Rockton Mountain Trails is a great trail system designed for bicycling, hiking, running, and cross-country skiing in the southwestern corner of Moshannon State Forest. Three looped trails are open to cycling, totaling over 12 miles of trails. Two more loops with an additional 10+ miles are designated as cross-country skiing and hiking only.
This popular trail system lies on the Allegheny Plateau on Route 322, just west of Clearfield, PA. Visitors from afar reach this area by taking the Route 80 exit #111, and heading southbound on route 153. Follow signs for route 322 west, then keep an eye open for Greenwood Road on the left. The parking area is just a short distance along Greenwood Road.
Along the way, take note of multiple rock effigies alongside the highway. We don't know the origin of these statues, but they appear to be fans of Pittsburgh professional sports teams.
The parking area is in a central location of this trail system, which is ideal. Hemlock Trail, Panther Run Trail, and Horn Shanty Loop Trail all exist on the south side of Route 322. The trails are well signed, but it's always best to bring your Moshannon Lizard Map with you just in case!
Kelly Cellar Loop Trail, Tar Kiln Spring Trail, and Coupler Run Loop Trail all exist on the north side of Route 322. Although the Tar Kiln Spring trailhead can't be seen from the parking area, it does exist directly across the busy road. Cross the road, head downhill past the power line right-of-way, and look for the well signed and blazed trail. The southern entrance of Kelly Cellar Loop Trail is located just past a gated gravel road on the north side of Route 322.
These trails are considered 'moderate' in difficulty because of the lack of elevation change. There are a few rock gardens that add technical difficulty, though. Most cyclists will want to bring their suspension mountain bikes, but rigid frame cross bikes are fine for experienced cyclists, too.
All of the trails in this system are well maintained by local trail enthusiasts. Trails conditions and updates are posted on Facebook @rocktonmountaintrails.
If you've ridden all the trails and still want more, simply pull out your Moshannon Lizard Map and check out Kelly Cellar Road and Schofield Road. These forest gravel roads create a relatively flat loop ride off of the Kelly Cellar Loop Trail. If you want to spend the whole weekend, contact Parker Dam State Park for year-round camping and cabin rentals!
Our Trail Guru discusses his completion of the first annual unPAved Pennsylvania gravel riding event, and how it has inspired him to ride more. "The rewarding feelings from this event are immeasurable and inspiring in so many ways: My friends and I sat around the evening after the event discussing winter bike gear needed to be able to prep for more events in 2019...especially the full 120-mile unPAved route."
Otter Creek Wilderness Area hosts over 40 miles of hiking trails for those willing to tackle the challenge. Managed as a Wilderness Area, this is truly a wild place. No roads or other infrastructure may exist. Bikes, wheels, motors, and other machines are also prohibited. Trails are well established, but signs, blazes, and other interpretive media are almost completely absent. Enter if you dare!