Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

Mount Nittany: Enjoying the Happy Valley Vistas

It had been over a year since I last ventured to the top of Mount Nittany and figured it was time for me to climb it once again. I asked Tim, a fellow coworker, if he'd be interested in doing some hiking. After checking his calendar he agreed to accompany me on my hike following work. It was a comfortable early fall day that we ascended to the top of Mount Nittany for some exercise and great views.

Trailhead: N 40° 48.69''
W 77° 48.42'
Total Elevation: 1977'
Trail Length: 5.1 miles
Hike Time: 3 hours
Hike Type: Loop
Difficulty Rating: 91
Near: In the town of
Lemont, just outside of
State College, PA.

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The trailhead for this trail is very easy to find. It is located at the end of Mount Nittany Road. You turn onto Mount Nittany Road in the village of Lemont coming off of Pike Street. In order to get to Lemont, you need to head towards State College. There are numerous road signs for State College on the major highways, be it I99, I80, US322, PA45, or PA26. Ultimately you will want to get on route PA26. I would suggest finding your way to the US322/PA26 intersection. At the intersection you will need to take PA26 north (East College Avenue) for 0.7 miles where you will encounter a traffic light. Bear right at the light and you are on Pike Street. Drive for another 0.6 miles on Pike Street and you will enter the town of Lemont with Mount Nittany Road on your left.

I had hiked Mount Nittany four times before and hiked both the white and blue blazed loops found at the top of the mountain. This hike had us ascending on the white blazed trail. This climb is much steeper and more difficult then the longer, gradual ascent up the blue blazed trail. The white blazed trail has you climbing over 600 feet in just a little more than a half mile. It is definitely a good cardiovascular work out.

Once at the top we turned right and took in the view from the Mike Lynch Vista. Continuing on in a counter clockwise fashion soon had us encountering the beginning of the blue blazed trail. Bearing off to our right, we continued hiking the blue blazed trail.

At about 1.1 miles into our hike we encountered our second view. This view looked to the south, overlooking the small hamlet of Oak Hall as well as a view of the Mount Nittany Middle School. Pausing for just a few minutes to take in the view, we were soon off again following the blue blazed trail to it's intersection once again with the white blazed trail at 1.4 miles.

Turning right at this intersection took us into the small valley located at the top of Mount Nittany. This area is typically where hiker's can become disoriented as most don't realize that this small valley exists at the top. After descending slightly, the trail comes to another intersection at 1.7 miles. The white blazed trail turns off to the left, the blue blazed trail continues straight ahead, with an unblazed trail heading off to the right. Those not familiar with the trails and not paying much attention to the blazes will turn right here, thinking they are descending back to the trail head where they started. They soon find themselves in Oak Hall, a good 2 miles by paved road from where they parked their car.

Tim and I continued on the blue blazed trail, climbing slightly once again. The trail soon turns sharply to the left at 2.2 miles, following the south east face of Mount Nittany. When the leaves are off the tree you can gaze upon the Tussey Mountain Ski Resort, but today the view was obscured by the still green leaves.

The next 1.2 miles of hiking was relatively flat as we made our way from one side of the mountain to the other. At 3.4 miles we came upon another vista. This view looked to the north and the Rockview Prison in the distance.

At 3.7 miles the blue trail head down the mountain, making its way back to the trailhead. The white trail intersects with the blue trail at this point and we decided to follow the white blazed trail back to our cars. After 0.9 miles of hiking we turned right and followed the trail back down the mountain.

At the trailhead there is a sign for the trail of Mount Nittany, depicted the paths of both the blue and white-blazed trails. It had stated approximately a 4 mile hike on the white-blazed loop and a 6 mile hike on the blue-blazed loop. My experience hiking the mountain indicates that these distances are off a bit. The hike that Tim and I did, a combination of blue and white blazed trails and the longest possible hike on the mountain, came out to be a little over 5 miles in length. However, the exercise of the steep climb on the white blazed trail makes you feel like you've hiked an extra mile.

If you'd like to learn more of the hikes available on Mount Nittany, including the James Cleveland trail found further north on the mountain, visit this listing of all my hikes on Mount Nittany.

The first vista on the hike, and probably the most visited vista on Mount Nittany. Here the Mike Lynch Vista looks down on Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center.

Another vista, this one looking down towards the Mount Nittany Middle School.

This vista looks north up Nittany Valley towards the Rockview Prison grounds.

At the last vista of the hike we viewed this hot air balloon (commonly referred to as the 'Charlie Brown' balloon) just taking off. If you look closely you can see it just off center on the right.

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