Rothrock State Forest

This state forest resides within the counties of Huntingdon, Mifflin, and Centre. Known mostly for it's "Seven Mountains", the Rothrock State Forest holds a lot of history, beauty, as well as many trails. The best known trail is the Mid State Trail that runs the length of Rothrock but there are many more trails to be found within it's borders.



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The majority of trails within Rothrock are multi-use trails; used by hikers and mountain bikers alike. And with the numerous forest roads you can easily create your own circuit hike of any length. Trails such as the Longberger, John Wert, Jean Aron, Tussey Mountain, Wild Cat, Sassafras, and many other await your exploration. And while you are exploring Rothrock State Forest, don't forget to check out it's many natural areas such as Bear Meadows, Detweiler, Alan Seeger, and Thickhead to name a view, as well as the Greenwood Furnace and Penn Roosevelt State Parks.

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A Steep Climb and a Thunderstorm in Rothrock State Forest
Rothrock State Forest
For our tenth hike, the Restek Ramblers headed back into Rothrock State Forest. We were in Galbraith Gap for a climb to the top of Little Flat to see the fire tower and take in one of the Bear Meadow Vistas. Our hike would take us up Spruce Gap Trail, quite a challenge of a climb, across little flat, and then down Old Laurel Run Trail. We would cr...
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Bugs On Top of Thickhead Mountain
Rothrock State Forest
The Restek Ramblers ninth hike of the season had us climbing Thickhead Mountain. Our adventure started with us parking along Thickhead Mountain road, near the intersection of this road and the John Wert Path. The John Wert Path is gated here as it is also an access road to a camp located here. We headed back the John Wert Path for a little over a t...
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A Beautiful Spring Hike Along Detweiler Run
Rothrock State Forest
The eight hike for the Restek Ramblers had us hiking along Detweiler Run. This hike followed the Greenwood Spur of the Mid State Trail down along Detweiler Run and then through the Alan Seeger Natural Area. We then looped back around, following the forest roads back to our parked cars. Their were six of us on this hike and we parked our cars at th...
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A Wet Hike at Bear Meadows
Rothrock State Forest
The second after work hike for the Restek Ramblers had us heading up to Bear Meadows. We met at the Rothrock Forest Access parking area in Galbraith Gap where we piled into a fewer number of cars before heading to the trailhead proper. We started our hike at the parking are near the intersection of Bear Meadows Road and the gated North Meadows Roa...
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Hikes on Rothrock State Forest Trails

Taking a Short Hike on the Dutch Alvin Trail

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On a hike a couple years ago I came across Rich Wertz in Cooper's Gap doing trail work. He informed me of a new trail he was blazing in order to replace the highly eroded Chestnut Spring Trail. Fast forward a few years and I spied the trail sign for the Dutch Alvin Trail posted along Chestnut Spring Road. On a nice spring afternoon, I decided to head out after work and take a short hike on the Dutch Alvin Trail.




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Taking a Short Hike on the Dutch Alvin Trail-2

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On a hike a couple years ago I came across Rich Wertz in Cooper's Gap doing trail work. He informed me of a new trail he was blazing in order to replace the highly eroded Chestnut Spring Trail. Fast forward a few years and I spied the trail sign for the Dutch Alvin Trail posted along Chestnut Spring Road. On a nice spring afternoon, I decided to head out after work and take a short hike on the Dutch Alvin Trail.




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Trekking into Musser Gap on Snowshoes

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The Winter of 2014. Very frigid temperatures and for the mountains around State College, quite a bit of snow. It was late February and we had a break from the cold temperatures, a thaw almost, which presented me with an opportunity to get out for a winter hike. I knew the snow would be deep in the mountains, so I decided to take my snowshoes along. Snowshoeing is quite a bit more strenuous than just hiking and I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew. With the snowshoes in the back of the PAHikes mobile, I headed out to Musser Gap for a snowshoe outing.


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The Chute Trail in Rothrock State Forest

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This past summer there was quite a bit of trail rework being done to the Chute Trail. I had not had the opportunity to hike on the trail once the rework was done. With a rather warm December day in store, I decided to head out and take a look at the trail. Toss in the Old Laurel Run Trail, Kettle Trail, and Lonberger Path and I had the makings of a nice winter hike.





