Last year a reroute of the Maguire Trail was put in place to alleviate erosion problems and dangerous conditions. After investigating this new reroute, I found it to be a little over engineered, or more specifically, it had way too many switchbacks on such a short and not so steep section of trail. With the mild winter, trail crews from the Nittany Mountain Biking Association headed out into the woods and created a reroute of the Maguire Trail reroute. For my first after work hike of the season, myself and a fellow coworker headed off to check out this second Maguire Trail reroute.
|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
View Large Map
Download Map (PDF)
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.
This was the first after work hike of the season. I asked Bob, my co-worker, if he would be interested in doing this hike with me. After getting some grief from his son for not being home for his home-cooked meal, Bob agreed and accompanied me to the trailhead at Shingletown Gap.
The parking area was packed when we arrived and we had to turn around and drive back Mountain Road a bit to find some parking along the edge of the road. Seemed to be quite a lot of younger kids out today, with a group of about 6 teenagers playing hacky sack near the gated entrance. Bob and I grabbed our hiking gear, which consisted mostly of water bottles and electronic gadgets, and set off on our hike.
The destination for this hike was the Maguire Trail and more specifically the Maguire Trail reroute. We followed The Lower Trail along Roaring Run as we passed a number of hikers, trail runners, walkers and a gentleman sitting along the stream on a fallen log, doing a crossword puzzle and enjoying his surroundings. At about 1.1 miles into the hike we came across the old intersection of the Lower and Maguire Trails. There were logs piled here across the old trail and a sign informing hikers and bikers of the new reroute.
We continued past the old intersection and then about two tenths of a mile further on we came across the reroute joining the Lower Trail from the left. Currently there is no sign post here indicating this to be the Maguire Trail but I am rather certain that there will be one here before the end of the year. We turned left here and followed the new trail up the flank of the front ridge.
The new Maguire Trail is about 0.85 miles in length which I believe is about a half mile longer than the old trail. There are no steep climbs and compared to the last time I hiked the reroute, the number of switchbacks had been reduced significantly. The trail meandered through the woods but not like the old reroute which made you think you were criss-crossing back and forth through the woods just for the fun of it. This new reroute was a pleasure to hike and a vast improvement over the two iterations of the trail.
At about 2.2 miles into the hike, Bob and I came upon the Bald Knob Ridge Trail. We turned left here to follow the trail back to its intersection with the Lower Trail. Around 2.4 miles we were treated to a nice view of Mount Nittany in the distance. In a few weeks, when the leaves are on the trees, this view will not be possible. We paused here a bit to enjoy the view and to watch some soaring turkey vultures as they glided on the thermal updrafts.
After another two tenths of a mile hiking, the Bald Knob Ridge Trail makes a sweeping turn to the left and begins the descent back down to the valley floor. There a few places where the descent is steep and rocky and I am glad we came up the gradual ascent of the Maguire Trail. At 2.9 miles the trail intersects with another trail. Where the Bald Knob Ridge Trail makes a sharp right, the other trail continues straight and meets up with the Maguire Trail. We turned left and completed our descent to the Lower Trail.
Once on the Lower Trail we turned right and headed back to the trailhead. After 3.7 miles of hiking we found ourselves back at the trailhead. This was a nice hike for the first after work hike of the season and I was pleasantly surprised at the Maguire Trail reroute. When you get a chance to hike in the Shingletown Gap area, I recommend taking a stroll on the Maguire Trail. I don't think you'll be disappointed.