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State Forest Hiking Trails

 

Pennsylvania’s state forests are premier hiking destinations and offer trails that cover a variety of terrain and all difficulty levels.

​Baker Trail

Part of this historic trail traverses the beautiful Clear Creek State Forest.

Get Baker Trail details.

​The Baker Trail was established in 1950 and named for the late Pittsburgh attorney, Horace Forbes Baker.

The trail originally extended from Aspinwall to Cook Forest State Park (133 miles). However, extensive development along the Allegheny River caused the Aspinwall-Freeport section to be abandoned.

During 1971, the trail was extended northward from Cook Forest Fire Tower into Allegheny National Forest, making the trail 141 miles long.

The Baker Trail is a hiking and backpacking trail, following:

  • Forest paths
  • Old jeep trails and dirt roads
  • Farmlands
  • Rivers and creeks

Currently, there are nine campsites with openfront "adirondack" shelters located on side trails.

There are no signs pointing to the shelters, so they must be located by consulting the Baker Trail Guide Book.

The guide book includes a detailed description and maps of the trail.

Besides the shelters, there are primitive campsites along the trail where tents can be used.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy.

Baker Trail Map

A detailed trail-guide and map are available for purchase from:

Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy
P.O. Box 472
Wexford, PA 15090-0472
412-475-8881
info@rachelcarsontrails.org

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Freeport, PA
Length: 141 total miles
Skill level: Moderate to Strenuous
Trail type: Point-to-point

Black Forest Trail

This is a true wilderness hike deep within the Tioga and Tiadaghton State Forests.

Get Black Forest Trail details.

The Black Forest Trail is a 42.1 mile loop trail in the northwest corner of Lycoming County near the village of Slate Run, PA. Slate Run is located along Pine Creek on highway 414, 27 miles north of Jersey Shore, PA.

The trail starts and finishes in a pine plantation 0.8 mile from the Slate Run Village on the State forestry road. The foresty road leave Route 414 in a westerly direction.

The name Black Forest was derived from the dense, dark (Black) virgin coniferous forests that originally covered the region.

The Black Forest Trail is a rugged trail with many vistas as the trail winds up to heights overlooking Slate Run, Morris Run, Big Dam Hollow, Naval Run, and Pine Creek.

There are many steep climbs on the Black Forest Trail, but the vistas are well worth the effort.

During the spring, when the water is high, the many creeks that traverse the trail provide numerous beautiful scenes.

Black Forest Trail Map (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Slate Run, PA
Length: 42.1 total miles
Skill level: Moderate to Strenuous
Trail type: Loop

Bucktail Path

Rise to challenge of the Bucktail that lies within the heart of the Elk State Forest.

Get Bucktail Path Trail details.

Located in the Elk State Forest, in north central Pennsylvania, 35 miles northeast of Clearfield Pennsylvania. The trail is approximately 34 miles long.

The trail starts at Sizerville State Park and ends in the village of Sinnemahoning.

The trail is orange blazed. Highlights are mountain vistas, varied terrain, former railroad grades, and the Johnson Run Natural Area.

The Johnson Run Natural Area is a 200-acre area of old growth hemlock and hardwoods.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Keystone Trails Association.

Bucktail Path Trail Map (PDF)
 
Trail Stats

Nearby City: Sinnemahoning, PA
Length: 34 total miles|
Skill level: Moderate
Trail type: Point-to-point

​Chuck Keiper Trail

This 53-mile trail covers some breathtaking views in the Sproul State Forest.

Get Chuck Keiper Trail details.

This orange paint blazed trail in the southern part of the Sproul State Forest is organized into two loops, east and west.

The east loop is 36 KM long and suitable for a two-day backpack. The west loop of 54 KM can be traversed in three days.

The Chuck Keiper Trail traverses the:

  • Burns Run Wild Area
  • Fish Dam Wild Area
  • East Branch Swamp Natural Area
  • Cranberry Swamp Natural Area

A looped trail is located around the perimeter of Cranberry Swamp. This trail is marked with yellow paint blazes.

The trail is named for Charles F. Keiper who was the District Wildlife Conservation Officer for Western Clinton County from 1951 until his death in 1973.

Chuck Keiper was a dedicated conservationist and wildlife law enforcement officer. This trail is a tribute to his devotion to Pennsylvania wildlife resource.

There are many stream crossings without bridges so the trail should be hiked during low water.

On May 31, 1985, a complex tornado ripped through much of North Central PA. More than 8,000 acres of forest land in the Sproul State Forest was flattened.

