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.
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.
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, PA yet had been seemingly forgotten, helps hikers to avoid a mile or so road walk to complete a 15-mile hiking loop. Recently a local trail running group, PA Trail Dogs, found this trail again and have recently been re-opening the trail for a trail challenge. Follow along below for an exciting breakdown of this 25k route, which is an ideal adventure for hikers, backpackers, and trail runners alike.
Pine Creek Valley boasts hundreds of miles of trails for hikers of all ability levels. Not every trail is created equal though. A good amount of trails are maintained annually by PA DCNR foresters, and many more trails are maintained on a regular basis by a slew of individual and group based volunteers. But some trails throughout this region, a few more trails then you may first guess, are seemingly forgotten. Although these trails are forgotten by many, they are not forgotten by all. Follow along with us as we re-discover more old trails near Slate Run, PA!
Having the Purple Lizard Map of Pine Creek really did allow us to plan and make our own adventure in Pine Creek. Even though we only had three days and got to explore a small portion of what Pine Creek has to offer.
Golden Eagle Trail is often referred to as the best day hike in PA. With almost 10 miles of tough hiking, this trail is awesome any time of year. Alternative routes listed on this blog allow for even more rugged loop hikes totaling more than 15 miles of hiking. Highlights include beautiful vistas, sparkling mountain streams, ridgeline hiking, and tough climbs and descents in Wolf Run Wild Area and State Game Lands 68
Spruce Creek Pennsylvania is well known for its world class fly fishing waters, but what seems be be less known is the amazing array of ridge line vistas in nearby Rothrock State Forest. Just a few miles northwest of Huntingdon, PA, this section of Rothrock State Forest boasts miles of the Mid State Trail (MST). The MST in this area crosses through Little Juniata Natural Area and includes several views of the surrounding ridges and valleys.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
We added a new designation to our mapping repertoire in 2018: US Wilderness Area. In typical Lizard fashion, we didn't add this phrase to our maps for just any old Wilderness. We tackled some of the most serious (and seriously popular) wilderness areas in West Virginia: Dolly Sods, Laurel Fork North, Laurel Fork South, Otter Creek, and Roaring Plains West. Below, we provide a sample taste of what each of the wildness areas we mapped this year offer...
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!
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.
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.
The Green Monster Loop includes almost 32 miles of exciting trails and additional side trails in this corner of Tioga State Forest. Features for trails in this area include wide single and double track paths with solid dirt treadways. The notorious rock gardens found in many other parts of 'Rocksylvania' are less common here. Almost all of the trails in this part of the forest are open to bicycles; riders and runners will enjoy these smooth and fast trails! Dozens of loop options exist in this part of Tioga State Forest, but today we'll give an example of this area by following the 50K loop in the same direction as the annual Green Monster Challenge. Pull out your Pine Creek Lizard Map and follow along with us today, then go out and discover this area for yourself!
The Allegheny Trail (ALT) hugs the isolated Glady Fork River for over 25 miles. This hike will introduce you to one of the most rugged and wild sections of the entire ALT, as well as some fantastic campsites accessible by car. I recommend exploring this section as a long day hike, with a car and camping gear waiting for you at the finish. To set up a shuttle, you’ll be happy to have the Dolly Sods-Seneca Rocks Lizard Map showing you how to access the remote Forest Service roads.
Follow along as Lizard Seeker Emily Huguenin leads us along another great adventure on the Allegheny Trail in West Virginia
Since opening its doors in 1976, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center has served as Penn State’s nature center and outdoor education field lab. The Creek has also become a mainstay within the community providing opportunities 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.
Every now and again we all need a break from the hustle and bustle of 21st Century America. Luckily, State College, PA, is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands that are waiting to embrace you with fresh air and natural light. Email, news, phone, school, snapchat, social media, text, traffic, tv, twitter, work...leave it all behind and head into the forest to rejuvenate!
Travelers heading westbound on Route 322 over Seven Mountains are bound to run into traffic jams due to a $100 million PennDot road project that will widen the highway near General Potters Mills. Instead of getting frustrated sitting in traffic, we suggest pulling over at the Seven Mountain Roadside Rest Area and taking a quick hike to one of the best vistas along the 325 mile Mid State Trail!
At 330 miles, the Allegheny Trail (ALT) is West Virginia’s longest hiking trail and one of its least traveled. In September 2017, my husband and I thru-hiked the ALT as a celebration of our 5-year wedding anniversary and to explore the Mountain State we call home. In three weeks, we discovered scenic back roads, lesser known recreation areas, hidden history, and endless solitude. This three-part blog series highlights the 40-mile section of the ALT that winds its way across the new Dolly Sods & Seneca Rocks Lizard Map.
Experience Seneca Rocks without any climbing gear along a 1.5-mile hiking trail leading to an awesome observation tower.
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.
Free dispersed camping along with hiking, biking, horseback riding, and driving adventures near Gandy Creek West Virginia.
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!
Discover an array of outdoor recreation in and around Davis and Thomas West Virginia.
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!
Purple Lizard Maps gives some insight on what it takes to create a recreational map of the highest quality.