Traversing Ridges and Valleys in Rothrock State Forest, PA

Traversing Ridges and Valleys in Rothrock State Forest, PA

January 10, 2020

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.

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Sand Mountain Trail System: Your New Favorite Winter Adventure Destination

Sand Mountain Trail System: Your New Favorite Winter Adventure Destination

January 10, 2020

Contrary to popular belief, not every trail in Central PA is difficult and rocky. But, moderate trails for hiking, running, and riding within public lands of Central Pennsylvania can be hard to find. We, like you, spend spring, summer, and fall toiling through rhododendron tunnels, stumbling over rocks, and pushing our bicycles uphill on climbs just too tough to pedal -and we love it - but sometimes we need an easier experience. This winter, take a break from the gnarly single track, grab some friends and family, and explore a new-to-you location in Bald Eagle State Forest!

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Reach The Top: An Introduction To Spruce Gap Trail In Rothrock State Forest, PA

Reach The Top: An Introduction To Spruce Gap Trail In Rothrock State Forest, PA

January 10, 2020

A classic climb in Rothrock State Forest, which is ideal for those training for any of the ever-so-popular trail challenges that occur throughout the year. Fitness fanatics, mountain runners, and those looking to enjoy the outdoors in the middle of winter will love this trail! You may hate this climb or love this climb, but no matter what, you will gain a sense of accomplishment every time you complete this climb!

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Tussey Mountain Loop: A Winter Fitness Loop In Rothrock State Forest, PA

Tussey Mountain Loop: A Winter Fitness Loop In Rothrock State Forest, PA

January 10, 2020

Rothrock State Forest boasts almost 300 miles of trails open year-round to help you stay fit and/or prepare for longer summer vacation adventures. We consider the loops below as challenging routes that are easily accessible in winter conditions: These are not the steepest nor the longest loops in the forest, but they are not easy either. Hikers, runners, and mountain bikers will all love the options presented below!

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Tiadaghton Trail Part Two: Waterville to Little Pine State Park, PA

Tiadaghton Trail Part Two: Waterville to Little Pine State Park, PA

January 10, 2020

Tiadaghton Trail runs from Ramsey north to Little Pine State Park in the beautiful Pine Creek Valley. The northern half of the trail, described here, is just as rewarding for hikers as the southern half. This trail awes visitors with beautiful views any time of year, so head to Pine Creek and and check out this trail!

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Six Mile Run South: A Winter Day Hike In Moshannon State Forest, PA

Six Mile Run South: A Winter Day Hike In Moshannon State Forest, PA

January 10, 2020

Get outside to enjoy evergreen trees while discovering trails near Black Moshannon State Park! Snow or no snow? Doesn't much matter! It's always a great time to grab your Moshannon Lizard Map and follow along on a short adventure along Six Mile Run that includes green leaves and clear streams all year long - and often a beautiful winter blanket of snow!

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Winter Adventure Getaways in Moshannon State Forest, PA

Winter Adventure Getaways in Moshannon State Forest, PA

January 10, 2020

Winter has again come to Pennsylvania this year. We've had substantial snowfall, and the long term forecast is showing cold weather for the next several weeks! Now is the time to call and reserve that long winter weekend getaway to play in the snow in Northcentral PA. Below, we have a few options for you to consider along with some fun teaser pics to get you into the winter mood!

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Snyder Middleswarth Natural Area: A National Natural Landmark in Bald Eagle Forest, PA

Snyder Middleswarth Natural Area: A National Natural Landmark in Bald Eagle Forest, PA

January 10, 2020

Once a state park that is now a National Natural Landmark, Snyder Middleswarth Natural Area is a truly delightful location to explore in Central PA. This area, which is adjacent to Tall Timbers Natural Area, is renowned for its old growth forest of hemlock, pine, and birch trees. This part of Bald Eagle State Forest is it within a 90 minute drive for most visitors from the State College, Lock Haven, Lewisburg, and Harrisburg areas. 

