Hiked it, Liked it: Five Best Hikes Near State College

Photo by Olivia Rueger

Looking to get outside? Luckily, there are more places to hike around State College than the celebrated Mt. Nittany. Here is VALLEY’s list of the five best hiking trails only a short drive away!

Shingletown Gap

This trail follows a beautiful creek for miles. More experienced hikers will enjoy the terrain on the left side of the creek. With tall jutting rocks and variations in elevation, hikers are sure to enjoy a challenging climb. On the right side of the trail you will find a steady path perfect for the novice hiker. Located just under five miles from campus Shingletown Gap is a must-see.

Jackson Trail

Only 15 minutes from campus, the Jackson Trail is perfect for a beginner hiker or someone who wants to relax and spend time in nature. It’s a rocky, yet accessible trail with beautiful views and foliage in the fall. Hike it out and back and you should be finished in under two hours, or make it a loop and finish in three to four.

James Cleveland Trail

Located just under 30 minutes from campus in Bald Eagle Forest, the James Cleveland Trail has something to offer hikers and history buffs alike. The first portion of the hike is easy with a gradual incline, which evolves into a steeper rocky elevation. At the top of the climb hikers reach a memorial site for James Cleveland, an airmail pilot who crashed into the mountain in the 1930s. Along your three-mile journey look out for pieces of the plane that are rumored to still remain on site!

Ironstone Loop

Opposite the Jackson Trail in the Jo Hays Vista parking lot is the Ironstone Loop, a trail for experienced hikers. Difficult footing and steep elevation will lead to an exciting and gratifying hike. The hike includes the ‘Indian Steps,’ old stone steps that will escort you to fabulous views at the top. This 13 mile hike takes an average of 10 hours, so be sure to pack lunch and plenty of trail mix!

Tussey Mountain

It’s a little known fact that Tussey Mountain is good for not only skiing, but provides fantastic hiking opportunities! Tussey Mountain Trail is 7 miles out and back with a great views and intermediate elevation. A 3 1/2 miles out will guide you to turn back around. This is a great hike to do with friends- not to challenging but a good length for satisfaction and great conversation.

Interested in hiking with a group? The Penn State Outing Club is running daytrips to these spots and many more! Meetings are on Tuesday evenings.

Try any of these hikes? Tag us in your coolest shots, @VALLEYmag, on Instagram!

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