The Big Valley Vista is one of many fine vistas found along the Mid State Trail. Located in Bald Eagle State Forest, this vista looks out over the southern expanses of the Bald Eagle and Rothrock State Forest, across the Laurel Run Reservoir, and into the valley beyond. If you want to take in the spectacular views form this vista you don't need to hike the entire Mid State Trail. This outing was a short hike on some side trails near the Seven Mountains road side rest that allowed me to enjoy this view with less than a mile of hiking.
|N 40° 45.13'
W 77° 37.34'
|Seven Mountains Road
Side Rest, Route US322
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Reaching the trailhead begins on route US322. As you ascend the Seven Mountains, heading west on route US322, you will see a road side rest on your right as you reach the top of the climb. This road side rest is located between the Milroy exit and Poe Valley State Park exit at the top of the mountain. Pull into the road side rest and park here for the hike. If you are coming from the west, you will need to continue on US322 east, down the mountain, and then exit at the Milroy exit. Get back on route US322 and follow it up to the top of the mountain and the road side rest.
This hike starts on the Nature Trail at the Seven Mountains Road Side Rest. It then follows a connecting trail to the Mid State Trail. A short climb up the mountain takes us to the Big Valley Vista. A little bit further past the vista on the MST has us meeting up with another side trail that takes us back to the road side rest and completes our loop.
From the road side rest, I followed the lower part of the Nature Trail loop. At about a quarter of a mile into the hike, the trail makes a sharp left and crosses the remnants of the Lewistown and Bellefonte Turnpike. Shortly after the crossing I came upon the intersection of the blue-blazed side trail and the Nature Trail. Turn right here and start a gradual ascent up the flank of the ridge.
At 0.5 miles the blue-blazed side trail ends at its intersection with the orange-blazed Mid State Trail. Turn left here and start to climb the ridge in earnest. After a little more than a tenth of a mile of hiking, you will reach the top of the ridge, with the Big Valley Vista access trail to your left. Turn here to enjoy the views from the Big Valley Vista.
After enjoying the vista, retrace your steps and turn right back onto the Mid State Trail. The Mid State Trail follows the ridge top, with an occasional dip down on the north side of the ridge. At a bit past one mile you will come across the intersection with the blue-blazed connecting trail. This trail takes you back to the road side rest. Turn left here and start your descent down off of the ridge.
In 0.4 miles you will find yourself back at the start of your hike. This short circuit hike is a great way to spend an hour or two on a nice sunny afternoon. The views from the Big Valley vista are amazing. I highly recommend this hike to anyone that finds themselves with a few hours to spend while they are driving over the Seven Mountains. You won't be disappointed by this hike.