Mid State Trail - State College Region

The State College Region covers the section of the Mid State Trail (MST) from route US22 near the town of Alexandria, PA to R.B. Winter State Park. This region contains the birthplace of the Mid State Trail, marked by a monument to Dr. Thomas Thwaites, just south of State College, PA. In this region you will pass through a number of State Parks and natural areas. This section of the trail also passes through the only tunnel on the trail, located just east of Poe Paddy State Park.






Hikes in the State College Region of the MST

Mid State Trail: Circuit Hike on the MST and Little Shingletown Road

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One trail that I had not yet hiked in Rothrock State Forest was the Little Shingletown Trail. This trail is used quite a bit by mountain bikers and also makes for a good cross-country ski trail as it use to be an old forest road. It connects Pine Swamp Road in Hubler Gap with Laurel Run Road at the top of Tussey Mountain. For this hike Mike, Tim, Dan and I did a circuit hike that included the Little Shingletown Trail, Musser Trail and the Mid State Trail on a sunny and relatively mild Sunday in November.


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Mid State Trail: Hiking the Ironstone Trail - Part Two

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The Ironstone Trail is comprised of various trails within Rothrock State Forest and the Penn State Stone Valley Forest. It is a spur of the Mid State Trail in the State College Region. This was our second hike on the Ironstone Trail, starting at the Beaver Pond near the trail's intersection with the Mid State Trail. Shari, Mike and I hiked the remaining 5 miles on a sunny, fall day, ending at the Stone Valley Recreation Area where we finished our first hike of the Ironstone Trail. With little elevation change and a well maintained trail, this hike was a great way to spend an autumn afternoon.


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Mid State Trail: Hiking the Ironstone Trail - Part One

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The Ironstone Trail is comprised of various trails within Rothrock State Forest and the Penn State Stone Valley Forest. It is a spur of the Mid State Trail in the State College Region. Starting at the intersection of Crownover Trail and the Mid State Trail, the Ironstone Trail descends the south flank of Tussey Mountain on the Indian Steps. It then climbs up Leading Ridge and follows it before heading south towards Lake Perez. Once in the valley it turns left and parallels Shaver Creek until it meets back with the Mid State Trail south of Jo Hays Vista. This was the first after work hike with Mike and the first of two hikes to complete the entire Ironstone Trail.


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Mid State Trail: Vistas Galore

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Kevin Busko, Regional Manager of the State College section of the Mid State Trail, suggested I do a hike on the MST between Barre and PA Furnace Road. He said that I would be impressed with the views and vistas on this section of the trail, some of the best on the Mid State according to him. I maintain a section of the Mid State Trail from PA Furnace Road to Ewing Path and I know there are some nice views on that section. I was intrigued to see these great views, plus the fact that the Keystone Trails Association had recently had a trail care weekend on this section of the Mid State Trail. So I figured I'd venture up onto Tussey Mountain to hike a recently cleared trail and to check out the views and vistas.


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Mid State Trail: Conquering Long Mountain

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It took a bit of bribery, but I finally got my son to agree to do a hike. Figuring it would be a bit more enjoyable for him, I arranged for a friend of his, plus his Dad, to join us on the the hike. Throw in my buddy Dan and we had the makings of a great Sunday afternoon hike. Destination: the Mid State Trail from Stillhouse Hollow to the roadside rest along route US322.


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Mid State Trail: From Indian Steps to Jo Hays Vista

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Tim and I have been trying to hike the entire section of the Mid State Trail within the State College Region. We had a rather large hole in our plans, namely the MST from Indian Steps to Jo Hays Vista. Our first after work hike of the year had us filling that hole. So with a car parked at Jo Hays Vista, Tim and I headed down to the start of Indian Steps and filled in this section of the Mid State Trail.


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Mid State Trail: Hiking From Penn Roosevelt to US322

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The Mid State Trail makes its way across the ridge tops in Rothrock State Forest. Just south of State College, the ridges double back on themselves, making a depression known as Bear Meadows. As Mid State Trail follows the ridgeline in this area, the hiker is presented with many breath taking views of Bear Meadows. The best view on this section of the trail is known as the Indian Wells Vista. This was the destination of our latest hike on the MST.


