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.
|Trailhead:||N 40° 56.54'
W 78° 07.47'
|Trail Length:||5.9 miles|
|Hike Time:||3 hours|
|Near:||Off route PA504 near
Black Moshannon State Park.
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The trailhead for this hike is found along Munson Road. You will need to make your way to route PA504, also known as Rattlesnake Pike, which is off of alternate route US220. If you live locally, you can probably find your way to PA504. If you don't live locally, the best way to get here is to get on route I80. Regardless if you are traveling east or west on route I80, you will want to get off at exit 158. Once you exit, head south on alternate route US220/PA150. Route PA150 will leave to your right as the road then merges with route PA144. Continue on, heading south, and in a short while route PA144 will leave to your right as well. Keep on driving straight until you have traveled 6.8 miles since you exit I80 and bear right onto route PA504. Continue on PA504 for another 11.7 miles (18.5 miles from I80) and you will cross a bridge as you enter the Black Moshannon State Park. Just past the bridge you will take the first right; this is Munson Road. Reset your trip odometer and travel down Munson Road for 4.3 miles. At 4.3 miles, as you cross another bridge, you will see a dirt road on your left. This is the trailhead for this hike and there is typically a lot of room to park on either side of this road
This was another hike sponsored and planned by the Ridge and Valley Outings Club. They plan and lead hikes every Tuesday evening, with most of them being in Centre County, in and around State College. The RVOC will on occasions lead hikes outside of Centre County, but these are usually done on a weekend and not as a Tuesday night hike.
For this hike we had about 12 people doing the hike. Some had met at up earlier at different location to car pool, but by the time we were at the trail head our entire hiking crew was there and ready to go.
This hike is mostly flat with very little elevation gain and no steep climbs. There were a few sections that were a little rocky and there was the threat of tripping on roots as the trail meandered amongst the rhododendrons by the stream side.
We began our hike by walking along Munson Road, back towards Black Moshannon State Park. After hiking back the road less than a quarter mile we came upon the orange blazed Allegheny Front Trail. We beared right off the road and onto the trail, climbing over some rocks and amongst the rhododendrons. We hiked on the side of the ridge for a little ways and it wasn't until about 0.65 miles that we finally came back down along the stream banks.
For the next 2.5 miles the AFT parallels the stream, staying near it's banks for the majority of the way. There were a few times that we would climb up and away from the stream, but this only occurred twice the entire trail once we initially came down to the stream side. There are even areas that you wonder where you would hike if the stream were a foot higher. Perhaps this stream does see flooding after heavy rains of spring snow melts. However, there were areas of the trail that were less than four inches away from the water. With a few glances to my left I don't believe there would be the option of a high water route as the hillsides were very steep.
This hike is about 6 miles in length with 3 miles hiked on the AFT along the east shores of Six Mile Run and the remaining 3 odd miles on a forest road along the west banks of the creek. As I stated earlier, the trail follows right along the east bank for the first 3 miles and gives plenty of opportunity to stop and enjoy the view both up and down the stream. This stream is also known for trout fishing, so a fishing pole would be an option to pack when hiking this stretch of the AFT.
At 3.05 miles we emerged onto route PA504. We followed this road for a short distance, essentially to cross Six Mile Run on the bridge located here. Once we crossed the bridge we bore right again onto the dirt road we would follow back to the trailhead. There was an ample parking area here and this could also be used as an alternative trailhead for this six mile loop.
Six Mile Run did not get it's name by the six mile circuit hike that we did along it's banks. We only hike up half of the stream. However, the Allegheny Front Trail does follow along it for another three miles to the streams head waters. There is another dirt forest road that continues upstream, paralleling the AFT on the opposite bank, and I'm sure another six mile circuit hike could be designed on the upper half of Six Mile Run as well, maybe something to investigate for a future hike.
We had averaged about 2 miles per hour hiking on the AFT, but now that we were on a dirt road our pace quickened. We hiked the remaining 2.9 miles back to the trailhead at a respectable pace. We made it back to the trailhead before dark and did the entire 5.9 mile hike in just a little over two and a half hours.
This marked my second hike on the footpaths of the Allegheny Front Trail. I must admit that I am impressed by the trails thus far. The paths are well worn and visible as well as free of obstacles. The trail is well blazes and there wasn't a single time that I questioned the direction or path of the trail. The RVOC has a future hike planned here in about 4 weeks that I believe I will try to make. This hike is on the southeast section of the trail and takes in many of the vistas of the Allegheny front. With this additional hike under my belt I think I'll be well prepared for our hike this fall of the entire Allegheny Front Trail.
If you find yourself visiting Black Moshannon State Park, maybe camping overnight for a weekend or just picnicking here for the day, I strongly recommend doing this hike. The view of the stream, especially as the sun was nearing the horizon, was very beautiful. The trail is fairly easy to navigate and would be appropriate for children as well. And if you like to fish, bring your pole along. You'll have many opportunities to toss a hook into the stream as you do this hike.