I held my breath with each up and down, stopping every so often to let out some tears. The creek was rushing and beautiful this morning. The sun was bright, the sky was clear, and the temperature was perfect. Approaching the finish, I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. Before the last climb, I took one more glance at the water and smelled the pine that surrounded me. I will always belong out here. The forest took care of me this week, I will forever be thankful.
This is a hey, winter ain’t so bad story. Not so sure? Keep reading.
Winter changes the landscape and can change our outdoor experiences. It takes a familiar trail and transforms it into a new experience. But I also understand that this time of year, after enduring a couple months of overcast skies and damp, chill-you-to-the-bone, below-freezing temps can really start to wear on a person.
This has been a stressful time. As the worldwide pandemic continues and the country faces old challenges and new, throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and throughout the country more and more folks are discovering or re-discovering the gift of hiking on public land. Whether you are a beginner hiker, or getting back out there for the first time in a while, this guide will give you some simple steps to enjoying hiking safely during the pandemic and any time.One of the great benefits of hiking during the pandemic is that when you find the right place to go, it can be easily done with proper social distancing.
With over 300 miles of non-motorized trails, tons of gravel and dirt roads, and 24/7 access, Rothrock State Forest is a true gem for year-round outdoor recreation near State College, PA. Although the forest roads are not maintained in winter, a few parking lots along the perimeter of the forest provide ample access in almost any conditions. Below, we've chosen a few of our favorite very difficult trail loops accessible in the winter from one of these parking areas. The following loops are best for those who enjoy challenging, steep, and rocky climbs and descents.