Everett Region map overview

Everett Region of the Mid State Trail

The highest knob, the sharpest ridgelines, and some of the most dramatic views on Mid State Trail await intrepid hikers in the Everett Region. Everett Region starts at a connection with trails of Green Ridge State Forest at the Maryland line, climbs the highest and wildest sections of Tussey Ridge, and ends at US 22 near Water Street.
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State College Region map overview

State College Region of the Mid State Trail

Beautiful views and amazing natural features mark State College Region. Although the trail's heart is the most popular Region of MST, if you hike alone you still will probably encounter more bears than people. The State College Region, where MST began in 1969 as a project of Penn State Outing Club, extends from Water Street through the "Seven Mountains" of Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests to R.B. Winter State Park.
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Woolrich Region map overview

Woolrich Region of the Mid State Trail

Straddling both of Pennsylvania's mountain zones, the Tiltrock Country and the Alleghenies, Woolrich Region continues MST's dramatic views, climbing its highest relief at the Gates of Pine Creek within the Allegheny Front. Rocks in the footway gradually get smaller and smaller traveling north, making this Region popular among backpackers. The Woolrich Region extends from remote ridges and valleys, past its eponymous historic mill village and outlet store, over the Allegheny Front to the mouth of Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon.
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Tioga Region map overview

Tioga Region of the Mid State Trail

Entering Pennsylvania's Northern Tier, shaped by massive continental glaciers, Tioga Region continues the challenging backcountry hiking experience of MST through deeply wooded high plateau, and really rural low hills. The views continue and the terrain becomes ever more varied, offering pleasant natural and cultural discoveries around each bend and over every knob. The Tioga Region north of Blackwell is in development: check updates below to see the trail's progress.
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Poe Paddy Tunnel Reopens!

Great news, the Poe Paddy Tunnel has been reopened. The reroute over the mountain is scheduled to be removed next week. The contractors have a little cleanup to do, but hikers are welcomed to resume using the tunnel. 

The online Brushwacker articles have been brought up to date. The latest articles published are Fall 2013 to Fall 2015.

The TOM THWAITES MEMORIAL HIKE for the WOOLRICH REGION will be held on Sunday, November 1 and will cover 6 1/2 miles from R. B. Winter State Park to the White Deer Creek Road crossing. The hike itself is moderate to difficult and includes one hill to climb up to the Sand Mountain Fire Tower. We will meet at R. B. Winter State Park by the lake at the parking lot on Route 192 at 9:45 AM and leave from there promptly at 10:00 AM. Bring a lunch and plenty of water.

The TOM THWAITES MEMORIAL HIKE for the STATE COLLEGE REGION of the MID STATE TRAIL will be held on Saturday, November 14 and will be an 11 km round trip from the parking area on Little Flat Tower Rd. north on the Mid State Trail passing the site of the first Mid State Trail clearing back in 1969 (as well as the site of the Tom Thwaites Monument) to Indian Wells Overlook. The hike itself is moderate with no real climbs or descents. The footway is somewhat rocky in a couple spots. This hike will be led by past MSTA secretary Scott Adams who also runs the PAHikes.com website. 

We will meet at the parking area located at the gate on Little Flat Tower Rd. at 9:45 AM, Saturday, November 14 and start hiking at 10:00 AM. We will have two groups. One that will only go as far as the monument before returning to the parking area and the other which will go all the way to Indian Wells Overlook and back. Hikers should dress appropriately for the weather and bring water and snacks.
Stories and memories of Tom and his hiking adventures will be welcome.
This tribute to Tom Thwaites was read at his memorial service on April 4th on behalf of the
Mid State Trail Association, and all the volunteers, who have, over the years, made dream of
a trail become the longest and wildest footpath in Pennsylvania.

The Mid State Trail began as, and remains,  a volunteer coordinated creation.
This was something that Tom was both extremely proud of and exceedingly worried
about.  He told the Penn State Outing Club students that it was their perpetual gift
to others and that it made Pennsylvania a better place.  He later would characterize
it as a community project.  Yet, at the same time, as the kilometers increased so did 
the anxiety, as he saw the growing and continuous need for volunteer support to keep
the trail open.  The closer his dream came to realization, the more eager he was to
give it away to people he could entrust with pieces of it.  This is what lead him to
first develop a network of section overseers and then to give maintainers
an organizational home in the founding of the Mid State Trail Association.
What, after all,  could be a more difficult and  elusive quest than wrangling a disparate
group of highly idiosyncratic individuals into some form of a stable, cohesive and
sustainable volunteer base?  Possibly, only lassoing a unicorn.
As the chief advocate and main recruiter for the trail, Tom became a kind of Pied Piper.
But the music he really wanted people to listen to, to hear, and to be enchanted by,
was the song of the trail itself.  He knew from his experience with the 50 Hikes Guides
that even with his description in hand, the hike you take is always your own.  Although
he was a beacon for the trail and his passion for it was incandescent, he never wanted
to overshadow the volunteer efforts of others.  He encouraged everyone to shine
by their own light, so that they would become personally invested in the future of the trail. 
Nothing would animate his eyebrows with delight more, than when a maintainer would
claim that their section was the best part of the trail.
In the late 90's Tom told a reporter that he was a tad less concerned about the future of the
Mid State Trail.  He said "Its just nice to let the trail get a life of its own, because I worry
about what will happen to it when I'm gone.  Now I think it will survive because it is such
a special wild trail".
Today, as we see Tom off from this final trailhead we need to give him credit for yet
another accomplishment, for in the end he was able to charm the unicorn into
eating out of his hand. 
In 1989 Jean Aron wrote the 'Mid State Trail Song', this is it's final verse:
With my boots and pack I'll wander through the huckleberries blue,
'Til I rest my soul on Big Flat with a bear to share the view.
Let me go to hikers heaven at the ending of my tale.
It will look like Pennsylvania, and I'll hike the Mid State Trail.