Fish Dam Trail and Dennison Fork Trail in the Fish Dam Wild Area were particularly devastated. As a result, the trail in this area has been relocated.

The Western Loop of the trail bisects the Two Rock Run Fire area. This wildfire was ignited by careless burning on April 18, 1990. Nine out of ten trees in the path of the wildfire died as a result of the burn.

Timber salvage on a third of the 9600 acres burned has been completed. The wildfire cuts the Chuck Keiper in two places.

These segments include Walker Trail and J. U. Branch Trail. Dead trees on both sides of the trail have been removed.

Carsonite post trail markers have been used to mark the trail in some areas where all trees were harvested. Now, in the summer there is no shade on the burned segments of the trail.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Keystone Trails Association.

Chuck Keiper Trail Map #1 (PDF)

Chuck Keiper Trail Map #2 (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Renovo, PA
Length: 52.8 total miles
Skill level: Strenuous
Trail type: Loop

​Donut Hole Trail

This 90-mile trail is sure to challenge even the experienced hiker.

Get Donut Hole Trail details.

The Donut Hole Trail heads north from Bucktail State Park through Kettle Creek State Park towards Tamarack.

It then turns south in the Sproul State Forest towards Hyner, passing through Hyner Run State Park before continuing south to Farrandsville.

This red blazed cross country trail traverses the northern most part of the Sproul State Forest.

The western terminus is located along the Montour Road about one fourth mile north of PA State Route 120. The eastern terminus is located in Hyner Run State Park.

The Donut Hole and Susquehannock Trail share a common path from the mouth of Porter Branch to the Fork Hill Road. At that point, the trails split.

The Susquehannock Trail goes north and the Donut Hole Trail goes south.

During this shared use the trails are marked with orange blazes.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Keystone Trails Association.

Donut Hole Trail Map #1 (PDF)

Donut Hole Trail Map #2 (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Tamarack, Farrandsville, PA
Length: 90 total miles
Skill level: Moderate to Strenuous
Trail type: Point-to-point

​Golden Eagle Trail

This trail provides some stunning views of the Pine Creek valley within the Tiadaghton State Forest. Enjoy the view from the Raven's Horn.

Get Golden Eagle Trail details.

​The Golden Eagle Trail is an 8.9 mile circuit trail located in the Pine Creek region of Lycoming County.

The trail head is about four miles north of Cammal at the mouth of Bonnel Run. It has been moved from its previous location to accomodate the Rails to Trails trail thru Pine Creek Canyon.

The Golden Eagle Trail was constructed by DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry and the Waterdale (Williamsport) Youth Group.

Because of the rugged topography, loctions for overnight camping along the trail are extremely limited.

For this reason, OVERNIGHT CAMPING IS NOT PERMITTED ALONG THE GOLDEN EAGLE TRAIL.

The trail is marked with orange blazes, and features vistas overlooking Pine Creek Gorge, as well as interesting rock formations and remnants of old logging camps.

Golden Eagle Trail Map (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Cammal, PA
Length: 8.9 total miles
Skill level: Strenuous
Trail type: Loop

​John P. Saylor Trail

This scenic trek covers 18 miles within the Gallitzin State Forest.

Get John P. Saylor Trail details.

The John P. Saylor Trail is realatively flat with gradual climbs in elevation.

During the spring, the trail is very wet with many springs and streams leading to marshy areas.

On parts of the trail, there is well preserved evidence of the former railroad grades over the swamp areas.

The trail then crosses Clear Shade Creek by a narrow suspension bridge into the Clear Shade wild area.

It then passes through a former logging camp.

John P. Saylor Trail Map #1 (PDF)

John P. Saylor Trail Map #2 (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: New Ashtola, PA
Length: 18 total miles
Skill level: Easy
Trail type: Loop

Lost Turkey Trail

This creatively named trail covers 26 miles, nine of which are in the Gallitzin State Forest.

Get Lost Turkey Trail details.

Playfully named by its original trailblazers, the Youth Conservation Corps during 1976, the Lost Turkey Trail is an interesting passageway through the forest west of the Allegheny Front.

The Lost Turkey Trail is a 26 mile trail that cuts through Gallitzin state forest, State Game Lands, and Blue knob state park.

Overnight camping is permitted only in the state forest land.

The trail begins at the Southern terminus at The Babcock picnic area and continues for several miles with mild terrain along Pot Ridge.