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The Icebox Incident: A Lesson in Deciding When to Go Home or Keep Going

The Icebox Incident: A Lesson in Deciding When to Go Home or Keep Going

January 10, 2020

As winter makes one last stand with a few more inches of snow and some blustery winds, we sit back to reflect on lessons learned from this season's outdoor adventures. One of these lessons is the methodology of deciding whether or not to cut a trip short. We experienced this scenario in real time during a two-day (planned as a three-day) weekend backpacking trip on the Black Forest Trail near Slate Run, Pennsylvania.

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Winter Wonderland: Dolly Sods Wilderness, West Virginia

Winter Wonderland: Dolly Sods Wilderness, West Virginia

January 10, 2020

Lizard seeker Eriks Perkons recently completed an overnight winter backpacking trip in Dollys Sods Wilderness Area, West Virginia. This was his first time exploring this area. Even though winter clouds and an oncoming winter storm blocked the vistas, he still had a great time! Read about his trip below.

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Caught In The Hook: Pennsylvania's Largest Natural Area

Caught In The Hook: Pennsylvania's Largest Natural Area

January 10, 2020

The Hook Natural Area is PA's largest Natural Area, and offers a plethora of great adventure. How does one enjoy this area? Read along and let The Department of Adventure lead the way!

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How to Read A Purple Lizard Map

How to Read A Purple Lizard Map

December 23, 2019

So you have one, or maybe ten Purple Lizard Maps. But how do you read them in order to make your own adventure? We've listed some quick hints below, to help you on your way to a successful adventure with your Lizard Map!

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A Great Beginner Trail Running Route in Rothrock State Forest, PA

A Great Beginner Trail Running Route in Rothrock State Forest, PA

November 13, 2019

Anyone who has attempted running on trails in Rothrock State Forest will agree that it is some of the most rocky and gnarly terrain around. Fear not; though, this tough terrain provides some of the best and most accessible four-season training grounds for aspiring trail runners and for those looking to increase overall general fitness.

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Discover The New 15-mile Hiking and Running Loop Around Slate Run, PA

Discover The New 15-mile Hiking and Running Loop Around Slate Run, PA

October 30, 2019

Years ago, local trail legend Bob Webber would lead a rambling hike along official and unofficial trails throughout the forest near Algerine Wild Area and Slate Run, PA.   One of these trails, which helps to create a loop hike from Slate Run, had been seemingly forgotten. Recently a local trail running group, PA Trail Dogs, found this trail again and have re-opened the trail for all to use. Follow along below for an exciting breakdown of this loop, which is an ideal adventure for hikers, backpackers, and trail runners alike.

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Four Fall Adventures in Pennsylvania

Four Fall Adventures in Pennsylvania

October 29, 2019

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Blueberry Trail: Family Adventure at Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area

Blueberry Trail: Family Adventure at Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area

August 17, 2019

There are so many family friendly hikes and places to explore in Moshannon/Quehanna! One our our favorite is Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area. This short walk is a wonderful opportunity for young minds to explore and experience rare plant and bird species on the Allegheny Plateau.

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Exploring Quehanna Highway: Hoover Farm Viewing Area

Exploring Quehanna Highway: Hoover Farm Viewing Area

August 17, 2019

The Hoover Farm Viewing Area has something for everyone interested in exploring Quehanna. Visitors love this destination because it is a great place to experience the wild beauty of Quehanna, spend some time in hopes of seeing, photographing, or hearing elk and other wildlife, and just getting away from the hustle of everyday life.

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Seeking Purple Lizards At Smoke Hole, Seneca Rocks, and Spruce Knob, WV

Seeking Purple Lizards At Smoke Hole, Seneca Rocks, and Spruce Knob, WV

August 16, 2019

The Department of Adventure goes out to locate and map the most fun and unique locations surrounding Smoke Hole, Seneca Rocks, and Spruce Knob, West Virginia.

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Finding Fall Backpacking Adventure in Pine Creek, PA

Finding Fall Backpacking Adventure in Pine Creek, PA

August 14, 2019

Ready to enjoy a late season 3-day backpacking trip? Purple Lizard's Trail Guru Dave Gantz and Lizard Blog Contributor Emily Newman hiked a portion of the West Rim Trail and offer this blog to help inspire you on our own fall adventures!

