Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

Mount Nittany: Hiking the White Blazed Trail

A nice summer day with low humidity and comfortable temperatures was the setting for this hike up Mount Nittany. There were a number of cars parked at the trailhead, and we passed three hikers as we climbed to the top. At the Mike Lynch Overlook there was a lady sitting there enjoying the view. Once we were at the top we followed the white blazed trail. All-in-all this was going to be a typical hike up Mount Nittany.

Trailhead: N 40° 48.69''
W 77° 48.42'
Total Elevation: 1712'
Trail Length: 3.7 miles
Hike Time: 2.5 hours
Hike Type: Loop
Difficulty Rating: 71
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.

As I mentioned earlier this hike turned out to be a typical Mount Nittany hike. There were a number of cars parked at the trailhead, and we passed three hikers as we climbed to the top. At the Mike Lynch Overlook there was a lady sitting there enjoying the view. Once we were at the top we followed the white blazed trail. All in all this is what happens on a typical hike up Mount Nittany.

Shari and I made it to the trailhead at 5:10PM and after a picture of the sign at the trailhead we began our ascent. The temperatures were comfortable and the humidity was low, so the climb was not all that strenuous. This was Shari's first hike up Mount Nittany so we weren't trying to set any speed records. We took our time and enjoyed the outdoors.

Once we reached the top we immediately followed the white blazed trail to our right. This takes you to the Mike Lynch Overlook. The last time I was up here was in April when there were no leaves on the trees. I was somewhat disappointed by the vista this time as the trees blocked a lot of the view.

After sitting at the vista for awhile a taking in the view we continued on with our hike. Again we followed the white blazed trail from the vista along the southern side of the mountain. After about 300 feet we came across the blue blazed trail. The white and blue blazed trails parallel each other at this point and then meet back up in about 0.5 miles. We took the blue blazed trail at this point as it goes down the southern side of the mountain a little further than the white blazed trail plus it has a vista of Boalsburg that we wanted to see.

Along this part of the trail Tumbleweed took a moment to show me some teaberry growing along the trail. When you break the leaves of the teaberry plant you can really smell the teaberry fragrance. If you chew on the leaves it is kind of like chewing gum. Earlier in the year the teaberry plant will have little red berries which, as I understand it, taste a lot better than the leaves. Next spring I'll have to keep my eyes open for these small berries and give them a try.

Once we reached the Boalsburg vista we paused for a few minutes to take in this view as well. The vista looks down on the Mount Nittany Middle School. I'm sure that if we were here in the spring or late fall when there aren't any leaves on the tree we could see more, but as it was are view from the vista was limited by the trees.

We continued on the blue blaze trail and soon merged again with the white blazed trail. We followed the trail as we slowly descended along the southern side of the mountain. At 1.6 miles the blue blazed trail continue straight as the white blazed trail bears off to the left. We followed the white blazed trail.

The two trails on Mount Nittany, the white blazed and the blue blazed, make two loops on the top of Mount Nittany. The white blazed trail is approximately 4 miles in length and the blue blazed trail is about 6 miles in length. There are also a number of unblazed cutoff trails on top of the mountain as well. So, depending on the amount of time available to you, a hike of Mount Nittany can be anywhere from 45 minutes, the minimum time for an average hiker to hike to the summit and back, up to 3 hours. Of course, if you take your time and enjoy the vistas you could easily spend 4 or 5 hours hiking Mount Nittany.

The white blazed trail that we took at 1.6 miles cuts across the top of the mountain over to the northern side. After hiking a half mile to get across the mountain we came to the intersection of the blue and white blazed trail on the north side. Here the blue blazed trail continues on down the mountain side and off to our right, while the white blazed trail continues off to our left. To our right about 0.1 miles was a vista, so we decided to hike over to the vista before we continued on the white blazed trail.

This vista was probably my favorite of all the vistas that we took in on the hike. At vista is surrounded with white birches and even now with the trees full of leaves we had a nice view of the valley below. The panoramic picture above is from this vista.

From this vista we hiked a mile back to intersection of the trail where you descend back down the mountain. We passed two more vistas on the hike back, but the views were limited by the trees, and both Tumbleweed and I were getting hungry.

As we descended the mountain back to the trailhead we met another hiker coming up the trail. He stopped and asked if we were the ones that saw the bear and two cubs. He came across two other hikers at the trailhead that told him they talked to some hikers on top of the mountain that saw these bears. We told him that we didn't see any bears and that we had just finished hiking the white blazed loop. He had a camera in his hand and I think he was excited about getting some pictures of these bears in the wild.

At 7:20, 2 hours and 10 minutes after we started our hike, we were back at the trailhead. Tumbleweed said she really enjoyed the hike, but like me, she was famished and wanted to go find something to eat. So after hiking approximately 4 miles on Mount Nittany, we were off in search of food and libations.

Shari stands beside the sign at the trailhead.

Following the white blazes up the mountain side.

The Mike Lynch Overlook with Penn State University in the distance, including the Bryce Jordan Center and Beaver Stadium.

This vista is on the southern side of the mountain, accessible via the blue blazed trail. This vista looks down on Boalsburg and the Mount Nittany Middle School.

Our final vista of the hike on the northern side of the mountain.

Shari didn't have anything to eat since breakfast and it is now well past her dinner time. She's considering eating this blackberry even though it wasn't quite ripe.

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