With fall officially arriving, I decided to head out to Shingletown Gap to do a nice, little hike. I had not been hiking in this area so far this year, and I really do enjoy hiking here. Not knowing the exact route my hike would take I arrived at the nearly full parking area at the trailhead and looked forward with anticipation to getting out onto the trails.
|Trailhead:||N 40° 45.27'
W 77° 49.07'
|Trail Length:||3.7 miles|
|Hike Time:||2 hours|
|Near:||Off route PA45
by the town of
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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 1.8 miles where you will reach the town of Shingletown. Here turn left onto Mountain Road and travel another mile where you will come to the parking area and the trailhead.
As I mentioned, I was not sure what trails I was going to hike on this outing. However, shortly after starting I decided to head across Roaring Run on the log bridge. The log is showing its age after years and years of heavy foot traffic, but it still seemed to be quite solid. Once I crossed the log bridge I turned left following the south bank of Roaring Run up to it intersection with Cruiser Run. Here the blue blazed trail swings to the right and begins its ascent away from the gap.
The climb was gradual and steady but I did find myself breathing a bit heavily as I tried to keep a decent pace during the climb. At 0.2 miles into the hike there is another trail that comes down off the ridge. There were 6 people making their way down this section of the trail as I passed. I would end up seeing a total of 24 people and 1 dog during this hike. It seemed that I wasn't the only one with the great idea of enjoying a hike on the first full day of autumn.
At approximately 0.4 miles the Charcoal Flats Trail merges from the left. I decided to turn here and follow that trail. Leaving the Deer Path behind, I was now heading east on relatively flat terrain. I followed the Charcoal Flats Trail for quite a while. I crossed Downer Trail at approximately 0.9 miles and continued straight. There were at least three charcoal flats that I recalled passing while hiking on this trail. Finally, at about 1.4 miles into the hike, I decided to turn left off the Charcoal Flats Trail and descend back down the ridge towards Roaring Run.
Following this short trail down to Roaring Run, I merged with the Lower Trail near the old shack ruins. Turning right I hiked less than a tenth of a mile where I beared left off the Lower Trail and began a climb on the Bald Knob Trail. At the third switch back on the Bald Knob Trail, at the remains of what looks to be another charcoal flat, I was surprised to see a new trail sign. Indicated here was the Jaunt Trail heading east along the flank of the ridge. I had hiked this trail before but did not know its name. I decided to leave the Bald Knob Ridge and follow the Jaunt Trail.
This trail was well maintained and relatively free of obstacles. About a tenth of a mile along the trail I encountered an 8-point buck. I was down wind from him and heard him walking through the thick brush. I stopped on the trail and waited as he approached. He got to within 50 feet of me before he froze, realizing he wasn't alone in the woods. After two to three minutes of staring at each other, the buck must have lost his nerve, turned and dashed off into the thick brush. That experience alone made this hiking trip worthwhile.
The Jaunt Trail is about 0.3 miles in length and connects up with the recently rerouted Maguire Trail. About half way along its distance is a nice vista looking south. This is one of the few vistas you'll find on Bald Knob Ridge.
At just a bit over 2 miles into the hike I arrived at the eastern terminus of the Jaunt Trail where it meets with the Maguire Trail. Turning right here I followed the Maguire Trail for another 0.3 miles where it merges with the Lower Trail. Knowing that I had some things at home that I wanted to do, plus the fact that it was past lunch time and I was getting hungry, I decided to turn right here and follow the Lower Trail back to the trailhead. After another 1.3 miles of hiking along the northern banks of Roaring Run I was back to where I had started the hike.
It was nice to get back out on the trails in Shingletown Gap. Even though I did see a total of 24 people during this hike, I still felt as if I had the entire woods to myself. The fall foliage was beginning to appear and another hike in a few more weeks will be warranted to view the leaves in their colorful glory. Fall in Pennsylvania is a great time to go take a hike.