Posts Tagged With: hiking

Terrace Mountain Trail views

The view from the Terrace Mountain Trail at Raystown Lake. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The view from the Terrace Mountain Trail at Raystown Lake. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The crisp fall day was beautiful and just perfect for a short hike. It was my first time on this section of the Terrace Mountain Trail — and I was glad that Raystown Park Ranger Gwinn had suggested this part of the trail. Our destination was the overlook directly across from Raystown Lake navigation marker MM7.

Our adventure began with a short boat shuttle from Seven Points to the area near lake navigation marker MM8. (At mile 19 of the Terrace Mountain Trail – TMT19.)

The Terrace Mountain Trail is well-maintained and defined. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The Terrace Mountain Trail is well-maintained and defined. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The trail was well-maintained and defined as we left the shoreline and moved upwards towards the TMT20 overlook. The trail follows the contour of the land well — so the ups and downs that are unavoidable on trails in Pennsylvania did not seem so bad. You go up a ways and then switch back to keep climbing on the “bowl” of each hollow. Not so bad. I was hiking with a small group of friends. Our spirits were high and laughter rang through the trees often as we chatted and walked.

We walked about 1 mile in from the shoreline. The overlook was everything that had been promised — a rocky outcropping and open space that gave us nice views to the south of Raystown Lake and across the lake to Susquehannock Campground.

The view from an overlook on Terrace Mountain Trail. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The view from an overlook on Terrace Mountain Trail. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The Terrace Mountain Trail is maintained by volunteer efforts on public lands. I have done trail work and appreciated how clear that the trail was that day. We tried to do our part by moving a few small fallen branches along the way. If you are interested in volunteering at Raystown Lake in any capacity — please get in touch with Park Ranger Alicia Palmer at (814) 658-6812. We will all appreciate your efforts.

— Ed Stoddard, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Raystown.org

Categories: Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hiking in Huntingdon

Hiking on the Flagpole Hill trails in Huntingdon, PA

Hiking on the Flagpole Hill trails in Huntingdon, PA

One of the things that makes Huntingdon one of the Coolest Small Towns in America is the fact that you don’t have to leave town to experience wilderness. One of the coolest things about Huntingdon’s wilderness is how easy it is to find and access. All you need to do is look from nearly anywhere in town (or within a couple of miles of town) for the giant American flag flying on a hilltop, and go there! The appropriately named Flagpole Hill and its trail system connects the enormous symbol of our nation with another cool landmark at the Juniata College Baker Evans Peace Chapel.

FlagpoleHillTrails_ecsDSC_2779wwwThe day we hiked the Flagpole Hill Trails was an early November day that you might call “seasonable” for central Pennsylvania – temperatures in the low 50s, overcast and windy on the exposed hilltop. The leaves were nearly all removed from the tree limbs, opening up views that are not available in the summer, but also making the trail extremely noisy as our steps kicked through the 3-4 inch deep leaf litter.

Bring the map that is online and watch for the trail markers to help guide you

Bring the map that is online and watch for the trail markers to help guide you

We set off to hike the closest loop to the flagpole consisting of Cemetery, Beech Tree and Oak trails. After making good time through the first leg, we added Bearcat to our hike, and still made it back to the cars within a little more than an hour. For their location the trails are surprisingly flat, largely following the contours of the hill rather than climbing or descending.

As we returned to the vehicles we took in the view of Huntingdon, and all agreed it had been a good afternoon for a hike.

Photo by Matt Price

The view of Huntingdon from Flagpole Hill.

The view of Fairgrounds Road from the Flagpole Hill Trail (at the flagpole)

The view of Fairgrounds Road from the Flagpole Hill Trail (at the flagpole)

There are three parking areas to access the Flagpole Hill Trails.  The one we used is the main trail head located at the north end of 5th Street, another can be found at the far northern corner of Riverview Cemetery (accessed from Standing Stone Avenue) at the intersection of Cemetery and Beech Tree trails.  The other popular trail head for the network is from Peace Chapel Road near the Juniata College campus.  Maps are usually available at the 5th Street and Peace Chapel Road trail heads, or at the Huntingdon Borough building on Washington Street.

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Time to escape into the woods.

By Ed Stoddard

A good friend of mine once said: “When I feel life is getting a little crazy, I know it is time to escape into the woods.”

