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

October 04, 2022

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!

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A Weekend in Cook Forest

A Weekend in Cook Forest

October 04, 2022

The Forest Cathedral, brings back memories of childhood camping in the Sierras.  The Cathedral, found in the heart of Cook Forest State Park, is Pennsylvania’s largest and is a registered national natural landmark. Multiple different species of trees reside here, reaching 150 years old.

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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

October 04, 2022

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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Sinking into Summer in Loyalsock

Sinking into Summer in Loyalsock

August 29, 2022

Loyalsock is one of our go-to choices when we are looking for somewhere to unwind away from the world. There is something magical about this forest.  Perhaps it is the fact that "Worlds End" is literally a place name in this forest, or perhaps it's the fact that in the era of overstimulation with technology and news and. . . well everything, this is one of those increasingly rare, beautiful places where for the most part you won't have cell service.  

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Beat The Heat: Six Ways to Stay Cool On Summer Hikes

Beat The Heat: Six Ways to Stay Cool On Summer Hikes

August 29, 2022

Summer can get pretty darn hot these days, and here in the Mid-Atlantic Region keeping the basics in mind when playing outside in the summer has become an absolute necessity.  

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Outstanding Adventures Start with the Best Map: 15 Ways to Squeeze Every last drop of Adventure from your Lizard Map

Outstanding Adventures Start with the Best Map: 15 Ways to Squeeze Every last drop of Adventure from your Lizard Map

July 13, 2022

Are you an outdoor enthusiast or just looking forward to some more camping, hiking, cycling, paddling or driving adventures in the Mid-Atlantic in 2022? Check out these 15 ways to squeeze every last drop of adventure from your Purple Lizard Maps - your key to planning and enjoying fantastic outdoor adventures.

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Let the blooms begin! Wildflower season has begun in the Mid-Atlantic

Let the blooms begin! Wildflower season has begun in the Mid-Atlantic

May 25, 2022

This symphony of floral blooms begins in May and continues throughout the summer with blooms of all shapes, sizes and colors. Some flowers are fleeting and others last much longer, but spring, with its sudden explosion of flowers is the perfect time to notice these wonderful little adventure companions.

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Backpacking the Black Forest Trail in Pine Creek

Backpacking the Black Forest Trail in Pine Creek

April 26, 2022

The Black Forest Trail is a Pennsylvania classic, and considered by many to be the most difficult trail in the State, even though it is relatively short at 44 miles and very accessible, located in Tiadaghton State Forest in the Pine Creek area, also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

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Gearing Up - to Hike with Kids

Gearing Up - to Hike with Kids

February 28, 2022

In an age of seemingly perpetual “screen-time,” I find it more and more important to make time to introduce my son to nature.  I am so lucky to have parents who made sure I lived a life rich with outdoor experience, (although back in my day, electronics weren’t such a big deal), and now more than ever, I want that for my son too.  

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Caught In The Hook: Pennsylvania's Largest Natural Area

Caught In The Hook: Pennsylvania's Largest Natural Area

February 03, 2022

What exactly is a designated Natural Area? The goal is to allow nature to take its course as it would without human interruption. Rather than being managed by humans, the State allows these lands to mature and regenerate naturally. To support this goal only exploring on foot is permitted: there is no camping, campfires, bicycles or horses allowed in a designated Natural Area. All motorized vehicles are restricted to the borders and roads around the area. Only day hikers can explore within the borders. The Hook Natural Area, found on our Bald Eagle Lizard Map, is PA's largest Natural Area and offers many opportunities for a great adventure. 

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Hike Your Way Through 2022: 5 Simple Steps To Enjoy A Walk In The Woods & Keep It Safe During the Pandemic

Hike Your Way Through 2022: 5 Simple Steps To Enjoy A Walk In The Woods & Keep It Safe During the Pandemic

January 04, 2022

As the worldwide pandemic continues many folks are discovering or re-discovering the gift of exploring on public land. With proper social distancing, and masking, spending time exploring the outdoors on public land - hiking can be a safe way to connect with loved ones and the natural world.

Whether you are a beginner hiker, or getting back out there for the first time in a while, this guide will give you some simple steps to enjoying hiking safely during the pandemic and any time. 

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Share the Joy of Outdoor Adventure - Purple Lizard Gift Guide

Share the Joy of Outdoor Adventure - Purple Lizard Gift Guide

December 11, 2021

Purple Lizard: Gifts for People Who Love the Outdoors

Whether the person on your holiday shopping list is someone who would enjoy a short walk in the forest, a sunset sit at a beautiful overlook or is up for a family camping vacation, or some long distance hiking, riding or running in the forest, a single Purple Lizard Map can open the doors to all those experiences.

