Whether you’re looking for an overnight excursion or simply a short day-hike, the Mid State Trail should be at the top of your list.
Known as the “wildest footpath in Pennsylvania,” the 320-plus mile trail runs just south of State College on its route from the Maryland to the New York border. It covers diverse topography and is located mostly on public land, including the nearby Rothrock and Bald Eagle state forests.
The State College section of the trail is the most popular, but you’ll still find serenity in abundance. Our local section is known for its beautiful views and a monument near Little Flat Fire Tower that was erected to commemorate the trail’s birthplace. Founded by Professor Tom Thwaites of the Penn State Outing Club in 1969, the trail holds a special place in the heart of Penn Staters and Pennsylvanians alike.
The trail passes...
Surrounded by multiple state forests and parks, Centre County
outdoors lovers have a lot to be thankful for. Hikers especially have an abundance of options to enjoy— one of them being the 80-mile Standing Stone Trail (SST), which runs south of State College
and Penn State University
Initially built as the Link Trail to connect the Mid State and Tuscarora trails, the SST received its current name in 2007. It’s also part of the Great Eastern Trail — America’s newest long-distance trail that spans from Alabama to New York.
Running along the ridge and valley section of the northern Appalachian Mountains, the SST features many views and unique cultural attractions. The most popular section of trail, by far, is the Thousand Steps hike, just south of Huntingdon....
Outdoor activities are plentiful in the region, thanks in part to public land like Rothrock State Forest.
Located just minutes from State College
and Penn State University
, this 215,000-acre tract of mountainous terrain in Centre
, Mifflin and Huntingdon counties offers hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and much more.
Founded in the early 20th century by neighboring Mifflin County native Dr. Joseph Rothrock, the forest was initially barren due to excessive logging and resource extraction. Concerned that the barren ridges would not regrow without proper management, Rothrock took action in 1895 when he was appointed the first commissioner of what’s today known as the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. This was the beginning of...
When you’re feeling the need to get out of town and explore the outdoors, consider Black Moshannon State Park.
Located less than 25 minutes from State College and Penn State, and 15 minutes from Philipsburg, the park was built around its namesake lake – Black Moshannon Lake, formed by a dam on the Black Moshannon Creek. Home of the largest reconstituted bog/wetland complex in the state, there’s plenty of water-related activities here, along with great hiking trails and wildlife habitat to explore.
Open year-round, this 3,481-acre park has something for everyone. One of the best times to visit is during the summer, when warmer temperatures allow for swimming in the lake. Feel free to stretch out on the sandy beach and take in the fresh mountain air! Kids will love this alternative to their local community pool.
Covering almost 60 percent of its land, forests are a vital resource to Pennsylvania. They provide recreation and are also an important part of the economy.
In fact, the state is the number one producer of hardwoods in the country, with $5.5 billion worth of products produced annually. The lumber industry has also been important historically, but in the late 1800s, its clear-cutting practices lead to decimated forests across the state.
Early pioneers like Joseph T. Rothrock contributed greatly to forest conservation, eventually leading to the formation of the state forest system. Today, the Commonwealth manages 20 state forests comprising of 2.2 million acres in 48 of the state’s 67 counties.
Some of Centre County’s 535,100 forested acres are within the Bald Eagle State forest, which contains over 193,000 acres of land for public enjoyment. This sizable tract sits in the Appalachian Mountain section of the state, which is characterized by long northeast-southwest ridges...
Of the six state parks located in Centre County, Bald Eagle State Park is perhaps the crown jewel.
Situated on the banks of a 1,730-acre manmade lake in Bald Eagle Valley, this park offers a variety of activities to keep any outdoor lover entertained.
The park offers two campgrounds, boating, fishing, swimming, one of the nation’s top eco-friendly hotels, and so much more.
Located 30 minutes from State College and Penn State, and 15 minutes from Bellefonte, this park is an easy trip for most county residents. Those coming from farther away can enjoy easy access from interstates 99 and 80.
If you’re looking to enjoy the park’s amenities with overnight accommodations,...