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Tussey Mountain Trail: Searching Out the Shingle Path

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Driving down Treaster Kettle Road, from Bear Meadows towards Colyer Lake, there is a sign along the edge of the road indicating the crossing of the Shingle Path. I had hiked this trail back in 2005 on a snowshoeing adventure and then it was obliterated during the Rothrock Forest Fire in 2006. Seeing this sign indicated to me that someone reestablished the trail through the burn area. So for this lateste hike, I decide to follow my snowshoeing route from 2005 and check out the new Shingle Path.



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Bear Meadows Hike in the Summer

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Interestingly enough, all the hikes that I have done on the Bear Meadows Trail have been during the winter months. The trail is ideal for hiking in the winter, with its lack of hills and well groomed trails. But the Bear Meadows Bog has a lot to offer in the summer months as well. In particular, during the later part of summer, are the numerous blueberry bushes that are bursting with ripe blueberries. Towards the end of July Mike and I decided to head out to Bear Meadows and do a summer hike on the Bear Meadows Trail.

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Dog Town Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park

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The Greenwood Furnace State Park is located within Rothrock State Forest. Located at this state park are the remnants of the "Age of Iron" with the iron smelting furnace and various other buildings needed to support such an endeavor. Also at the park is a small lake for fishing and swimming and of course a number of hiking trails. On this particular outing I guided a group of teenagers that were part of the Mifflin County Envirothon group, which happened to include my son. I was happy to take him and his friends on a hike into the woods to not only enjoy nature but give them the opportunity to brush up on their floral and fauna identification skills.

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Checking Out the Multi-Use New Laurel Run Trail

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The Laurel Run Trail from Little Flat to Laurel Run Road use to follow a pole line. The trail was straight, steep in some places, and quite eroded. Last year a new, rerouted trail was put in to alleviate the erosion on the trail and to make it a more enjoyable to use. After what seemed like an eternal winter, we finally got some spring like weather and an opportunity to do a hike after work. For our first after work hike, Shari and I decided to head up to Little Flat and check out the New Laurel Run Trail.

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Short Dayhike on the Chestnut Spring Trail

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At the intersection of Brush Ridge Trail and Chestnut Spring Road, the Chestnut Spring Trail descends from the ridge and crosses the road, following the banks of Chestnut Spring Creek as it makes its way to Standing Stone Creek. Used mostly by bikers, I thought this section of the trail would make a nice, short day hike. On a warm summer weekend, Shari and I headed out to Chestnut Spring to investigate this trail.

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Hiking the Croyle Run Trail and Gettis Ridge

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On top of Big Flat in Rothrock State Forest, there is a trail that branches off Greenlee Road. I have driven past the trail many times and often wondered where the trail went. In mid-June, during the blooming of the Mountain Laurel, Tim and I decided to head up to Big Flat and investigate this trail.


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Thickhead Mountain: Steep Climb Up, Easy Walk Down

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There is a grassy forest road that climbs the southern and western flanks of Thickhead Mountain where it connects with Detweiler Road near McKinney Spring on the top. I have wanted to hike this road and see McKinney Spring but I couldn't find a good trail to use to make a circuit hike out of it. I had thought that the Shingle Path that climbs Thickhead Mountain was long ago engulfed in brush and forgotten. I was happy to discover that I was wrong. With a steep climb up the cleared Shingle Path I was able to finally do a circuit hike on Thickhead Mountain Road.

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Checking Out the Sassy Pig Trail in Rothrock State Forest

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Living near the Rothrock State Forest, I am presented with plenty of opportunities to do small day hikes in the forest. I am also lucky enough to have a forest that is full of trails. Most of these trails are not designated hiking trails. Instead these trails are maintained by a community of mountain bikers. This past weekend I had the opportunity to hike on a mountain biking trail, and I must admit, it was one of the more pleasurable day hikes that I have done in a long while.

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Hiking the Mountain Bike Trails of Coopers Gap

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The northern reaches of Rothrock State Forest extend into Centre, Huntingdon, and Mifflin Counties. Unfortunately the trails in the Rothrock that are located within the boundaries of Mifflin County are neglected by all but mountain bikers. I looked to remedy that in late March by hiking some of the mountain biking trails and introducing these fines trails to the hiking community. There was a circuit hike of about 5 miles that I have been wanting to do for over six years. It was this circuit hike that Dan and I explored on the last sunny but chilly weekend of March.

