Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

Bear Meadows Hike in the Summer

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.

Trailhead:  N 40° 44.37'
W 77° 45.16'
Total Elevation:  180'
Trail Length:  3.7 miles
Hike Time:  2 hours
Hike Type:  Loop
Difficulty Rating:  40
Near:  Near Boalsburg, PA, behind Tussey Mountain Ski Resort.

The trailhead for this hike around Bear Meadows is rather easily reached. Coming from State College, you need to follow route US322 east and turn onto Bear Meadows Road at the entrance to the Tussey Mountain Ski Resort. Follow Bear Meadows road for about two and a half miles and you will see a parking area on your right, near the gated North Meadows Road. Park here to do this hike. If coming from the east, follow route US322 until you are about 2 miles from Boalsburg. Look for the Elk's Country Club golf course on your right and turn onto Bear Meadows Road on your left.

From the parking area, we headed west on North Meadows Road. After a tenth of a mile we came upon the intersection with Jean Aron Path. We turned left here and followed Jean Aron Path to the south.

Jean Aron Path parallels Bear Meadows Road as it passes first through some rhododendron and then meanders through a stand of pines. After 0.6 miles of hiking on Jean Aron Path we emerged onto Bear Meadows Road. Turning right we headed downhill towards the parking area at Bear Meadows, near the natural landmark monument. We paused here at the bridge to take in the view looking out across the bog.

At three quarters of a mile into our hike we turned right off Bear Meadows Road onto Bear Meadows Trail. The first 500 to 600 feet of this trail is very popular because of the large abundance of easily accessible blueberry bushes. As we hiked along this section of the trail I took advantage of the opportunity to sample some of this year's blueberry crop.

For the next mile we hiked on the south bank of the bog. On occasions we caught glimpses of the bog off to our right. We passed through a thicket of rhododendron and then emerged into a hard wood forest. At 1.7 miles we came upon the intersection of Gettis Trail and Bear Meadows Trail. Gettis Trail headed off to our left to the top of Gettis Ridge, where it intersects with the Mid State Trail. We paused here for a bit to wet our whistle before heading on.

At approximately two miles into the hike we emerged into a large clearing. There is fire ring located here and another trail that heads up to the top of Gettis Ridge. This campsite is located within the Bear Meadows Natural Area. Typically camping is not allowed within natural areas, however this campsite is marked as a designated site, and camping within the natural area is permitted here.

The Bear Meadows Trail begins a sweeping turn to the right and in a little over a tenth of a mile we were heading north east, back towards the trailhead. The trail widens here as it follows the remains of an old road.

At 3.2 miles into the hike we emerged onto North Meadows Road. Turning right here, we began slight descent as we walked on this gravel forest road. About 3.5 miles into the hike we passed Lonberger Trail to our left. We could see the gate at the end of North Meadows Road and we knew we were almost at the end of our hike. About 2 hours and 3.7 miles later we found ourselves back at the trailhead and our waiting cars.

Bear Meadows is a great place to explore all year round. Winter hikes on the Bear Meadows Trail our not all that difficult and offer a peaceful winter escape. Summer hikes are nice as well and if you head out towards the end of summer you'll have the opportunity to try some of the plentiful blueberries that grow here.

{vsig_c}0|bm04_01.jpg|Parking area at the intersection of North Meadows Road and Bear Meadows Road and the start of our hike.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bm04_02.jpg|Hiking down Jean Aron Path.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bm04_03.jpg|Pictureque view at Bear Meadows.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bm04_04.jpg|Hiking through the thick rhododendron on the Bear Meadows Trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bm04_05.jpg|This sign marks the interesction of Bear Meadows Trail and the Gettis Trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bm04_06.jpg|A designated camping area in the Bear Meadows Natural Area.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bm04_07.jpg|Approaching the North Meadows Road.{/vsig_c}

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