Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

Checking Out the Multi-Use New Laurel Run Trail

The Laurel Run Trail from Little Flat to Laurel Run Road use to follow a pole line. The trail was straight, steep in some places, and quite eroded. Last year a new, rerouted trail was put in to alleviate the erosion on the trail and to make it a more enjoyable to use. After what seemed like an eternal winter, we finally got some spring like weather and an opportunity to do a hike after work. For our first after work hike, Shari and I decided to head up to Little Flat and check out the New Laurel Run Trail.

Trailhead:  N 40° 45.07'
W 77° 45.88'
Total Elevation:  794'
Trail Length:  2.5 miles
Hike Time:  1.5 hours
Hike Type:  Loop
Difficulty Rating:  41
Near:  Off Laurel Run Road, Near Little Flat, Rothrock S.F.

Reaching the trailhead begins on route US322. Heading west on US322, about 1/2 mile before Boalsburg, turn left onto Bear Meadows Road and head towards the Tussey Mountain Ski Resort. Heading east on US322, go 1/2 mile past Boalsburg and turn right onto Bear Meadows Road. Bear Meadows road is directly across from the Elks Country Club. Travel on Bear Meadows road for about 1.5 miles and turn right onto Laurel Run Road. Travel for 1.8 miles until you reach the top of the mountain. This is where the Mid State Trail crosses Laurel Run Road. Travel another tenth of a mile and you will see the road for accessing Little Flat on your left. Turn here and travel another half mile. At this point the road is gated and there is a turn around with parking area on your right. Park here as this is the starting point for this hike.

This hike started at the new parking access area near Little Flat. There are a number of trails that reach the ridgeline near this parking area and it is an ideal place to start a hike. We started by heading east on the orange-blazed Mid State Trail. It is accessible via a short connecting trail located near the south end of the parking area.

There were a few deadfalls on this section of the Mid State Trail, most of them being small in diameter. A short outing with a chainsaw would make short order of clearing the trail. We meandered through the woods on relatively flat terrain. The trail crossed the gated access road at about 0.3 miles into the hike. We crossed the road and continued on the Mid State Trail, but another option would have been to turn right here.


Now on the north side of the ridge, we followed the Mid State Trail over some rockier sections. Soon we arrived in a large clearing with the radio towers now visible ahead of us. This was Little Flat and we entered the large clearing where the fire tower and cabin are located after hiking approximately 0.6 miles.

We beared right off the Mid State Trail and found the trailhead for the New Laurel Run Trail about 300 feet to our right. You could tell the trail was recently cleared and was quite wide, making it an easy trail to walk. After hiking back the trail about 100 feet it made a turn to the right and then began to meander a bit. The trail was not blazed, even though a red blaze was painted on the sign post at the trailhead. There was one area where it looked like the trail split into two separate trails and I was not sure which to follow. Looking closely at the path, the trail that branched off to the left looked more traveled and we decided to head in that direction. We soon discovered that we chose correctly.

Approximately three quarters of a mile into the hike we merged with the old Laurel Run Trail. This section of the trail followed a pole line as it headed west and began a gradual descent. After two tenths of a mile we came across the new, rerouted trail as it broke off the old trail to the left before looping back to cross the old trail and heading off towards the north west.

For the next 0.6 miles the trail meandered through the woods as it made a gradual descent towards Laurel Run Road. The trail crossed over the old trail a number of times but never followed it again. This section of trail was nice to hike. I like a meandering trail over a straight trail when hiking through the woods. It feels more natural and adds to the enjoyment of being out in the solitude of the forest. There were some sections of this trail that had some nice rock work as well, where the trail crossed seeps and wet areas.

Around 1.5 miles, as the trail approached Laurel Run Road, it makes a sharp left. At this point, off to the right of the trail, is a small spring. This is the head waters of Laurel Run, the stream that flows towards Whipple Dam State Park. This is a good place to filter some cold, mountain water if you are in need of any.

At 1.6 miles the trail ends as we emerged onto Laurel Run Road. It was starting to get late in the day with the sun disappearing behind the ridge. We turned right here and began a gradual ascent back to the ridge top on Laurel Run Road.

After hiking 0.4 miles we came to the intersection of Laurel Run Road and the Little Flat access road. We turned right here and continued on the gravel forest road. Another half mile of hiking brought us back to the trailhead and our waiting car.

This hike was just a bit over 2.5 mile in length. It had a bit of elevation change, but not a whole lot and it made for a nice hike. I was quite pleased with our choice for our first after work hike of the year. If you find yourself driving through the woods on a nice sunny day and want to spend some time exploring, then I'd suggest this short circuit hike. The New Laurel Run Trail was a pleasure to hike.

{vsig_c}0|nlrt1_01.jpg|The trailhead for this hike.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|nlrt1_02.jpg|The orange-blazed Mid State Trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|nlrt1_03.jpg|This sign marks the trailhead for the New Laurel Run Trail on Little Flat.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|nlrt1_04.jpg|Hiking down the pole line as the sun hides behind the clouds.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|nlrt1_05.jpg|Nice rock work on this section of the trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|nlrt1_06.jpg|Sign post marking the other end of the trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|nlrt1_07.jpg|Almost finished with this hike.{/vsig_c}

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