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Five Fun Hikes Close To State College

The leaves are finally changing colors, and the air is beginning to get cold. It’s the perfect time to travel around Central Pennsylvania to explore nature and take a breather from studying.

While Mount Nittany is a staple hike for many, there are many other hikes near State College to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a short hike, here’s a list of local trails to enjoy beautiful views and get outside.

Ralph’s Pretty Good View & Majestic Vista

Ralph’s Pretty Good View and Ralph’s Majestic Vista are located along the Allegheny Front Trail, a 41.8-mile trail located in Centre County. The trail runs through the Moshannon State Forest, and some portions extend into the Black Moshannon State Park.

Both vistas are named after Ralph Seely, who founded the Allegheny Front Trail in the early 1990s.

You can hike to both of Ralph’s vistas along a 1.6-mile loop, or you can extend your hike as long as you’d like. For the closest access to both views, park along Underwood Road. You can also park near the trailhead of the Allegheny Front Trail, but this will extend your hike by an additional 10 miles. From your parking spot, head to Ralph’s Majestic Vista first and continue on to Ralph’s Pretty Good View.

Shingletown Gap

Shingletown Gap located in the Rothrock State Forest is perfect for a close hike, as it’s just a 10-minute drive from downtown State College. Shingletown Gap offers a variety of hikes from easy to hard, so you can choose a hike that’s perfect for you.

Starting at the main trailhead, a 2.3-mile loop follows Roaring Run up the valley. This hike is perfect for beginners and even offers a small waterfall view along the trail. For more of a challenge, ascend Tussey Mountain along a 3.8-mile loop for a panoramic view at the Roman Tower vista, which offers a lovely view of Mount Nittany.

Chuck Keiper Trail

Located about an hour from State College, the Chuck Keiper Trail is a must-hike. The trail is split into two loops, the West Loop stretching 32.9 miles and the East Loop stretching 22.4 miles.

One of the best parts of the trial is a 1.26-mile hike one way, which will take you through a portion of Sproul State Forest to the tallest waterfall in Centre County: Yost Run Falls. This hike is perfect for any season and is especially beautiful during the fall months.

The Eddy Lick Run circuit hike is also a popular hike along the Chuck Keiper Trail. The 8.9-mile loop offers scenic views and a more challenging experience.

The Jackson Trail & Mid State Trail

The Jackson Trail is a 0.75-mile hike located in Rothrock State Forest that ends at David’s Vista, which offers a beautiful overlook of the state forest.

The Jackson Trail is just one hike located in Rothrock State Forest with many trails ranging from easy to difficult. One of the most popular trails in the state forest is the Mid State Trail, a 326-mile trail that spans from the Green Ridge State Forest in Maryland to the Finger Lakes in New York. While the Mid State Trail is a more difficult hike, you’re easily able to split your hike into manageable distances.

The Bear Meadows Natural Area

Located about 30 minutes from downtown State College in Boalsburg, the Bear Meadows Natural Area in the Rothrock State Forest is classified as a national natural landmark. The Bear Meadows Trail is a 3.5-mile hike in a wetlands area that has been forming since the last glacial period, roughly 10,000 years ago.

Bear Meadows is a one-of-a-kind place in Central Pennsylvania and a must-see for hikers looking for a more unique trail.

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About the Author

Gracie Mullan

Gracie is a senior from Delaware County, Pa, studying telecommunications with a minor in English. In her free time, Gracie likes to read, write, and drink coffee. Get in touch with Gracie on her Instagram @gracie.mullan and for more formal inquiries [email protected].

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