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Mid State Trail: Bear Meadows to Penn Roosevelt State Park

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The Mid State Trail makes its way across the ridge tops in Rothrock State Forest. Just south of State College, the ridges double back on themselves, making a depression known as Bear Meadows. As Mid State Trail follows the ridgeline in this area, the hiker is presented with many breath taking views of Bear Meadows. The best view on this section of the trail is known as the Indian Wells Vista. This was the destination of our latest hike on the MST.


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Mid State Trail: Laurel Run Road to Gettis Ridge

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The Mid State Trail makes its way across the ridge tops in Rothrock State Forest. Just south of State College, the ridges double back on themselves, making a depression known as Bear Meadows. As Mid State Trail follows the ridgeline in this area, the hiker is presented with many breath taking views of Bear Meadows. The best view on this section of the trail is known as the Indian Wells Vista. This was the destination of our latest hike on the MST.


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Mid State Trail: Following the Ridgeline from Jo Hays Vista to Shingletown Gap

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Living in Central PA, I am lucking to have many of Pennsylvania's finest hiking trails within a short drive of less than 2 hours. One of these fine hiking trails is not even 15 minutes away: the Pennsylvania Mid State Trail. I've hiked almost all of the MST in Central PA and it is one of my favorite hiking trails. Not only do I enjoy hiking the Mid State Trail, but I also enjoy sharing its wonders with those that haven't hiked it. And once you start hiking the trail, you'll soon find your self wanting to discover all of its wonders and hike as much of the trail as you possibly can.


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Mid State Trail: Hiking Ewing Path to PA Furnace Road

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Back when I began hiking I was interested in getting involved with the trails of Pennsylvania. One of the first things I did after I started hiking was to joining the Mid State Trail Association and requested to be a trail overseer. I was appointed a section of the Mid State Trail just south of the Pennsylvania Furnace Road. It was spring time and I needed to check out the trail to see what needed to be done. I asked Tim if he'd be interested in hiking this section of the trail with me. He agreed and our first after-work hike of the season was on the section of the MST that I maintain.


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Mid State Trail: Woodward Gap Road to Route PA45

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About 2 years ago I ventured into Woodward Gap to explore the trails and do a hike on the Mid State Trail. This was in December, and with snow and ice on the ground, that hike was cut short and I promised to come back at a later date to continue my exploring. On a relatively mild, late October day, I managed to get back to Woodward Gap to visit a section of the Mid State Trail.


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Mid State Trail: Poe Paddy to Woodward Gap Road

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As the Mid State Trail descends from Long Mountain it passes through Poe Paddy State Park. Hiking along the trail for another half mile and you will cross Penns Creek on an old train trestle and immediately after that you'll pass through the only tunnel found on any hiking trail in Pennsylvania. After passing through the tunnel you'll follow the Penn Central Railroad grade as it follows the banks of Penns Creek. All of this was experienced within the first mile of our latest hike on the Mid State Trail. Looking to put more of the Mid State Trail under our belt, Tim and I took some time off work to do our next hike of eight plus miles from Poe Paddy State Park to Woodward Gap.


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Mid State Trail: Climbing the Indian Steps

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Branching off of the Mid State Trail near PA Furnace Road, passing through the Stone Valley Recreation Area, and reconnecting with the MST near the Beaver Pond on Shaver's Creek is the blue-blazed Ironstone Trail. At the start of the trail is a section known as the Indian Steps. Probably not built by indians, these steps made of stone climb up the south face of Tussey Mountain. Having hiked in the area for over four years, I had not to date ventured onto the Indian Steps. This all changed with our latest after-work hike outing.


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Mid State Trail: Winter Hiking in Muttersbaugh Gap and Ben Jacobs Trail

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An event that typically occurs every year that I always look forward to is the January thaw. This is a day or more where the temperatures climb above freezing and offer a glimpse of the upcoming spring and a break from the cold weather. During the January thaws I try to get out a do a day hike. In January of 2007 I hiked in the Shingletown Gap area. During the thaw of January 2008 I hiked a small section of the Standing Stone Trail. Then in January of 2009 I didn't hike. We did not have a January thaw this year. I was getting tired of the cold weather and could have really appreciated a nice outing. However, all hope was not lost as our January thaw did arrive, albeit a little late. During the early part of the second week of February we received our January thaw in Central Pennsylvania. When the temperatures were forecasted to reach sixty during the middle of the week, I decided that I had to take some vacation time from work and go out and get in my annual January thaw hike.