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Chasing Lizards: How to Plan a Spontaneous Family Outing

Chasing Lizards: How to Plan a Spontaneous Family Outing

December 06, 2021

Every trip has its ups and downs, no matter how much planning you put into it, so why not take advantage of an unexpected opportunity to get outside with your kiddos! No matter what lizard they choose, there will always be lessons learned and memories made. 

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Last One to the Top Wins: Musings of a Slow, Asthmatic Hiker

Last One to the Top Wins: Musings of a Slow, Asthmatic Hiker

July 26, 2021

The novelty and adrenaline of running my first major race unfolded before me and I suddenly realized that, in many ways, I was getting a lot more out of this than they were.

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Loyalsock Trail - Finding Trust

Loyalsock Trail - Finding Trust

June 18, 2021

I held my breath with each up and down, stopping every so often to let out some tears. The creek was rushing and beautiful this morning. The sun was bright, the sky was clear, and the temperature was perfect. Approaching the finish, I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. Before the last climb, I took one more glance at the water and smelled the pine that surrounded me. I will always belong out here. The forest took care of me this week, I will forever be thankful.

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Plan An Adventure In Quebec Run Wild Area, Pennsylvania

Plan An Adventure In Quebec Run Wild Area, Pennsylvania

April 30, 2021

Quebec Run Wild Area is an exceptional spot to recreate in southwestern Pennsylvania. Mountain bikers, hikers, backpackers, and trail runners will all love this destination.

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Blueberry Trail: Family Adventure at Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area

Blueberry Trail: Family Adventure at Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area

April 27, 2021

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

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

April 21, 2021

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.

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Sheepskin Trail and Other Great Local Paths in Uniontown, PA

Sheepskin Trail and Other Great Local Paths in Uniontown, PA

April 10, 2021

Uniontown Pennsylvania and a few surrounding municipalities having been working hard to design and implement hiking and biking paths throughout the area. Their efforts are paying off, as we learned when we visited this area to create our Ohiopyle-Laurel Highlands Lizard Map.

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Trip Report: Spring In Pine Creek Pennsylvania

Trip Report: Spring In Pine Creek Pennsylvania

April 07, 2021

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.

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Rediscovering A Forgotten Trail Loop in Pine Creek Gorge, PA

Rediscovering A Forgotten Trail Loop in Pine Creek Gorge, PA

April 05, 2021

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.

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Wolf Run Wild Area: Off-Trail Hiking In Pine Creek Gorge, PA

Wolf Run Wild Area: Off-Trail Hiking In Pine Creek Gorge, PA

March 27, 2021

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!

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Take A Walk On The Mid State Trail in Rothrock State Forest, PA

Take A Walk On The Mid State Trail in Rothrock State Forest, PA

March 18, 2021

The Mid State Trail (MST) is a long distance backpacking trail, which extends over 500 Kilometers (around 320 miles) from the southern border of Pennsylvania, through the heart of the ridge and valley region, to the northern border of Pennsylvania. Approximately 45 miles of the MST cut through Rothrock Forest. The blog below will highlight a long, dry linear stretch of the MST, which is lined with excellent vistas from near Huntingdon to Pine Grove Mills. Follow along as we lead you on a hike of the MST in Rothrock State Forest! 

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Kentuck Campground: Camping, Recreating, and Relaxing In Ohiopyle State Park, PA

Kentuck Campground: Camping, Recreating, and Relaxing In Ohiopyle State Park, PA

March 01, 2021

Ohiopyle State Park is well-known for its waterfalls, tourist facilities, and day-use activities. But there seems be be less attention given to the great camping opportunities at the park. Cue the Purple Lizard Department of Adventure to swoop in to fill the void. Follow below as we present a quick teaser of just a handful of less popular, yet maybe more rewarding, options that you can experience this year when you visit Ohiopyle State Park.

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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

February 17, 2020

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.

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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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Take A Hike: 5 Steps To Enjoy A Walk In The Woods

Take A Hike: 5 Steps To Enjoy A Walk In The Woods

December 23, 2019

Never been a hiker but ready to give it a try, or haven't been in the woods in decades but want to get back out there?  Or maybe you have some friends new to hiking?  This guide serves as a reminder that hitting the trails can be easy with just a little bit of planning.

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