Myself and a couple people from work headed up to Musser Gap to do a hike after work. The destination of our hike was to be the Lion's Valley Vista. On the way there we opted to climb the Frog Hollow Trail, for which we were treated to an aerobic workout. After taking in the view we circled around the back of the ridge and retraced our steps back to the trailhead.
|Trailhead:||N 40° 45.30'
W 77° 51.20'
|Trail Length:||2.9 miles|
|Hike Time:||2 hours|
|Near:||Rothrock State Forest
Access off route PA45
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The trailhead for this hike is easily accessible from State College. Coming from State College, either via route US322 or business route US322 (South Atherton Street), you will need to turn right onto route PA45 west near Boalsburg. Once you are on route PA45 west heading towards Pine Grove Mills, you will want to travel 3.4 miles traveling through the town of Shingletown. You will notice a dirt road on your left that angles up and away from route PA45. There is also a wooden Rothrock State Forest sign here. Turn at this road, travel about 200 feet up the hill, and you will find a large parking area. This is the access area parking for the Musser Gap area and the trailhead for this hike.
After arriving at the trailhead we had a wait a bit for everyone to show up. I lead after-work hikes and sometimes it takes a bit of time for everyone to make it from work to the various trailheads. We didn't have long to wait until everyone arrived and we were soon on the trail.
The trail at Musser Gap, being different than the trail at Shingletown Gap, crosses the open fields and meadows from route PA45 until you reach the woods at the foot of the ridge. Along the way you get some nice views of the ridge and gap in front of you, as well as a nice view of Nittany Mountain across the open fields. As I typically do on hikes in Musser Gap, I paused for a minute to take a snapshot of Nittany Mountain in the distance before continuing on with the hike.
After walking across the fields we enter the woods at 0.4 miles into the hike. This is also where the climb starts. The ascent is gradual at first, but does become a bit steeper after a tenth of a mile or so. It keeps this rate of climb until we reach Musser Gap proper.
At 0.9 miles we get to take a short break from the climb as we cross the stream located in Musser Gap on a nicely built wooden bridge. After crossing the bridge, the trail splits, with the Musser Gap Trail heading off to our left and the Frog Hollow Trail heading off to our right. After a brief discussion and quick vote, we decided to climb to the top of the front ridge on the Frog Hollow Trail.
For the next half mile we hiked on the Frog Hollow Trail. The Frog HollowTrail can be quite steep at times as it climbs the north face of the ridge. At 1.4 miles into the hike we reached the top of the ridge and everyone took a moment to catch their breath. We didn't rest too long as we only had about 200 feet more to hike until we got to the Lion's Valley Vista where we could all take a longer rest.
We spent about ten minutes at the vista before we continued on with our hike. We followed the Huckleberry Loop trail down the back side of the ridge until we met up with the Mountain Mist Trail. Turning left we followed the Mountain Mist Trail for about 0.2 miles. At this point we came upon the intersection with the Musser Gap Trail. Continuing straight we followed the Musser Gap Trail as it descended down through the gap. At 2 miles into our hike we were back at the intersection with the Frog Hollow Trail.
We crossed the wooden bridge and followed the Musser Gap Trail back to the trailhead. The total hike came in at just a tad under 3 miles. It was a good hike to do after work and the climb up Frog Hollow Trail provided a bit of a challenge. If you are looking to explore some new trails than I would suggest checking out what Musser Gap has to offer.