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Rockton Mountain Trails: Four Season Adventures in Moshannon, PA

Rockton Mountain Trails: Four Season Adventures in Moshannon, PA

August 14, 2019

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.

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Six Mile Run North: Another Great Day In Moshannon State Forest, PA

Six Mile Run North: Another Great Day In Moshannon State Forest, PA

August 13, 2019

This fun and beautiful hike in Moshannon State Forest consists of a 3-mile walk on a tough trail alongside the stream, followed by a gentle 3-mile hike back to the car on a gravel forest road. Trail runners will love this loop for the challenging beginning and the mellow ending!

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White Mountain Ridge Trail: A Hiking Adventure in Bald Eagle State Forest, PA

White Mountain Ridge Trail: A Hiking Adventure in Bald Eagle State Forest, PA

July 31, 2019

Explore this fantastic forest on the White Mountain Ridge Trail within Penns Creek Wild Area. This Wild Area along Penns Creek is in the heart of Bald Eagle State Forest. Because this loop covers a lot of road time, it can also be done as a car or bicycle shuttle option. The bicycle option should be used for the road miles (White Mountain Ridge Trail is shared-use, but it's very rough going on a bicycle). The road sections are remote, and as such you may very well hike along them and never see a car!

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Rock Run Trail System: Trail Running Near Black Moshannon State Park, PA

Rock Run Trail System: Trail Running Near Black Moshannon State Park, PA

July 31, 2019

This trail system is a mix of small rocky tread, soft dirt tread, and bumpy old railroad grades. The trailhead lies on the top of the Allegheny Plateau, and so it is perfect for trail running! You will need to keep your eyes focused on the trail, but sights of plenty of wild plants along the trail such as trillium, mayflower, and ferns will keep your mind occupied. This is a beautiful, but remote trail, so you may want to run with a friend or group. If you're looking for some runnable yet adventurous terrain, these 8 or 13 mile loops are perfect. Beginners can enjoy this area too!

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10-mile Gentle Hiking Loop in Prime Elk Habitat: Quehanna Wild Area, PA

10-mile Gentle Hiking Loop in Prime Elk Habitat: Quehanna Wild Area, PA

July 31, 2019

Follow along with us on a gentle, but remote 10-mile hike through prime elk habitat in Central PA. Besides a section of State Game Lands, this lovely loop is completely within the nearly 50,000 acre Quehanna Wild Area. This is the largest Wild Area in Pennsylvania, and is home to all of the best wildlife that PA has to offer: bear, deer, elk, bobcat, coyote, rattlesnakes, fishers and more. The two short climbs on this loop only gain about 100 feet of elevation and the classic Central PA rocks are non-existent.

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Choose Your Own Adventure with Lizard Adventure Lists

Choose Your Own Adventure with Lizard Adventure Lists

July 31, 2019

Lizard Adventure Lists are a great tool for diving deep into your Lizard Map: include brief descriptions of the trails organized in three sections: Trails, Special Designated Areas & Destinations, and State Parks, to help you explore all your Lizard Maps have to offer!

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42 Miles in 24 Hours: Getting to Know Yourself on the Allegheny Front Trail in Pennsylvania

42 Miles in 24 Hours: Getting to Know Yourself on the Allegheny Front Trail in Pennsylvania

July 19, 2019

This isn’t about the fame. It’s about you. It's simply a personal challenge - a very personal challenge, and one that anyone can attempt. It's not impossible, but it's hard enough that even if you think you can do it, there is a good chance you will fail.

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Laurel River Trail #306: Traversing Two Wilderness Areas In Monongahela National Forest, WV

Laurel River Trail #306: Traversing Two Wilderness Areas In Monongahela National Forest, WV

July 19, 2019

Those looking for a remote wilderness experience alongside a mountain river need look no further than Laurel River Trail #306. This trail travels approximately 17-miles alongside Laurel Fork of Cheat River through two wilderness areas. We explain and show the way through Trail #306 and side trails within these two wilderness areas, so you can plan your own adventure in this wonderful watershed!