The ridgetops are often cloaked in mist early in the morning, and the day that I set out was no exception. It was a weekday. A day off; for rest, reflection and recharging. I had camped overnight to enjoy the stars, quiet and a small crackling campfire all to myself. I was not expecting to see anyone on this Tuesday as I started up the trail, and I was soon lost deep in thought as I walked and breathed in the sweet morning air on the Mid-State Trail…

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Morning mist at Trough Creek State Park. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

Huntingdon County is full of trails like the one that I was on that morning. High vistas and rolling valleys wait for your boots to bring you to their views. You have a variety of options; from short trails like the one that leads to Hawn’s Overlook to bootbuster longer trails like the Ironstone Loop in Stone Valley and Terrace Mountain Trail that parallels Raystown Lake. Mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers alike travel here to enjoy the well-groomed Allegrippis Trails. (Thanks RMBA!)

You can learn a lot about how our forefathers did things and see remnants of history on quite a few treks; the Standing Stone Trail, for one example. I love the fact that we have so much public land available and undisturbed within the Raystown Lake Region for exploration. You almost travel back in time to the timbering, railroad and subsistence era that our great-grandparents lived in…I feel looking back and appreciating the historical sites is a great way to give thanks for the toil those folks invested that built our world today.

Not all of our trails are on land. Every summer the Juniata Clean Water Partnership takes a few days off for the Juniata River Sojourn. It is a great event with good fellowship and catered meals along the river.

Paddling on the Juniata below the dam is a favorite byway on slow, gentle water. I have also heard that some of our resident eagles are often seen hunting on that stretch of water. You have all of the 118 miles of shoreline to paddle and the no-wake zones to explore on Raystown Lake.

The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau has a lot of trail information at the Raystown Lake Region Visitor Center, in the “Things to Do” section of the Huntingdon County Visitors Guide and posted to raystown.org. We link out to TheAlleghenies.com, DCNR, Mid-State Trail Association, the Standing Stone Trail Club, Raystown Mountain Bike Club and other expert sources for trail information in the Raystown Lake Region. Rothrock Outfitters maintains the website for the Allegrippis Trails; and they have a whole library of Purple Lizard Maps for the region, trail maps and guide books for sale.

We have trails that are easy hikes to boot busters, bike rides from road to “rollercoaster” trail and water trails that are great paddling trips through our fantastic scenery and historic canal remnants.

This author recommends: Get outside and enjoy the wooded paths and gentle waters that the Raystown Lake Region offers. Take only photos; leave only footprints.

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Mike Hermann of Purple Lizard Maps rides the Allegrippis Trails. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

 

Here are a couple of favorites that you might want to check out:

GENTLE JAUNTS – easy

Some of the least strenuous trails in the area include Hillside Trail that loops from the Raystown Lake Region Visitor Center for about 1/2 mile, Riverside Trail that follows the shore of the Juniata River downstream from Raystown Dam for about 1/2 mile, and the Buck, Doe and Fawn trails that are part of the Allegrippis Trail system in the Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake.

Take a walk, run, or bike ride on the brand new 2.5 mile Greenside Pathway in the Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake. The pathway connects 19 different recreation facilities and is composed from 100% recycled tires; which means that your run, ride, or walk will not only be convenient, but comfortable and environmentally friendly.

Another set of easy to moderate paths would be the Flagpole Hill Trails in Huntingdon — probably at least 10 miles of trails that interweave through the forests and hills just outside of the Borough of Huntingdon.

The Lower Trail runs for almost 17 miles from near Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County northeastward to near Alexandria in Huntingdon County. The trail is extremely flat with only a slightly noticeable grade when riding from east to west. The Lower Trail is open year-round for hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching and photography and, in the winter months, cross country skiing and snowshoeing (any non-motorized use).The trail has a rolled crushed limestone surface except for a 2 mile asphalt section through the Borough of Williamsburg and running northeastward.

 ENJOY THE VIEWS – moderate

Moderate trails in the area include section hikes on the Mid-State Trail, Mid-State connectors like the Jackson Trail on the border of Huntingdon and Centre County and one of my favorites The Ironstone Loop in Stone Valley. The Ironstone Loop is 15 miles of deep valleys and high vistas.

1,000 Steps Trail is a part of the Standing Stone Trail system. The 1,000 Step were climbed by quarrymen every day on their way to work in the quarry. They climbed from the highway to the top of the mountain. It is almost 800 ft in elevation change! Over 1,000 steps to climb! Accessed from US Route 22 between Huntingdon (8 miles east) and Mt. Union (2 miles west). Look for heritage trail markers on both sides of RT 22. Parking is on opposite side of the River. There is a small spring at the trail head. Follow blue blazed trail 300 yards to the base of the steps and begin hike from here.