At about 14 miles, the trail meets Little Break Hollow and the terrain changes from gentle to challenging for the remainder of the hike.

The trail follows Forks ridge and then traverses beautiful Bob's Creek along a cable bridge.

There are several camping spots in this area (even though it is not in state forest land).

The trail then climbs Hog Back Ridge and continues on to Blue Knob State Park.

At mile 24 (along Hog Back Ridge) there is a monument built to two children who got lost in the mountains and perished during 1856.

Lost Turkey Trail Map #1 (PDF)

Lost Turkey Trail Map #2 (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Windber, PA
Length: 26 total miles
Skill level: Easy to Moderate
Trail type: Point-to-point

Loyalsock Trail

Walk among some of the most picturesque settings you'll find anywhere on this trail that lies within its namesake, the Loyalsock State Forest.

Get Loyalsock Trail details.

​The name Loyalsock Creek is taken from the Indian phrase "Lawi-Saquick," meaning middle creek, or flowing between Muncy Creek and Lycoming Creek.

Loyalsock Creek has its start in Wyoming County and ends at Montoursville, where it empties into the Susquehanna River.

The Loyalsock Trail, a wilderness footpath, runs from PA 87, ten miles north of Montoursville, to U.S. 220 at Ringdale, a distance of 59.3 miles.

The trail parallels the creek, mostly following ridges, but at times passing mountain streams, waterfalls, lakes, and ponds.

The Loyalsock Trail is known for its many fine vistas.

The Loyalsock Trail is maintained by the Alpine Club of Williamsport.

The group marks the main trail with painted 2" x 6" yellow rectangles on which is a 1" horizontal red stripe.

Side trail markers are painted yellow with a red X.

Lead-in trails are marked with blue metal discs.

White-marked trails are not brushed.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Alpine Club of Williamsport.

Loyalsock Trail Map

Trail Guide and maps can be obtained from:

Alpine Club of Williamsport
P.O. BOX 501
Williamsport PA, 17703

Trail Stats

Nearby Cities: Montoursville, PA
Length: 59 total miles
Skill level: Strenuous
Trail type: Point-to-Point

​Mid State Trail

This famous trail will take the adventerous spirit through portions of five different state forests and eight state parks.

Get Mid State Trail details.

​The Mid State Trail System (MST) is a long-distance hiking trail (and its side trails) in central Pennsylvania.

The current northern end is at the West Rim Trail on Bohen Run north of Blackwell and the southern end is a junction with Green Ridge Hiking Trail in Maryland at the Mason-Dixon line.

The MST is almost entirely on public land:

  • State forests
  • State game lands
  • State parks

It links or traverses:

  • A token roadside rest (PennDOT)
  • A covered bridge built in 1879
  • Huntingdon and Broad Top RR grade
  • Two scout camps
  • Two fire towers
  • Three state forest wild areas
  • Five state forests
  • Four state game lands
  • Four state forest picnic areas
  • Eight state parks
  • Eight state forest natural areas
  • Stone Valley Recreation Area
  • The Lower Trail
  • The Woolrich Factory Outlet Store

The Frankstown to Burnt Cabins Indian Path is crossed and the Great Island Indian Path is followed in part by MST.

Intermediate access from paved roads is available from:

  • PA 326 near Hewitt
  • Beans Cove Road
  • PA 326 in Rainsburg Gap
  • SR 1004 in Everett
  • SR 1005 in Snake Spring Valley
  • PA 36
  • PA 164
  • PA 866 at Williamsburg
  • US 22
  • PA 26
  • US 322
  • PA 45
  • PA 192
  • Sugar Valley Narrows Road
  • PA 880
  • PA 150
  • PA 44
  • SR 4001
  • PA 414

There are a host of unpaved roads that also provide access in season.

The MST is marked with rectangular orange blazes on the main trail and blue blazes on side trails.

Double blazes are used to mark turns.

Principle features of the MST are its many views, side trails, and fragile illusion of isolation and wilderness.

The narrow ridges afford views and provide an illusion of remoteness and solitude in the second most industrialzed state in the nation, yet the MST is rarely more than two kilometers from the nearest road.

The level of usage is still low and if you hike alone you may meet more bears than people.

Thus its recognition as, "The Wildest Trail in Pennsylvania."

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Mid-State Trail Association.

Mid State Trail Trail Map

The Mid State Trail Trail Guide (10th ed.) and maps can be obtained from the Keystone Trails Association or from:

Mid State Trail Association
P.O. Box 885
Huntingdon, PA 16652

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Blackwell, PA
Length: 319 total miles
Skill level: Easy to strenuous
Trail type: Point-to-point

​Old Loggers Path

This premier trail covers 27 miles within the heart of the Loyalsock State Forest.

