Top five hiking spots you don't want to miss this spring

It’s finally happening.

The sun is finally starting to peek out of the clouds, slowly spreading warmth and happy days for Happy Valley.

Once the temperatures start rising, so might your ambitions to rise up hills and mountains — or as it is commonly known as, hiking.

Pennsylvania is a home to beautiful mountain ranges that kiss the sky with their peaks and provide beauty and glory to the state. Many of the best hiking spots are either in Centre County or less than an hour away, meaning those peaks are right at your fingertips.

So slide on those sneakers, pack those backpacks and wave to the sun as you climb higher towards it.

The following are the top five places to go hiking this spring:

Mount Nittany

500 Mount Nittany Road, Boalsburg

The mountain that gave the Nittany Lion his name, Mount Nittany is a symbolic geographical staple in Centre County, full of exceptional views featuring campus, the Beaver Stadium, the Bryce Jordan Center and Tussey Mountain. The mountain is home to blazed Blue and White Trails that are maintained by the Mount Nittany Conservancy. The hiking at Mount Nittany is a challenge, but one that is in every way worth it. Take in the beautiful array of trees and flowers, the rocky trails that go around in a loop as well as the secret valley at the top of Mount Nittany where there rests a nature preserve. Come on down and hike on up the mountain that overlooks the hustle and bustle of all things Penn State.

Shaver’s Creek

3400 Discovery Road, Petersburg

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center can be known for their Maple Harvest Festivals, animal and birds of prey shows, great local music as well as Outdoor School and summer camps. Just as important are Shaver’s Creek hiking trails — also known as the hiking trails of Stone Valley. There are options aplenty with eye-grabbing names, including Upper Black Walnut Loop, Potter Puddle’s Trail and Bluebird Trail. All the trails weave through Pennsylvania woodlands, marshlands and hillsides, ultimately making up the entirety of the 7,000-acre Stone Valley Forest. Shaver’s Creek is also the host of Lake Perez, circumnavigated by the Lake Trail. Gab some binoculars and a field guide and see the beautiful views, birds and creatures of Shaver’s Creek!

Jackson Trail

Jackson Trail, State College

In 1971, Pine Grove Mills was bought by Thomas Ferguson for 300 pounds in gold and silver coins. The land was 321 acres. Years later, Ferguson started building the first of his mills; a grove of pine trees had divided the new mills and so the name Pine Grove Mills was the next thing coined. Up in Pine Grove Mills, however, hiking is more than available. Come and visit the Jackson Trail — a trail that is known to never be too populated. Enjoy peace and privacy as you mount through the rocks and take in the spring foliage and beautiful views. This trail is known as the rockiest out there in the region — are you up for the challenge? 

The Hillside Nature Trail

Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County

This hiking trail is on the lighter side, but the views are still just as spectacular. The path is neatly trimmed and provides a safe space for the mind to be as clear as a cloudless sky above. Marvel at the overgrown vines, tall trees and large rocks as you make your way the bird sanctuary the Hillside Nature Trail offers. Trekkers of the trail can there explore the habitats of the native songbirds, falling in love with the beauty and simplicity interwoven in the surrounding nature. There’s no saying ‘no’ to this hike that is more like a relaxing walk trough forest and wonder.

Terrace Mountain Trail

Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County

Want something vigorous and strong? An experience to remember and never forget? Well, then the 18 mile long Terrace Mountain Trail is rewarding for both the physique and the mind, pushing you and challenging you and then providing you with breathtaking views of the lake in hushed solitude. The Terrace Mountain Trail crosses over the entire eastern side of Raystown Lake. You can choose to hike through the day or have an overnight hike, deep in the rugged terrain. The wildlife is diverse and the suspension bridge is a must-see— don’t shy away, but try away, at a trail that will definitely be an experience — a story to tell the kids — at the very least. 


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