Caught In The Hook: Pennsylvania's Largest Natural Area

Caught In The Hook: Pennsylvania's Largest Natural Area

November 20, 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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Explore Loyalsock State Forest in the PA Wilds

Explore Loyalsock State Forest in the PA Wilds

November 04, 2022

Loyalsock State Forest, located in the heart of the PA Wilds has just about everything that an outdoors lover could want. Waterfalls, vistas, trails, forest roads, swimming holes, historical relics, camping sites; this forest has it all!

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Prime Time For Elk: PA Elk Scenic Drive and A Quehanna Wild Area Adventure

Prime Time For Elk: PA Elk Scenic Drive and A Quehanna Wild Area Adventure

October 04, 2022

Elk are truly majestic animals, and they're really big! Cows weigh about 500 lbs and Bulls can weigh up to 700 lbs. Since elk populations move frequently, the best ways to find elk are to drive or hike throughout their range. Purple Lizard's newest map, Moshannon-Quehanna, highlights hundreds of miles of roads and trails in the heart of elk country.

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Exploring the Northern Frontier of Bald Eagle State Forest: Millheim to Mile Run, PA

Exploring the Northern Frontier of Bald Eagle State Forest: Millheim to Mile Run, PA

October 04, 2022

Purple Lizard takes you on a drive through the backroads of Bald Eagle State Forest, one of the most remote forests in Pennsylvania.

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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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Gravel is Good! Gravel Cycling Near Black Moshannon State Park, PA

Gravel is Good! Gravel Cycling Near Black Moshannon State Park, PA

October 04, 2022

Gravel riding is a popular pastime for the right reasons: Cyclists can enjoy an outdoor adventure on roadways without terrifying traffic or distracted drivers. Black Moshannon State Park and Moshannon State Forest offer rewarding rides for those looking challenging loops! This area is also a fantastic place for beginner riders to sharpen their skills.

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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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Exploring the Hidden Center of Bald Eagle State Forest: Millheim to Weikert, PA

Exploring the Hidden Center of Bald Eagle State Forest: Millheim to Weikert, PA

August 05, 2022

Purple Lizard takes you on a drive through the backroads of Bald Eagle State Forest, one of the most remote forests in Pennsylvania.

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Exploring the Southern Frontier of Bald Eagle State Forest: Milroy to Millheim, PA

Exploring the Southern Frontier of Bald Eagle State Forest: Milroy to Millheim, PA

August 05, 2022

Purple Lizard takes you on a drive through the backroads of Bald Eagle State Forest, one of the most remote forests in Pennsylvania.  Whether you plan to hike, bike, camp or just plain explore this forest is for you.

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A Summer Evening on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail

A Summer Evening on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail

July 13, 2022

Take a summer evening family ride along the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail -  a lovely stretch of rail trail that runs between Mifflinburg PA and Lewisburg PA. If you are in Central Pennsylvania and are looking for a quick, family friendly rail trail ride to get your wheels under you and your crew this summer, this is a great option. 

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Purple Lizard's Pine Creek Rail Trail Ice Cream Tour

Purple Lizard's Pine Creek Rail Trail Ice Cream Tour

June 29, 2022

Purple Lizard is always looking for a new twist on adventuring, and this time we found the perfect blend of summer fun. There is a lot of ice cream available on the Pine Creek Rail Trail (PCRT), but how many of us have experienced all of the ice cream on the PCRT? Our Trail Guru and a couple friends have, and they are more than happy to share the gravel regarding the PCRT.

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Make Your Own Adventure with the Tuscarora Lizard Map

Make Your Own Adventure with the Tuscarora Lizard Map

April 21, 2022

The Tuscarora State Forest in central Pennsylvania sprawls across six counties between Huntingdon and Lewistown in the north and Carlisle to the south. You’ll find remote roads and trails, mountain creeks, long ridgetop views and quiet waterside rests - everything you need for fantastic outdoor adventures. There is also a tremendous amount of Native and Colonial history on this map. You’ll find roads that follow Native footpaths developed thousands of years ago, covered bridges from the 1800s, springs built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, and some of the most beautiful farm valleys in the state.

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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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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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FKT on the SST with Keith Querry

FKT on the SST with Keith Querry

April 22, 2021

Is this something you usually do alone, or do you have some other people to trail run with?     Most of my training is done alone, I really enjoy the solitude. At the same time I love the race day atmosphere. Being able to run with friends on the trail and being able to hang out with everyone before and after is the greatest.

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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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Spring Hunting Season in PA: How To Safely Enjoy Public Land

Spring Hunting Season in PA: How To Safely Enjoy Public Land

March 31, 2021

After a long, dark, and cold winter, outdoor enthusiasts are eager to get outside and adventure in the woods of Pennsylvania. Many folks eagerly await the opening of spring turkey gobbler season. It's a good idea to assume hunters will be sharing the woods with you while you are engaged in your outdoor adventures from pre-dawn to post-dusk Monday through Saturday. Everyone has the right to enjoy the woods safely, and there are some basic rules for risk mitigation during the spring hunting season that should be respected. 

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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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Finding Sanity - On Two Wheels

Finding Sanity - On Two Wheels

December 29, 2020

Our family and friends found sanity from the pandemic on our bikes, from buttery singletrack to family-friendly Rail Trails to snowy forest roads. Here are some of our favorite sanity-inducing locales this year...

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Paddling Pine Creek Pennsylvania

Paddling Pine Creek Pennsylvania

June 05, 2020

Pine Creek Pennsylvania offers a paddling experience you won't forget. The creek winds through Pine Creek Gorge, the famous "Grand Canyon of PA", a beautiful weaving stretch of water which cuts deeply through the Allegheny Mountains in North Central PA as it heads south toward the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

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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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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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Rock Run Trail System: Enjoying Moshannon State Forest, PA, on Skis

Rock Run Trail System: Enjoying Moshannon State Forest, PA, on Skis

January 10, 2020

Originally built as a cross-country ski trail system with help from Ralph Seeley and Tom Thwiates, this trail system is also part of the Allegheny Front Trail (backpacking loop), and includes orange, yellow, and blue-blazed trails. This is a beautiful, but remote and advanced cross country ski trail, so if you're looking for some adventurous terrain, the 8-mile or 12-mile loops are perfect! Beginners can also enjoy this area!

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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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