Get Old Loggers Path Trail details

​The trail is a 27.1 mile long circuit trail located in northeastern Lycoming County.

The starting point is located approximately 2.7 miles Southwest of Ellenton on Legislative Route 41110.

The trail is located entirely on state forest lands, land that had formerly belonged to the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Co.

The trail layout has taken advantage of the engineering expertise of the early logging railroaders as it follows the grades.

The highlights of the trail are:

  • The many cuts and fills on the grades
  • Rock Run (one of the prettiest streams in Pennsylvania)
  • Vistas that look into the McIntyre Wild Area
  • Pleasant Stream
  • Loyalsock Trail region

The trail is blazed in orange.

The trail area, as well as many of the trail areas of Pennsylvania, have been written up in a historical series of logging railroad books of Pennsylvania.

The book that covers this region is called "Ghost Lumber Towns of Central Pennsylvania." It includes Masten, which is the starting point of the Old Loggers Path.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Keystone Trails Association.

Old Loggers Path Trail Map (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Masten, PA
Length: 27 total miles
Skill level: Easy to Moderate
Trail type: Loop

Pinchot Trail

This trail is named after former PA Governor and conservationist Gifford Pinchot and covers 23 miles within the Pinchot State Forest.

Get Pinchot Trail details.

The Pinchot Trail is a 26 mile loop-type footpath in the Pinchot State Forest.

Backpack campers and hikers will find this trail on the Pocono Plateau challenging, exciting, and beautiful.

It offers everything from:

  • A scenic overlook of expansive forests
  • A path sheltered by hemlocks next to a gurgling creek
  • Bog areas which contain some plants not common to Pennsylvania

The trail is blazed in orange.

Although the entire trail can be hiked in one day by an experienced hiker in good physical condition, most hikers prefer to take two or more days.

Most hikers camp overnight along the trail or use one of the connector trails to make short one-day hikes.

With a township road cutting through the center of the system, many one-day hikers do the north loop and the south loop on seperate days.

Pinchot Trail Map (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Thornhurst, PA
Length: 26 total miles
Skill level: Strenuous
Trail type: Loop

​Quehanna Trail

For a true backcountry wilderness experience, it doesn't get much better than this 75-mile trail that will take the adventerous deep within the Moshannon and Elk State Forests.

Get Quehanna Trail details.

​The Mosquito Creek Bridge on the Quehanna Trail is temporarily closed due to flood damage.

The Quehanna Trail is a 75-mile loop trail in the Moshannon and Elk State Forests.

The trail passes through some of the most wild and beautiful country Pennsylvania has to offer.

The main orange blazed trail begins on the western end at Parker Dam State Park.

From Parker Dam, the trail goes east into the Quehanna Wild Area toward Karthaus and Piper, then north toward Sinnemahoning, and finally west through the Marion Brooks Natural Area back to Parker Dam.

There are two blue blazed cross-connector trails and numerous blue blazed side trails that add another 30 miles of trails so that the casual or avid hiker may spend a few hours or a few days enjoying the beauty of the Quehanna Wild Area.

These additional 30 miles of blue blazed trails helps hikers to fashion shorter circuit hikes and enjoy many beautiful sights off the main orange trail.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Quehanna Area Trails Club.

Quehanna Trail Eastern Map (PDF)

Quehanna Trail Western Map (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: State College, PA
Length: 75 total miles
Skill level: Strenuous
Trail type: Loop

​Rocky Knob Trail

This is the perfect shorter hike for someone looking for a taste of what the Michaux State Forest has to offer.

Get Rocky Knob Trail details.

The rocky Knob trail is a loop trail approximately four miles in length.

The road portion of this trail was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corp during 1937.

They attempted to build a road connecting the Ridge Road with Birch Run Road, but were thwarted in their attempt by the rugged geology of the area.

During 1976, the Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) constructed a trail which begins along the northern portion of this road.

It traverses a variety of scenic areas including Rocky Knob and connects back to the road at the southern end.

During the summer of 1977, the YCC developed numbered stations showing various points of interest for the hikers of this trail.

The Rocky Knob trail is blazed in orange.

Rocky Knob Trail Map (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Caledonia, PA
Length: 4 miles
Skill level: Easy to Moderate
Trail type: Loop

​Susquehannock Trail

The vast majority of this challenging hiking experience is within the big woods country of the Susquehannock State Forest.

