockwise, as it'd likely be wet from dew if headed counter-clockwise & hit early in the day. Other than that, I'm not sure I'd have a preference on which direction to head.