Allegheny Front Trail

  • Sign at Trailhead

    Just off route PA504, also known as Rattlesnake Pike, is the trailhead for the Allegheny Front Trail. Heading south from here takes you to the Allegheny Front proper while heading north introduces you to the mult-use Rock Run trails.
  • Ralph's Majestic Vista

    One of the many views from the Allegheny Front. Ralph's Majestic Vista, along with Ralph's Pretty Good View, are the premier views from the Allegheny Front, looking south over the Bald Eagle Valley.
  • Bog at Black Moshannon

    A cross-connector trail, and a dayhike destination, the Moss Hanne Trail crosses over the upper reaches of the large bog that makes up the majority of the Black Moshannon State Park.
  • Bridge Over Rock Run

    The Allegheny Front Trail incorporates part of the Rock Run trail system. The Rock Run Trails form a double loop and can be used for hiking as well as cross-country skiing.
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The Allegheny Front Trail, or the AFT as it is commonly called, is a relatively new addition to the trails of Pennsylvania. The trail encircles Black Moshannon State Park and offers a number of vistas as well as excursions down off of the Allegheny Plateau along some very scenic mountain streams. Being nearly 42 miles in length, it is a nice trail for backpacking that could be done in as little as three days but more typically done in four or five.

A 7-mile cross-connector passes through the park, while most of the orange-blazed trail is outside the park’s boundaries. The northeastern portion intersects with several blue-blaze cross-country ski trails, known as the Rock Run trails. The trail crosses many roads, both paved and dirt, with ample parking at most crossings. Choose your trailhead and start your adventure. If 42 miles isn't something you can manage, there are many smaller hikes possible, utilizing many of the side trails and forest roads. The terrain, though challenging in places, lends itself to novice hikers and this trail is a great way for those new to backpacking to get their feet wet. More information is available on the official Allegheny Front Trail website.

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  • Side Trails of the AFT

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Hikes on the Allegheny Front Trail

Allegheny Front Trail: The Moss Hanne Trail

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The Allegheny Front Trail encircles the Black Moshannon State Park. Connecting the southern section of the AFT loop and the central section of the park is the Moss Hanne Trail. I had never hiked on this trail so I thought it was about time to check it out. I contacted Tim and we met at the park to do a shuttle hike on the Moss Hanne Trail.


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Allegheny Front Trail: Hiking Along the Front

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Encircling the Black Moshannon State Park is the Allegheny Front Trail, or the AFT as it is commonly called; a relatively new addition to the trails of Pennsylvania. The AFT is nearly 42 miles in length and offers opportunities for overnight backpacking trips as well as day hikes. There is one section of the trail that has the most elevation change; where the trails follows along the Allegheny Front. This is also where you'll find most of the vistas. It was this section of the trail that we decided to hike on a nice spring afternoon.


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Allegheny Front Trail: Entrance Trail and South Loop of Rock Run Trails

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In the northeast section of the Allegheny Front Trail, the AFT shares the trail with another group of trails commonly known as the Rock Run Trails. The Rock Run trail system is made up of five shorter trails; the Headwaters Trail, the the Ridge Trail, the Valley Trail, the Woodland Trail, and the Entrance Trail. The AFT merges with the Rock Run trail system following a short section of the Ridge Trail and all of the Headwaters Trail and Entrance Trail. This after-work hike had us walking a section of the Rock Run trail system. We decided to park at the Allegheny Front Trail trailhead along route PA504 and then hike back the Entrance Trail to the south loop of the Rock Run Trails. We would then hike around the south loop, crossing over Rock Run and returning to the Entrance Trail via the Woodland Trail.

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Shingle Mill Trail: AFT Cross-Connector

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The Allegheny Front Trail encircles Black Moshannon State Park. There is also a cross connector trail that bisects the Black Moshannon State Park. This cross connector trail consists of two trails, the Moss Hanne Trail and the Shingle Mill Trail, allowing you to hike the AFT in either a western or eastern loop. This hike was done on the cross connector, specifically the Shingle Mill Trail. This small loop used 2 miles of the Shingle Mill Trail and returned on a dirt, forest road. The Shingle Mill Trail, and this hike in particular, was flat, with only minor elevation change, and could have just as easily been hiked in comfortable walking shoes.


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Allegheny Front Trail: Five Days Hiking the AFT

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The Allegheny Front Trail, or the AFT as it is commonly called, encircles Black Moshannon State Park and offers a number of vistas as well as excursions down off of the Allegheny Plateau along some very scenic mountain streams. Being nearly 42 miles in length, it is a nice trail for backpacking that could be done in as little as three days but more typically done in four or five. Looking to hike the entire AFT, Mark and I began our hike at the intersection of route PA504 and Six Mile Run Road. The hike was planned such that we would do 5 miles of hiking the first day. The second day would be our longest day of hiking, taking us 12 miles from the banks of the Red Moshannon to the Rock Run Valley. Day 3 had us hiking 8 miles followed by another 8 mile hike on the fourth day. Our last day of hiking, which would complete the loop and bring us back to our car was to be just a little over 7 miles.

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Rock Run Trails North Loop: Finishing the Rock Run Trails

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Using a number of forest roads and side trails, the AFT lends it self to circuit hikes that can be done as a day hike. One such circuit hike is the Rock Run Trail. This trail is located along the northeast section of the AFT and is arranged in a figure eight double loop. With a number of options for different trailheads and the two loops, day hikes can range anywhere from five miles to thirteen miles in length. Having previously done the south loop, my goal for this hike was to finish the Rock Run trails by hiking the north loop.


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Rock Run Trails South Loop: A Birthday Hike

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Shari and I had decided to celebrate my birthday by heading out on the Rock Run trails and set up camp. Our intentions were to camp near the cross connector of the south and north loops. We would then use this as a base camp and hike the north loop the following day. However, there are times when things don't go as planned.


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Allegheny Front Trail: Hiking Along the Six-Mile Run

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Using a number of forest roads and side trails, the AFT lends it self to circuit hikes that can be done as a dayhike. One such circuit hike is the Six Mile Run loop. This hike follows the Allegheny Front Trail for 3 miles on the lower half of Six Mile Run and then returns on a dirt forest road. The terrain is flat, the trail is well maintained and free of obstacles, and the three miles of hiking done on dirt road make this hike one that you can easily do in well under 3 hours.


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Rock Run Trails: My First Hike on the AFT

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I had read about the Rock Run trails in various books (such as 50 Hikes in Central Pennsylvania as well as The Short Hiker: Small Green Circles) and decided to give it a try. I decided to head out to the trail after work and opted for the shorter of the two loops at Rock Run, choosing the south loop of five miles. Dude indicated earlier that he would like to do this hike as well, so I swung around his place to pick him up and we found ourselves at the trailhead at 6:30PM, ready to start our hike.


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