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KTA 2010 Fall Meeting Hike in Rothrock State Forest

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The Fall 2010 Keystone Trails Association meeting was held in Milroy this year. Hikes for this meeting were to be held on the surrounding trails in Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests. Since I hiked many of the trails in the region, I offered to lead a hike in Rothrock. The hike that I lead followed the many mountain bike trails around the Buck and Brush Ridge area.

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Revisiting Buck and Brush Ridge

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A number of years ago I had hiked these trails, back when the trails weren't well maintained. I was notified that the trails were now maintained and easy to follow, but I hadn't had a chance to head out and check out the new trails. With plans of leading a hike on these trails in the fall, I decided to do an after work hike and see if the trails were indeed cleared and maintained enough to lead a fall hike here.

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Tussey Mountain Trail: Huckleberries Along The Trail

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Tussey Mountain Trail is a favorite of the local mountain biking scene. Because of this, it makes for a very nice hiking trail, free of obstacles, and aside for the fact that it is situatead on top of a ridge, you can follow it very easily without the need of blazes. This was the destination for our latest after work hike: a shuttle hike from Bear Meadows to the gas pipeline crossing of Treaster Kettle Road.


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Hiking in the Detweiler and Alan Seeger Natural Areas

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Just south of State College, Pennsylvania can be found the Rothrock State Forest. Located within Rothrock State Forest are a number of natural areas and wild areas. These designated areas have limits placed on them with regards to forestry and recreation. The purpose of a natural area or a wild area is to keep the woods as primitive and primeval as possible. Two such areas, the Detweiler and Alan Seeger Natural Areas were the focus of this hike.

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Another Snowshoeing Adventure in Galbraith Gap

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This winter is an oddity compared to most recent winters. This winter we actually got some snow. And with snow comes the opportunity to snow shoe. Much more strenuous then hiking, but more fun as well, snow shoeing requires a good 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground. With a recent snow storm, we were lucky enough to end up with over 12 inches of snow laying on the ground. Not wanting to miss an opportunity like this one, I decided to take a day off work and venture out into the woods of Rothrock State Forest and do some snow shoeing.

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Bear Meadows Variation Hike: Hiking the Jean Aron Path and Tuxedo Trail

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Bear Meadows was designated a natural area in 1966. Located in Rothrock State Forest, Bear Meadows is one of the largest fresh water bogs in the east. Unlike the bogs of Canada, the bog at Bear Meadows was not touched by the glaciers of the last ice age supporting a variety of plants over the past 10,000 years. Bear Meadows is a great place to explore and the Bear Meadows Trail that loops around the bog is a great place to start. However, this hike was a slight variation of the typical Bear Meadows hike as we explored some of the trails and ridgelines to the northeast of Bear Meadows.

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An Alternate Hike on the Tussey Mountain Trail

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Back in 2006 there a was forest fire in Rothrock State Forest. The fire burned up the south face of Tussey Mountain and then spread to the north face. Running across the top of the mountain was the Tussey Mountain Trail which I had snow-shoed just that previous winter, but now was obliterated by the fire. The trail was reopened in the fall of 2006 and I had never been back to see how the trail and the forest were recovering. An urge to revisit the area overcame me during the second week of July, so three years later I decided to hike the Tussey Mountain Trail to see the burn area.

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Discovering the Long Mountain Trail

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There is a trail that connects Penn Roosevelt State Park to the Alan Seeger Natural Area via a route over Grass Mountain. Curiously enough, this trail is not called Grass Mountain Trail but is called Long Mountain Trail. Long Mountain runs from Muttersbaugh Gap, about 3 miles east of Penn Roosevelt and ends near Poe Paddy State Park. My guess is that this is the only remaining section of what was once a longer trail, one that actually traversed Long Mountain.

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Old Laurel Run and Spruce Gap Trails in Rothrock S.F.

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This hike was a slight modification of the hike I did back on National Trails Day in June of 2006. On that day in early summer of 2006 the temperatures were in the low sixties with overcast skies. On this late April day in 2009, the skies were brilliant blue and temperatures were in the mid to upper eighties. Regardless of the warm temperatures, when you are presented with such a beautiful day so early in the season you have to take advantage of it, and that's exactly what I did with this invigorating hike.

