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  • Bridge Over Clear Shade Creek

    Bridge Over Clear Shade Creek

    This suspension bridges hangs over Clear Shade Creek. Crossing this bridge gives you access to the smaller, southern loop of the John P. Saylor double-loop trail. The overnight shelter is located across the creek on the smaller loop.
  • A Home Away From Home

    A Home Away From Home

    This shelter is located on the southern, smaller loop of the John P. Saylor double-loop trail. Reservations are not required and there is plenty of near-by tenting space if the shelter happens to be occupied.
  • Boardwalk Over Wetlands

    Boardwalk Over Wetlands

    Even though it is located on top of the Allegheny Plateau near the Allegheny Front, there are many wet, boggy areas on this trail. In many places, boardwalks have been built to help the hiker navigate these wet areas.
  • Wolf Rocks

    Wolf Rocks

    A point of interest on this hike is Wolf Rocks. This large rock outcropping is easily accessible from the trailhead for a quick out-and-back day hike. Unfortunately, because of this easy access, graffiti can be seen on some of the larger rocks.
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John P. Saylor Trail

This trail is named after Congressman John P. Saylor, who represented Pennsylvania from 1949 to 1973. He was a conservationist with a deep concern for the environment. While in Congress, Saylor sponsored the National Scenic Trails Act and supported national wilderness preservation.


The John P. Saylor Trail is relatively flat with gradual climbs in elevation. The trail is a double loop configuration with the northern loop being about 12 miles in length and the southern loop being about 5 miles in length. The entire trail is a little over 17 miles long and can be hiked in a single day, but more typically done in two days. There is a shelter erected approximately 8.5 miles into the hike, located on the southern loop.

In the spring the trail is very wet with many springs and streams leading to marshy areas. On parts of the trail there is well preserved evidence of the former railroad grades over the swamp areas. The trail crosses Clear Shade Creek by a narrow suspension bridge into the Clear Shade wild area. You also pass through a former logging camp and will see the remnants of a splash dam.

  • Virtual Hike on the JPS

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  • Overview Map

Virtual Hike on the John P. Saylor Trail from PAHikes on Vimeo.

Join PAHikes.com for a virtual hike in Gallitzin State Forest on the John P. Saylor Trail.

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1.625 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 1.63 (4 Votes)

Spring 2012, I decided to take Shari down to hike the Bog and Boulder Trail. The Bog and Boulder Trail is part of the John P. Saylor trail system, located south of Windber, PA. These yellow blazed trails make a cross-connector between the east and west sections of the John P. Saylor Trail. They also offer unique views of highland bogs and boulder fields. With a threat of rain in the air, Shari and I were only able to explore the Bog Trail. A short hike, but highly recommended for anyone looking to do a an hour to two hour hike in the region.

1.375 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 1.38 (4 Votes)

Wanting to finish up the John P. Saylor Trail for my upcoming trail guide, I headed back to Gallitzin State Forest for the last hike of the year. I was a bit concerned because of the snow on the ground upon the Allegheny Plateau and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it to the trailhead. Upon my arrival I discovered that it wasn't snow that blocked my way to the trailhead but a locked gate. Apparently Shade Road is closed during the winter so that cross country skiers can use it during the winter. So I parked my car at the end of Shade Road and began my last hike of the year, albeit it bit longer than I had originally planned.

1.66666666667 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 1.67 (3 Votes)

It had been over 5 years ago that I had first hiked on the John P. Saylor Trail. At the time it was the longest dayhike that I had ever did, clocking in at a little over 12 miles. Recently I had started to pen trail guides for some of the trails that I've hiked and I thought the John P. Saylor Trail would be a good candidate for a guide. So I headed back to the Babcock Picnic Area to log another 12 miles on the John P. Saylor Trail, this time keeping detailed notes so that I could put together a guidebook for this great trail.

2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 2.00 (3 Votes)

In July of 2006 I ventured out onto the John P. Saylor Trail. The trail is located in Gallitzin State Forest, just south east of Johnstown on router PA56. The trail is arranged in a double loop, with a total length of about 17 miles. During my previous outing I managed to hike the larger of the two loops, doing a dayhike of 12 miles over mostly rolling terrain with a 2 mile hike along the Clear Shade Creek. This time I headed back to the John P. Saylor Trail to cross over Clear Shade Creek and complete the second and shorter loop.

2.07142857143 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 2.07 (14 Votes)

I was looking for a trail to hike around Johnstown Pennsylvania. I knew of the Laurel Highlands Trail, which I had not hiked yet, but I was more interested in a circuit hike. The John P. Saylor Trail was exactly what I wanted; a double loop trail that I could hike in one day. This trail is named after John P. Saylor, a Pennsylvania congressman from 1949 to 1973. Mr. Saylor was a conservationist that sponsored and help enact many laws during his tenure, including the National Scenic Trails Act. The trail is a 17.5 mile double loop that wanders across the Allegheny Plateau with the trailhead at the Babcock Picnic Area.