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 18, 2019

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 Adventure Getaways in Moshannon State Forest, PA

Winter Adventure Getaways in Moshannon State Forest, PA

January 18, 2019

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!


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 15, 2019

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

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

January 14, 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.

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

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

December 21, 2018

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!
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

December 18, 2018

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!

Caught In The Hook: Pennsylvania's Largest Natural Area

Caught In The Hook: Pennsylvania's Largest Natural Area

December 12, 2018

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!
Go Wild: National Wilderness Areas and Purple Lizard Maps

Go Wild: National Wilderness Areas and Purple Lizard Maps

November 16, 2018

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...


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

November 07, 2018

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: Go Wild In West Virginia

Otter Creek Wilderness: Go Wild In West Virginia

November 07, 2018

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. 


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

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

October 19, 2018

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.

Green Monster Loop Trail System: The Best Unknown Trail System in PA

Green Monster Loop Trail System: The Best Unknown Trail System in PA

October 15, 2018

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! 

Exploring Allegheny Trail Along Glady Fork River, WV

Exploring Allegheny Trail Along Glady Fork River, WV

October 09, 2018

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.
The Quieter Side of Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley State Parks, WV

The Quieter Side of Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley State Parks, WV

October 09, 2018

Follow along as Lizard Seeker Emily Huguenin leads us along another great adventure on the Allegheny Trail in West Virginia

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, PA: Stone Valley's Not-So-Hidden Gem

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, PA: Stone Valley's Not-So-Hidden Gem

September 25, 2018

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.
Rothrock State Forest: Peace and Serenity Only 5 Miles From Downtown State College, PA

Rothrock State Forest: Peace and Serenity Only 5 Miles From Downtown State College, PA

September 18, 2018

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!

Go For a Hike at Seven Mountain Rest Area Along Route 322 in Central PA

Go For a Hike at Seven Mountain Rest Area Along Route 322 in Central PA

September 13, 2018

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!
Bear Tracks, Bushwhacks, and Purple Lizards along the Allegheny Trail in WV

Bear Tracks, Bushwhacks, and Purple Lizards along the Allegheny Trail in WV

September 11, 2018

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.

Seneca Rocks West Virginia: Great Views, No Climbing Gear Needed

Seneca Rocks West Virginia: Great Views, No Climbing Gear Needed

July 24, 2018

Experience Seneca Rocks without any climbing gear along a 1.5-mile hiking trail leading to an awesome observation tower.
Seeking Purple Lizards At Smoke Hole, Seneca Rocks, and Spruce Knob, WV

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

July 24, 2018

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.

Car Camping and Singletrack Adventures in Gandy Creek, WV

Car Camping and Singletrack Adventures in Gandy Creek, WV

July 10, 2018

Free dispersed camping along with hiking, biking, horseback riding, and driving adventures near Gandy Creek West Virginia.
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 09, 2018

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!

Finding Purple Lizards in Davis and Thomas, West Virginia

Finding Purple Lizards in Davis and Thomas, West Virginia

July 09, 2018

Discover an array of outdoor recreation in and around Davis and Thomas West Virginia.
Seneca Creek Trail: Amazing Adventures in West Virginia

Seneca Creek Trail: Amazing Adventures in West Virginia

June 30, 2018

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 Cartography: Getting Lost in Michaux State Forest, PA

Purple Lizard Cartography: Getting Lost in Michaux State Forest, PA

June 20, 2018

Purple Lizard Maps gives some insight on what it takes to create a recreational map of the highest quality.
Spring Adventure in Quehanna Wild Area, PA: Mosquito Creek Trail Loop

Spring Adventure in Quehanna Wild Area, PA: Mosquito Creek Trail Loop

May 30, 2018

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.

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

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

May 15, 2018

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!

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

May 08, 2018

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.

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

April 05, 2018

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. 
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

March 21, 2018

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.

Tiadaghton Trail Part One: Ramsey To Waterville along Pine Creek, PA

Tiadaghton Trail Part One: Ramsey To Waterville along Pine Creek, PA

January 25, 2018

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!

Camp Michaux and Sunset Rocks: History, Vistas and More in Michaux Forest, PA

Camp Michaux and Sunset Rocks: History, Vistas and More in Michaux Forest, PA

January 05, 2018

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.

Charcoal Hearth Trail: A 3-mile Historical Hiking Loop in Caledonia State Park, PA

Charcoal Hearth Trail: A 3-mile Historical Hiking Loop in Caledonia State Park, PA

January 05, 2018

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.
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

December 23, 2017

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: Four Season Adventures in Moshannon, PA

Rockton Mountain Trails: Four Season Adventures in Moshannon, PA

December 02, 2017

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.
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

November 23, 2017

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!