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Meadow Run Trail: Big Rocks and Cool Falls In Ohiopyle State Park, PA

Meadow Run Trail: Big Rocks and Cool Falls In Ohiopyle State Park, PA

July 12, 2019

Meadow Run Trail is one of our favorite trails in Ohiopyle State Park. It has it all: woods, rocks and water, as it takes you to crazy big climbing rocks amidst giant rhododendrons, then to lots of access spots along Meadow Run where you'll find wading pools and waterfalls. Hiking, climbing, fishing, sightseeing and playing in the pools of Meadow Run are what you'll find along this short loop trail.

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Hike To Four Waterfalls in Ohiopyle State Park, PA

Hike To Four Waterfalls in Ohiopyle State Park, PA

July 10, 2019

There are plenty of waterfalls to see in and around Ohiopyle State Park. We've listed four of these waterfalls below (plus a few post-hike bonus waterfalls), all of which are accessible via a nice 5-mile hiking loop within the state park.

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Hiking and Biking To Trail Shelters Near Blackwater Falls State Park, WV

Hiking and Biking To Trail Shelters Near Blackwater Falls State Park, WV

July 10, 2019

Several wonderful trail loops exist just minutes from Thomas, Davis, and Blackwater Falls State Park. Three trail shelters can also be found along these trails. Load your backpacks and your panniers, and make a weekend trip to Blackwater Falls!

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Visit The Nicest Shelter On The Appalachian Trail: A Hike In Michaux State Forest

Visit The Nicest Shelter On The Appalachian Trail: A Hike In Michaux State Forest

July 10, 2019

Grab your Michaux Lizard Map and join us on a 4-mile hiking adventure to see the shelter many thru hikers (those who are hiking the length of the AT) consider to be the best one on the entire 2,200 mile long trail!

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Indian Creek Valley Trail: Walking and Riding in Laurel Highlands, PA

Indian Creek Valley Trail: Walking and Riding in Laurel Highlands, PA

July 03, 2019

Maybe everyone has heard of the Great Allegheny Passage, or GAP trail as most call it. But are you familiar with the future connector rail trail known as Indian Creek Valley Trail? We explored this trail in the spring of 2019 because, well, it's on our Ohiopyle-Laurel Highlands Lizard Map. Follow along with us as we check out this new trail in Laurel Highlands!

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Hike the Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail In Confluence, PA

Hike the Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail In Confluence, PA

July 03, 2019

The Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail may just be the newest trail in southwestern Pennsylvania. This hiking trail is a delightful walk anytime of year. Follow below as we describe this trail, then get out there and enjoy the area with your Ohiopyle-Laurel Highlands Lizard Map!

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Ironstone Trail: Revisiting A Classic Hike In Rothrock State Forest, PA

Ironstone Trail: Revisiting A Classic Hike In Rothrock State Forest, PA

July 03, 2019

The Ironstone Loop is a vintage route that was made popular by Tom Thwaites and other creators of the Mid State Trail. This loop is roughly 15 miles long and includes classic PA rocky ridge top walking with great views, a historic set of rock stairs that descend off a ridge and climb to the next ridge, a lake, swamps, streams, a newly renovated Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, an old iron furnace, and more! Primitive camping is allowed on state forest lands along this route, too! All of the trails in this area are included on the Rothrock Lizard Map, so grab yours and follow along on a somewhat forgotten loop hike in Rothrock State Forest.

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Seneca Creek Trail: Amazing Adventures in West Virginia

Seneca Creek Trail: Amazing Adventures in West Virginia

June 21, 2019

Monongahela National Forest is filled with hidden pockets to explore. One of these pockets, Seneca Creek, is just a few miles past a paved road to the highest point in West Virginia. Explore this area with the new Dollys Sods-Seneca Rocks Lizard Map!

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Exploring Backcountry Trails in Tioga State Forest, PA

Exploring Backcountry Trails in Tioga State Forest, PA

March 09, 2019

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.

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