LONGER AND WORTH IT – plan ahead, know your limits

Named one of the top 4 mountain bike trails in North American by Mens Journal magazine, the Allegrippis Trails are more than 30 miles of stacked loops that allow you a multitude of riding or hiking options. The trails were built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. (Maintained by volunteers organized by the Raystown Mountain Bicycling Association and on lands leased by the non-profit Friends of Raystown Lake.) I love to hike these trails in the spring and fall to get bonus views of Raystown Lake when the leaf canopy is lighter. Rothrock Outfitters will tell you to go ride ‘em — and I agree with that too.

Terrace Mountain Trail, 30+ miles that primarily runs the eastern ridge above Raystown Lake. The trail meanders by Trough Creek State Park, through Rothrock State Forest and Army Corps of Engineers land. Many access points exist that could help to make this a great trail for section hikes, if you don’t choose to do the whole 30 miles in one outing. Note that major trail maintenance is underway to make this a more mountain bike and boot friendly path.

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Hiking at Trough Creek State Park. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

About the Author: Ed Stoddard first discovered the Raystown Lake Region in the 1990s and visited here often before moving to Huntingdon County in 2009. He is currently the marketing director of the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau. Ed, Heather and Genevieve Stoddard reside in the historic district of Huntingdon.

Mike Hermann of Purple Lizard Maps and Evan Gross of Rothrock Outfitters both contributed to this article – thanks!

 

NOTE: This article will be continued in future blog posts. Stay tuned for information on water trails, road bicycling, and geocaching! 

Categories: 2014 Visitors Guide, Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hiking, the BIG PICTURE – Florida to NY State via Standing Stone Trail

Publisher’s note: This article appeared in the 2006 edition of the Raystown Lake Region/Huntingdon County Visitors Guide. 

By Carl Lorence

If you’re a day-hiker, a trail runner, a long distance backpacker, or you just like to take a short stroll in the woods once in a while, this should interest you. As you may know, the Standing Stone Trail actually “links” the Mid State Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park to the Tuscarora Trail just north of Cowan’s Gap State Park-about 72 miles of foot trail through some of the most beautiful country in PA. You may have walked the 1,000 Steps near Mt.Union, a major feature in about the center of the trail. Some important changes are in the mill that will enhance both the physical status of the Standing Stone Trail and its importance on a national level.

Currently, a study of the entire trail is being conducted by Tom Scully, a Landscape Architect with much trail experience, that will establish a master plan for the trace of the trail to get it off roads, pipe/electric lines and into the woods. Additionally, a major relocation of the trail south of Three Springs will overcome a good deal of road walking due to landowners issues. So, the Trail’s future is bright but there is more to come.

Two groups have formed, one in the South and the other in the North (the Standing Stone Trail is part of this one) with the aim of developing another long distance trail in the Eastern US. This trail will connect existing trials  from Florida to New York State. Suggested some years ago as a Western Appalachian Alternative (WAA) to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, actions are being taken to bring it into existence. A group has formed and met and even made suggestions to the name: The Appalachian Crest Trail and Great Eastern Passage are a few of them.

In the South, significant land has been purchased to connect the Alabama and Georgia Pinhouti trails. The Florida National Scenic Trail has joined the group. In the North, the Mid-State Trial is being extended to the New York border. In NY, the Finger Lakes (joined to the MST) and North Country Trials are participants and it is proposed that the trail continue north to Lake Champlain. So it will be a trail from Florida to New York, but also, it will retain the characteristic of each individual trail. Some will be multi-use and others foot traffic only. But all will adhere to certain basic standards and attempt to accommodate long distance hikers with shelters, campsites, springs, privies, and side trails to significant features. Maps and guide books will be printed and sold to users in the next few years.

Now is the chance for you to get involved in all these activities so important to the future of hiking significant foot trails in our great state. You can best participate by being a member of a trail maintaining club such as the Standing Stone Trail Hiking Club. Club members give of their time and treasure to build and maintain the trails year ’round. To get started on doing your part, a sort of payback for all the tails you’ve hiked without ever doing any trail care, check out our website at: http://www.hike-sst.org/ – our club activities are shown on the schedule. There are also links to other trail organizations which are helpful in planning a hike.

Happy Trails!

Categories: 2006 Visitors Guide | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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