Spruce Gap Trail is a classic climb in Rothrock State Forest. It is ideal for those training for any of the ever-so-popular trail challenges that occur throughout the year in Northcentral Pennsylvania. Fitness fanatics, mountain runners, and those looking to get a good sweat on in the middle of winter will love this trail! In fact, many local outdoor enthusiasts judge themselves and their fitness levels by the time that it takes them to ascend this 1,100 foot climb from Galbraith Lot to the top of Little Flat (about 1.5 miles). 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!
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.
Adventurers looking for a one or two day hike in Quehanna Area won’t be disappointed by this loop! It is relatively flat which makes for easy hiking, with fantastic vistas and beautiful stream along the way.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The Lizard Department of Adventure offers yet another great hike suggestion for those who want to discover the beauty of Northcentral PA: Tiadaghton Trail!
In beautiful Pine Creek Valley on the Pine Creek Lizard Map lies a long forgotten trail simply called the Tiadaghton Trail. It has been recently reopened by DCNR and a small group of dedicated volunteers. The southern half of this trail, now better than ever, consists of a very steep climb along a narrow ridge, followed by a beautiful ridgetop hike, concluding with a fantastic descent into a canyon that drains to Pine Creek by Waterville. It is a strenuous hike, but one that offers many rewards!
Follow along with the Department of Adventure on a 3-mile journey to explore history, the Appalachian Trail, and beautiful vistas of Michaux State Forest. The adventure begins at the parking area at the intersection of Bunk Hill Road and Michaux Road, northwest of Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
Hikers and runners looking for a quick adventure near Route 30 need look no further than Charcoal Hearth Trail in Caledonia State Park. This trail offers various hiking surfaces, some climbing and descending, and historical significance, all bundled in a slightly less than 3-mile loop.
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!
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.
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!