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Mid State Trail: Hiking the Greenwood Spur

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The plan seemed simple. Meet Friday night at Jo Hays Vista, set up camp, and hike 23 miles over the weekend. Of course things never go as planned. Throw in some rain (and a guy, me, that's not too fond of sleeping in a tent in the rain) and a vehicle stuck in the mud, and plans get changed. Luckily the weather wasn't all that bad, my car was extracted from the mud, and we did get a nice weekend hike in, with some of us hiking a little further than others.


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Mid State Trail: Jo Hays Vista and Jackson Trail

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I had an overnight backpacking event coming up with some fellow hikers. We were planning on doing a hike on a section of the Mid State Trail and the Greenwood spur. Since I lived the closest, it was up to me to scout out our campsites. I was familiar with one of our campsites, but the first night's site was on a section of the MST that I had not hiked yet. So on a chilly Wednesday afternoon, Shari and I headed out to Jo Hays Vista to trek down the south side of Tussey Mountain and see what camping areas were available.


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Mid State Trail: Hiking Little Flat to Indian Wells and Back

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This is an easily accessible section of the Mid State Trail that isn't all that difficult to hike. This out-and-back hike sees very little elevation change and has many views that look down upon the Bear Meadows Natural Area. Just a little over 4 miles in length, we did this hike after work, treating two fellow employees that were in the area on business to the natural beauty of Pennsylvania.


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Mid State Trail: Poe Paddy to Poe Valley

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The weather in November 2006 was a lot different than the previous year. Temperatures last November were, for the most part, around average. We also had a number of days where we had snow on the ground. However, November 2006 saw temperatures well above average and because of this, there wasn't any snow to be found. Of course this made it ideal to get out and do some hiking. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Shari and I decided to take advantage of this nice weather. We decided on a hike along the Mid State Trail, continuing from where we left off this past May. The hike would be a little over 7 miles with half of this mileage being on the Mid State Trail between Poe Valley and Poe Paddy State Parks.

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Mid State Trail: My First Stroll on the Greenwood Spur

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The Great Eastern Trail is a new trail that stretches approximately 1,600 miles from Florida to New York. Though not entirely completed, the Great Eastern Trail (GET) uses many trails already in existence such as the Pinhoti Trail, Cumberland Trail, Tuscarora Trail, Link Trail, Mid State Trail, and the North Country Trail. One of the shorter connecting trails found along the length of the GET is the Greenwood Spur of the Mid State Trail. The Greenwood Spur connects the Link Trail at Greenwood State Park to the Mid State Trail along Detweiler Run in the Detweiler Natural Area. This short connecting trail was the focus of this latest hike.


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Mid State Trail: Stillhouse Hollow to Poe Valley State Park

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Back on April 17th, 2004, Shari, Mark, Cathey, Jodi and I set out to hike the Mid State Trail from Penn Roosevelt State Park to Poe Valley State Park. This was the first overnight hike that Shari and I had been on in a number of years. The hike took a toll on us and we had to bail from the trip, not being able to finish the hike with the others. On the drive out of the woods that day both Shari and I vowed to come back and finish this hike. We weren't going to let the trail defeat us.


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Mid State Trail: Jo Hays Vista to Laurel Run Road

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At some point in my life, I would like to be able to say that I hiked the entire Mid State Trail, from Maryland to New York. My short term goal it to hike the trail in sections: first the State College section, followed by the Woolrich section, then Tioga, and finally Everett. As for the State College section, previous to this hike I had completed a large portion from Pennsylvania Furnace to Poe Valley. One section that I was missing was the area from Musser Gap to Shingletown Gap. This hike filled in those 'gaps' and I've now hiked over 35 contiguous miles of the Mid State Trail.