Get Susquehannock Trail details.

​This rolling, long-distance hiking trail swings an impressive oval through Susquehannock State Forest, visiting:

  • Ole Bull and Patterson state parks
  • Hammersly Wild Area
  • Cherry Springs Fire Tower

On this Allegheny Mountain tour, explore a terrain of moderate relief, with long, even-height ridges cut by sparkling runs that host native brook trout.

Maple and beech dominate the second-growth hardwood forests, joined by impressive black cherry and stands of hemlock, planted pine, or Norway spruce.

This long-distance loop and its associated spurs offer comfortable travel, incorporating existing foot trails, old and new logging roads, and abandoned logging railroad grades.

Allot at least a week to tour the entire loop and travel is mostly on public land.

The trail is marked by 2" x 6" rectangular orange blazes. At intervals, the STS emblem is painted on trees.

There are no shelters along the trail, but backpackers may build fires using the proper precautions.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Susquehannock Trail Club.

Susquehannock Trail Map

Detailed trail maps and guides are available from:

Susquehannock Trail Club
P.O. Box 643
Coudersport, PA 16915

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Coudersport, PA
Length: 85 total miles
Skill level: Easy to Strenuous
Trail type: Loop

​Thunder Swamp Trail

Half of this trail that covers a variety of habitats and terrain lies within the Delaware State Forest.

Get Thunder Swamp Trail details.

The Thunder Swamp Trail system provides a 45-mile network of interconnecting hiking trails.

Built by the Youth Conservation Corps during the 1970s, the trail continues to provide a variety of hiking opportunities.

The main trail, blazed in orange, has been designated as a State Forest Hiking Trail.

Special protection is given to the trail corridor to provide the hiker with a quality experience.

Following the trail loops, you can view the Pocono Mountains in detail.

You will encounter gradual changes of elevation, experience the dryness of ridgetops, the coolness of the wetlands and streams, and witness an array of native plants and animals.

The Thunder Swamp Trail system crosses numerous ridges, valleys, and follows the contours of wetlands.

The trail surface is often wet, uneven, and rocky.

A hiking boot which affords ankle protection and reduces water penetration is recommended.

The trail is maintained by the Keystone Trails Association and the Pocono Outdoor Club in cooperation with the Delaware State Forest District.

Thunder Swamp Trail Map (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Stroudsburg, PA
Length: 45 total miles
Skill level: Moderate
Trail type: Loop

​Tuscarora Trail

This challenging hike will take you up and over some of the ridges of the Buchanan and Tuscarora State Forests.

Get Tuscarora Trail details.

The Tuscarora Trail was originally created as a new route for the Appalachian Trail.

It first departs the Appalachian Trail at the top of Blue Mountain in Deans Gap.

It travels along ridge tops, southwesterly, to Maryland, where it connects to the Big Blue Trail before joining the Appalachian Trail again in Shenandoah National Park.

The trail is more than 250 miles in length, with 110 miles in Pennsylvania.

The Tuscarora Trail is marked with rectangular blue blaze marks.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club - North Chapter.
 
Tuscarora Trail Map

Trail guide and maps can be obtained from:

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Bedford, PA
Length: 110 miles (in PA)
Skill level: Moderate
Trail type: Point-to-point
 

​West Rim Trail

This trail provides some truly breathtaking views of the famed Pennsylvania Grand Canyon within the Tioga State Forest.

Get West Rim Trail details.

The West Rim Trail is a 30-mile hiking trail located adjacent to the Western Rim of Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon.

The northern section of the canyon is about 800 feet deep and about 2,000 feet from rim to rim.

The exposed rock is estimated to be more than 350 million years old.

Most of the important geologic process which formed the canyon as it now exists occurred less than 20,000 years ago.

Before glacial activity took place in the present canyon area, the headwaters of Pine Creek took a northeastern drainage course.

Glaciers deposited a blanket of gravel, sand, and clay blocking the flow of Pine Creek. This natural dam forced Pine Creek to reverse its flow and drain to the south.

This overflow cut through the drainage divide and formed the canyon.

The trail offers spectacular views of the canyon. In some spots, the trail follows the very rim of the canyon, so watch your step.

West Rim Trail Map - Northern Section (PDF)

West Rim Trail Map - Southern Section (PDF)

Trail Stats

Nearby City: Ansonia, PA
Length: 30 miles
Skill level: Moderate
Trail type: Point-to-point