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Alan Seeger Natural Area: A Great Place to Hike With Kids

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I often get asked about hikes that are good for children. There are a number of hikes in Central PA that are good hikes for children. The Alan Seeger Natural happens to be one of my favorite leisurely strolls when I just want to get out, and at less than a mile in length and never over 50 feet in elevation gain, this is a great hike for kids. Toss in huge trees, rhododendron tunnels, bridges, and a creek, and this hike is a hit for kids of all ages.

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Exploring in Musser Gap

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The Shingletown Gap area is a popular place for hiking, biking, or just going for a stroll. The Shingletown Gap area is also a popular starting point for those wanting to explore the Rothrock State Forest. But with popularity comes over use, erosion, and general neglect by those that don't appreciate the trails or the out of doors. In an effort to ease the overuse of the Shingletown Gap area, Clearwater Conservancy jumped at an opportunity to purchase a tract of land just 1.5 miles west of Shingletown. The area, known as Musser Gap, was then transferred to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and became the latest edition to the Rothrock State Forest. This new access point will provide another gateway to the popular state forest and will hopefully alleviate some of the traffic with in the Shingletown Gap area. Of course it isn't every day that new land is added to the public domain, so Shari and I decided to hike up into Musser Gap to see the new edition to the Rothrock State Forest.

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Snowshoeing in Galbraith Gap

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In December of 2005, I borrowed a pair of snow shoes from a friend. After my first outing, I was hooked. After purchasing my own pair of snow shoes, I had to wait 14 months for a decent snow fall and another chance to try snow shoeing. I had my chance the week of Valentines Day in 2007. We had a measurable amount of snow with over 8 inches on the ground in the valleys. I was sure it would be deeper on the wind blown sides of the mountains. Not wanting to miss this opportunity and have to wait until Winter of 2008, I took a day off work to head out and do some more snow shoeing. This would be my second try at snow shoeing and I was anxious to get onto the trail. And not only that, but I would get to use my brand new snow shoes for the first time.

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National Trails Day: Hiking in Rothrock State Forest

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Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 was National Trails Day. This was the day that everyone was suppose to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, in our neck of the woods, the weather was not all that cooperative. I awoke Saturday morning to an overcast and dreary day with drizzle falling. Regardless of the weather I was determined to make it out onto the trail on National Trails Day and experience my outdoors. I decided to make a circuit hike on some of the many trails within Rothrock State Forest. The hike would be on the northwest face of Tussey Mountain, climbing to the top where I would hike across Little Flat, and then descend back down to Galbraith Gap, using the Old Laurel Run Trail, Spruce Gap Trail, Lonberger Trail, and the Three Bridges Trail.

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Hiking the Trails Around Buck and Brush Ridge

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On a recent flight back from Chicago, as my US Airways twin prop airplane was making it's final descent into State College, I glanced out my window to see the mountains of Rothrock State Forest below. I will often look down on these mountains as I fly into and out of State College, recognizing the different ridge lines and streams and recalling the hikes that I've done along both. On this occasion I saw a small body of water that I hadn't noticed before. It was a small pond located at the very top of a ridge. I thought that it would be nice to see if I could hike back to that pond, and that's what I set out to do this past weekend.

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Tussey Mountain Trail: My First Snow Shoeing Experience

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For two weeks prior to doing this hike I had been planning on hiking somewhere. My initial plans went by the wayside when we received over 8 inches of snow only three days before. So I decided to borrow some snow shoes and try a hike a little closer to home. I decided on hiking some of the trails in Rothrock State Forest. There are many trails used by mountain bikers as well as older cross trails from times gone by.

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Bear Meadows Trail: A Winter Stroll

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Bear Meadows was designated a natural area in 1966. Located in Rothrock State Forest, Bear Meadows is one of the largest fresh water bogs in the east. Unlike the bogs of Canada, the bog at Bear Meadows was not touched by the glaciers of the last ice age supporting a variety of plants over the past 10,000 years. On the day before deer season of 2005, Shari and I decided to take a nice winter hike around this 800 plus acre natural area.

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