September 25, 2018 3 min read

By Lizard Seeker Drew Lehnerd:

Since opening its doors in 1976, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center has served as Penn State’s nature center and outdoor education field lab. Shaver’s Creek has also become a mainstay within the community providing opportunities for folks to connect with nature and each other through seasonal festivals, outreach programming, and a multi-faceted visitor experience. Additionally, Shaver’s Creek offers access to some amazing outdoor recreation opportunities for folks of all interests and ability levels. 

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center

Situated on not just one side, but BOTH sides of the Rothrock Lizard Map, Shaver’s Creek is nestled in the heart of Stone Valley and Penn State University's 7,000-acre Stone Valley Experimental Forest, and borders the 72-acre Lake Perez. Shaver’s Creek itself is surrounded by a small network of multi-use trails with various trailheads leaving from the parking and front yard areas. These trails also connect to Indian Steps, Ironstone Trail, and Mid State Trail, allowing for various looping opportunities and longer point-to-point hikes. 

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center Lake Perez

Hop on the Lake Trail for a 3-4 mile jaunt around Lake Perez. This route affords scenic views of the lake, as well as the requisite roots, rocks, and bridges found when hiking or mountain biking in Central PA. You will pass through the Stone Valley Recreation Area, situated across the lake from Shaver’s Creek. This location, also managed by Penn State, offers cabin rentals, boat rentals, as well as a boat launch for those interested in fishing on the lake (trolling motors or human power only). The trail then continues across the spillway and earthen dam, affording a great view back across the lake, with glimpses of Shaver’s Creek’s facilities. Keep an eye for trail signs along the way to further explore the surrounding area or return to the Nature Center.

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center

The Lake Trail, as the name implies, is a fun shared use trail that goes around Lake Perez. It also connects to a network of seven other trails that are all open for mountain biking, as well as dirt, gravel and paved roads that will take you back into Rothrock State Forest, connect to Whipple Dam State Park and other destinations. There is a lot of great cycling to be had in the Stone Forest Forest!

For those looking for a backpacking or trail running challenge, the Ironstone Loop is a scenic, challenging, roughly 13-mile route which passes directly through the Shaver’s Creek front lawn. Doable as a long dayhike, or a quick overnighter, the Ironstone Loop won’t disappoint experienced Central PA hikers. Park at Shaver’s Creek and loop back to your car. Or use Shaver’s Creek as a midway point of your hike where you can refill water, use the facilities, and take a rest near the lake. If you are hunting for Purple Lizards, this route will show you the way to a few. Be sure to also check out Monroe Furnace, located adjacent to where the trail crosses PA Route 26. Volunteers from Mid State Trail Association have blazed and maintained this loop. Learn more about this trail on this Purple Lizard blog: Ironstone Trail: Revisiting A Classic Hike. See below for the outline of the route, then mark it on your own Lizard Map and get out there!

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center Ironstone Loop

Looking to spend some time at Shaver’s Creek itself and explore the Visitor Center? Are you in for a treat! Highlights of the Visitor Center experience are the Discovery Room featuring an array of reptiles and amphibians and the Raptor Center, which is located behind the main building and is home to over 20 different birds of prey. 


These resident raptors are all considered un-releasable for various reasons, and currently live on-site under the watchful care of Shaver’s Creek staff. They are used as educational ambassadors in various on and off-site programming, and they would love to see you.

Great Blue Heron at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center

Shaver’s Creek is located just 12 miles from State College and the Penn State campus and 24 miles from downtown Huntingdon. A note for dog owners, please leave Lassie at home if you plan to visit Shaver’s Creek, the presence of our canine friends stresses out the raptors.

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center

For more information on the festivals, public programs, and various other opportunities offered by Shaver’s Creek, visit their website or follow them on social media.



Drew is a passionate Lizard Seeker and finds joy recreating in the out of doors in many ways. An avid cyclist, Drew can commonly be spotted traveling via two wheels on trails and roads found on various Lizard Maps. He also loves snowboarding and puts food on the table by working full-time with Penn State’s AURORA Outdoor Orientation Programs.