Rockton Mountain Trails is a great trail system designed for bicycling, hiking, running, and cross-country skiing. These trails can be found in the southwestern corner of Moshannon State Forest, near Clearfield and Parker Dam State Park. 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. Reference your Moshannon-Quehanna Lizard Map before you arrive so you don't blow by the parking area!
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 again, 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!
Purple Lizard hasn't found the opportunity to ski this area quite yet, but we are hopeful to glide on these trails during the 2018-2019 winter! These trails are on top of the Allegheny Plateau, which often receives much more snow than the surrounding ridge and valley region. With that said, the trails are rocky, so you'll definitely want at least 8"-12" inches of snow for a good skiing experience. We suggest contacting Parker Dam State Park or the Rockton Mountain Trails Facebook page for current snow conditions!
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I had two seriously long days in the woods planned, for an estimated total of 44 miles of backpacking. My plan was to follow a slew of lesser-known trails to create a loop that incorporates both Black Forest Trail and West Rim Trail. I picked this route after studying the Pine Creek Lizard Map. There are countless trails on this excellent map, but some of them are old, neglected, and untravelled. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Winter is a great time to do this kind of exploring. There are no rattlesnakes, nettles, or ticks. Streams are easy to follow, and the cold temperatures can dress up the stream banks with ice sculptures. The lack of leaves creates winter vistas where in the summer there is only endless green. So off I went.