Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

Tussey Mountain Trail: Searching Out the Shingle Path

Driving down Treaster Kettle Road, from Bear Meadows towards Colyer Lake, there is a sign along the edge of the road indicating the crossing of the Shingle Path. I had hiked this trail back in 2005 on a snowshoeing adventure and then it was obliterated during the Rothrock Forest Fire in 2006. Seeing this sign indicated to me that someone reestablished the trail through the burn area. So for this latest hike, I decide to follow my snowshoeing route from 2005 and check out the new Shingle Path.

Trailhead:  N 40° 44.36'
W 77° 45.15'
Total Elevation:  1176'
Trail Length:  6.4 miles
Hike Time:  3.5 hours
Hike Type:  Loop
Difficulty Rating:  88
Near:  Near Boalsburg, PA, behind Tussey Mountain Ski Resort.

The trailhead for this hike was at the intersection of Bear Meadows and North Meadows Road. There is a spacious parking area located just off the right side of Bear Meadows Road. To reach the trailhead if you are 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. 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. Once you are on Bear Meadows Road, travel for about 2.7 miles. The intersection of Bear Meadows Road and North Meadows Road is located where Bear Meadows Road levels off and stops climbing. You'll see North Meadows Road on your right with the parking area just beyond.

When deciding to do this hike, my intentions were to follow the same hike that I had done back in 2006. However I was not certain if the Shingle Path would be easy to find at the intersection of the Tussey Mountain Trail, so I decided to hike this in the opposite direction.

I met Mike at the trailhead and after a few minutes getting our gear arranged, we struck out on our hike. We started by hiking along North Meadows Road and then turned off to the left onto Jean Aron Path. This trail is a flat and easy trail to hike as it skirts along the northern edge of Bear Meadows.

After 0.7 miles we came to the end of Jean Aron Path and turned right onto Bear Meadows Road. As we hiked down the road we paused for a bit at the bridge over Sinking Creek to take in the views of Bear Meadows. It was a crisp day with white, puffy clouds in a bright blue sky. If it would have been a few weeks earlier, it would have been made an awesome autumn view. After a few moments taking in the sights, we continued on a short distance past the bridge and then turned left onto the John Wert Trail.

The John Wert Trail follows the south bank of Sinking Creek as it flows away from Bear Meadows. The trail is relatively flat and an easy hike even if it is a bit rocky in places. At 2.8 miles into our hike, the trail emerges onto a gas pipeline clearing. From here there are some nice views up the side of Thickhead Mountain. Just a short distance past the pipeline clearing the trail turns into a camp access road as we pass a gate and a camp. At around 3 miles we came upon a second camp and the intersection of the Shingle Path with the John Wert Trail. To our right, the Shingle Path climbs steeply up Thickhead Mountain. We had to search a bit to our left until we found the trail as it was not marked.

Just a short distance along Shingle Path we reached a bridge crossing Sinking Creek. Just past the bridge the trail climbs steeply up Little Mountain. Luckily the climb was short.

We weren't afforded any views from atop Little Mountain. On the far side of the mountain the trail was a bit hard to follows. As we began our descent we came across blue tape tied to trees and rock cairns that marked the way.

At 3.3 miles we emerged once again on the gas pipeline clearing. Directly across from us I spied another piece of blue tape tied to a tree. When we reached the tree the well cleared Shingle Path stretched out in front of us. At 3.5 miles we emerged onto Treaster Kettle Road where we paused to eat a snack before climbing to the top of Tussey Mountain.

The climb up Shingle Path to the top of Tussey Mountain was only 0.4 miles in length, but it was the worse 0.4 miles of the entire hike. The trail was full of brambles and briars as one would suspect on a trail that made its way through a forest fire area. Add to that the steep incline and we were quite thankful to finally reach the Tussey Mountain Trail. At the top we paused to catch our breath before we continued on with the hike.

Turning left at the intersection of Shingle Path and the Tussey Mountain Trail, Mike and I had a pretty easy hike for remainder of the day. The hike across the ridgeline was relatively flat and the trail was well maintained. We also had a couple of vistas off to our left, courtesy of the forest fire and the fact that almost all of the leaves had fallen from the trees.

At 4.4 miles we passed the intersection with Fillmore Trail and at 5.3 the intersection with Kettle Trail. Kettle Trail use to mark the end of the Tussey Mountain Trail. The Tuxedo Trail was blazed so as to extend the Tussey Mountain Trail down to Bear Meadows Road. Now the Tuxedo Trail has lost its name and is considered a part of the Tussey Mountain Trail.

From the intersection with Kettle Trail we had a short climb before the trail leveled out and then began to descend towards Bear Meadows Road. After an additional 1.1 miles of hiking we found ourselves back on Bear Meadows Road at the intersection with North Meadows Road and the start of this hike.

Shingle Path is once again a hikeable trail but it will require a lot of maintenance over the next few years to keep it open. Blazes would help a lot in being able to follow this trail and hopefully it will get blazed in the not so distance future. If you are looking to do a circuit hike that includes the Tussey Mountain Trail, this hike would be an option for you.

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