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Spring Hike On Bear Meadows and Gettis Trail

Gettis Trail stretches from Bear Meadows Trail to Wampler Road. It climbs up and then follows the top of Gettis Ridge. Along the way it crosses over the Mid State Trail. The Gettis Trail, along with Bear Meadows Trail, Gettis Ridge Road and Wampler Road, along with a short section of the Mid State Trail, made of the paths that were used on this early spring hike in Rothrock State Forest.

Trailhead: N 40° 43.90'
W 77° 45.20'
Total Elevation: 1706'
Trail Length: 6.2 miles
Hike Time: 3.5 hours
Hike Type: Loop
Difficulty Rating: 96
Near: Near Boalsburg, PA, behind
Tussey Mountain Ski Resort

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The reach the trailhead, 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 (stay on the paved road until it turns to stone) for three miles and you will see a stone monument on your right with ample parking also on the right side of the road. If coming from the east, follow route US322 until you are about 2 miles from Boalsburg. Look for the Mountain View Country Club golf course on your right and turn onto Bear Meadows Road on your left. Follow for three miles and look for the stone monument on your right.

It was a very nice, late winter/early spring day that we decided to do a hike near Bear Meadows. Our winter this year was relatively mild, and the ridge tops were clear of snow. I had passed the signs for the Gettis Trail quite a few times, on numerous hikes, and I always wanted to see what it was like. I have found than when I want to explore a trail I never hiked before that it is best to do from late fall to early spring. This way if the trail is not maintained, the lack of vegetation makes the going much easier and the following of the trail doable.

We started by hiking on the Bear Meadows Trail, heading in a clockwise direction from the main parking area by the stone monument. Soon we encountered a bit of snow on the shaded sections of the trail. The temperatures were warm enough that the snow was not slippery at all and mostly just a slush that we had to walk through. However, we soon came across muddy and wet sections of the trail. Being this close to the bog, we expected to encounter wet sections of the trail but I must admit at how many wet and muddy sections we did encounter.

At just a bit over a mile into our hike we came across the intersections of Bear Meadows and Gettis Trail. Turning left here we began a gentle climb up and away from Bear Meadows. The path meandered through the hardwood forest as the tread became drier and in places a bit rockier as well.

At 1.3 miles our gentle climb turned into a much steeper ascent. We began to climb Gettis Ridge in earnest. The climb was steep and it was a good cardiovascular workout. Luckily it was short lived and at 1.5 miles we found ourselves at the top of the climb. We were located in the saddle of the ridge and it is at this point that the Mid State Trail crosses the Gettis Trail.

We continued straight for about three tenths of a mile until the trail made a sharp turn to the right. The trail was relatively flat as we were now paralleling the ridge line in a southwesterly direction.

Near 2.5 miles into our hike we emerged onto Wampler Road. This was the end of the Gettis Trail. We paused here for a bit before continuing west along Wampler Road. After three tenths of a mile we came to the gated intersection of Wampler Road with Gettis Ridge Road. We turned right, passed the gate, and began a gentle ascent to the ridge top on Gettis Ridge Road.

Soon the trail began to climb at a steeper rate as we began to make our way back up to the top of the ridge. At 3.2 miles the trail makes a sharp right, switch-backing upon itself. The rate of our ascent was pretty steady and we made another switchback, to our left this time, at 3.7 miles into the hike.

Gettis Ridge Road made two more switchbacks before it began to level off at 3.9 miles. At just a bit past 4.3 miles we came upon the intersection of Gettis Ridge Road and North Meadows Road. At this intersection the Mid State Trail crosses and descends from Big Flat down towards Bear Meadows. We had reached the highest point on our hike and took another break here before we began our descent back down towards Bear Meadows.

Heading northeast on the Mid State Trail, we left the ridge top as we headed back towards Bear Meadows. It was on this section of the hike that we encountered the most snow on the trail. It wasn't too treacherous, but we had to take our time to verify that our footing was sure during the descent. Near 4.6 miles the Mid State Trail makes a sharp right towards the east, but we continued straight on our descent.

At 4.9 miles we met up with the Bear Meadows Trail. Turning right here, we soon passed the Gettis Trail at 5.2 miles into our hike. We retraced our earlier hike on the trail back to the trailhead and our waiting cars.

The entire hike was 6.2 miles and we did it in just a little over 3 hours. Gettis Trail, to my surprise, was well maintained. From the looks of the trail I would feel comfortable hiking it in the summer time, when the undergrowth is full. Gettis Trail provides yet more opportunities for a variety of circuit hikes in the Bear Meadows region.

Sign for the Bear Meadows Natural Area.

Looking out over the bog.

Even though it was warm, there was still snow on the trail in places.

At the intersection of Bear Meadows and Gettis Trail.

After a short climb, Mark rests at a sign marking the Mid State Trail.

Beginning our ascent on Gettis Ridge Road.

Mid State Trail sign passed on our descent from Big Flat and Gettis Ridge above.

Almost finished with the hiking, following the Bear Meadows Trail back to the trailhead.

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