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Mid State Trail: Pennsylvania Furnace Road to Jo Hays Vista

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Mark has managed to hike the Mid State Trail from Jo Hays Vista on route PA26 to Blackwell. Towards the south end, he would like to complete the trail down to Water Street, which leaves him with about 20 miles to hike on the Mid State south of Jo Hays Vista. I haven't hiked nearly as much of the Mid State as Mark has (yet) so I told him that I wanted to hike the section from Water Street to Jo Hays with him. So on a nice Thursday afternoon, Mark and I took an afternoon off of work, and along with Shari and Storm, completed 5 of the remaining 20 miles of the Mid State Trail south of Jo Hays Vista.


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Mid State Trail: Pennsylvania Furnace Road to Ewing Path

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I was given the opportunity to maintain a section of the Mid State Trail system. The section that I would be maintaining is located south west of State College, a short section of about 2 miles in length, extending from the intersection of the Pennsylvania Furnace Road and the intersection with Ewing Path. I had never hiked this section of the Mid State before and decided to take a little outing to see what the trail was like. Shari and I put on our hiking boots and headed out to see what condition the trail was in and enjoy the sunshine on one of the last days of winter.


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Mid State Trail: Trail Maintenance on the Jackson Trail

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The weather forecast for November 12th was sunny, zero percent chance of any precipitation, and highs reaching the lower 60s. It's not often that you get temperatures like this in November, so earlier in the week I had decided to take a hike out Jackson Trail to do some trail maintenance; probably the last of the season. A few weeks earlier we had an early snow fall. The snow was wet and very heavy, and with there still being leaves on the trees, there were a number of trees and limbs downed around the area. I had expected that there would be a good deal of trail clean up needed on Jackson Trail and I didn't want it to wait until spring.


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Mid State Trail: The Jackson Trail

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The Jackson Trail is located on top of Tussey Mountain where route PA26 crosses, so access to the trail is very easy. The trail continues for approximately 3 miles across the ridge line of Tussey Mountain. The Mid State Trail descends Tussey Mountain at the trailhead of Jackson Trail and meets back up at the end. If you are hiking the Mid State Trail and don't need water, I would recommend hiking the Jackson Trail. As of September 2005, the Mid State Trail is temporarily rerouted on the Jackson Trail because of major blow downs in the valley below caused by Hurricane Ivan last year. Hopefully these blow downs will be cleared and the Mid State Trail will be reopened next spring.

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Mid State Trail: Indian Wells to Penn Roosevelt State Park

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Recently I had completed a hike from Laurel Run Road to Big Flat. Along the way I passed Indian Wells; a magnificent vista with views of the Bear Meadows Nature Area as well as many mountains to the south and east. Just 800 feet from Indian Wells there was this nice campsite that I thought would be a perfect place to spend a short overnight. I wanted to complete the hike from Big Flat to Penn Roosevelt, so I invited Shari to spend the night camping on top of Big Flat and to hike the 7 miles from Indian Wells to Penn Roosevelt.


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Mid State Trail: Hiking Little Flat to Big Flat

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It was a nice August day, so I decided to take a stroll on the Mid State Trail. I was looking for something that was not all that strenuous and decided on the hike from Little Flat to Big Flat. After a recent visit to the fire tower on Little Flat I had noticed that the Mid State Trail from Laurel Run Road to Little Flat had been relocated, so I decided to add this additional mile of the Mid State Trail onto my hike this afternoon. This was my first hike from Little Flat to Big Flat and the views were as amazing as everyone had said they would be.


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Mid State Trail: Penn Roosevelt to Poe Valley

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Ok, let me start by admitting that the title of this hike "Mid State Trail from Penn Roosevelt to Poe Valley" is somewhat misleading. It's true that the part of the Mid State Trail that we hiked did indeed run from Penn Roosevelt to Poe Valley, however some of us on this hike, myself included, did not make it to our final destination of Poe Valley. This was to be my second hike since I was a teenager (some 17 years earlier) and my first overnight hike since then. This was also Shari's first hike in about as many years as well. This is going to set the stage for the ending of this hike; novices on a long hike over rough terrain.


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