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!
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.
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!
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...
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.
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!
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.
Lower Trail is a 17-mile rail trail passage, which includes benches, covered pavilions, picnic areas, and historic signs for users to relax and enjoy the history of this area. Multiple bridges along the trail add to the adventure! Follow along as we describe this four-season public use trail!
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.
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.