Collapsed Tunnel near Poe Paddy State Park to be repaired!

poepattytunnelclosedIn preperations to repair the partially collapsed tunnel near Poe Paddy State Park, the foot bridge over Penn's Creek will be tempararily closed. Beginning April 6th, construction crews will begin repairing the bridge to allow construction vehicles to cross Penn's Creek to repair the partially collapsed tunnel. The bridge will remain closed for approximately one month with no plans of a bypass route.

Click HERE to read DCNR Press Release

MST Volunteers Queue Up

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In Memoriam

Thomas T. Thwaites
1931 - 2014

    In the late 1950's when Tom relocated from the mid-west to Rochester, New York to pursue his Doctorate studies he naturally gravitated to the company of other hikers and together they would take excursions around the Empire State.  At some point, a member of the group suggested that they try exploring the hiking possibilities to their south, in the Keystone State.  As Tom recounted it, the rest of the hikers just smiled knowingly to themselves at the naiveté of such a recommendation, as one replied, "But don't you know that Pennsylvania is paved".  As his wife Barbara confirms, Tom stuck to that mistaken notion until they moved to State College.  He then spent the next five decades guaranteeing that other hikers would not again underestimate the abundance, diversity, or challenge of the hiking experiences available in Pennsylvania, pushing his Rolatape measuring wheel of two meter circumference along hundreds of kilometers of treadway and writing detailed trail descriptions marbled with wry observations and novel asides.  The geological formation known as the Allegheny Front, he noted in one of his Fifty Hike guides, can be seen from the moon.
    In State College, Tom and Barbara also found a circle of like minded peers and friends whose rambles and walks in Penn's Woods led them to recognize the untapped potential for increased hiking opportunities and long distance backpacking through trail development and connectivity.  This core group had both the vision and the dedication to chart a course of trail building and maintaining that would lead, over time, to the establishment of the Mid State Trail, the founding of the Mid State Trail Association, the opening of hiking and skiing opportunities along the Allegheny Front and in the Quehanna, the launching of the Keystone Trails Association's Trail Care Program and, not incidentally,  inspiring generations of volunteers to join and continue their project.
   Tom believed that walking was a fundamental aspect of what it meant to be human, that the big toe was as important to who we are as the opposable thumb.  He described hiking, and the pleasure we get from being surrounded by and moving through nature, as an activity that reattunes us to our deepest selves.  For him, a boot busting hike was not only a day well spent, but also a spiritual encounter with who we really are.   This explains, as well, why Tom held the outspoken opinion that the hiking experience deserved to be protected from the encroachment of other forms of recreational trail uses, and always championed the designation of 'hiking only' trails.  With walkers being the slowest and most vulnerable user on a trail, Tom would rail that multi-use trails left hikers "holding the dirty end of the stick".
   Over the years, and through successive editions, Tom's trail guides have given countless hikers the confidence to leave the trailhead behind and explore the hidden recesses of Pennsylvania's natural landscapes and varied geography.  His unparalleled impact on promoting the hikes and trail systems of the state can only be rivaled by his standing as a mentor of, and recruiter for, the trail care movement that has done so much to build and maintain those trails and keep them safe and accessible for the use of the general public.  "A few people with hand tools can work miracles", he wrote. "Physically and emotionally, the rewards of trail work are as real as they are little known".  Thanks to his passionate advocacy and magnetic approachability participants continue to experience those rewards today.   Even at his most quixotic Tom never lacked for a willing and loyal Sancho Panza to follow his footsteps, lopper in hand.
   In the dusky twilight at the end of a trail care work day, Tom would sit in the circle, along with the other tired yet convivial volunteers, as the half light of the campfire flickered and sent shadows dancing across the assembled faces.  Here he was most at ease and gregarious as he swapped stories with the other old-timers and chuckled at the recounting of human foibles and follies that seemingly have no end.  As people new to the crew leaned in so as to catch the fleeting remark, or chimed in with a comment, the enveloping darkness would grow and the words and bursts of laughter would mix with the smoke and the crackle of the blaze and drift up and away into the night.


Looking over Bear Meadowstomthwaitesrestingseeley46

Mid State Trail Association, Inc. is a Pennsylvania incorporated non-profit membership corporation, and an IRS registered charitable organization EIN# 25-1424971

Mid State Trail Association
PO Box 885
Huntingdon, Pa. 16652
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ycb award june 11 2014The Mid State Trail Association's  "Yellow Creek Bridge"  was one of 10 projects to gain national recognition recently with a  2014 award from the Coalition for Recreational Trails. Some of the other projects on the podium were from Alaska, New Mexico and New Hampshire. Deb Dunkle accepted the Recreational Trails Program Achievement Award on behalf of the MSTA at a ceremony held on June 11th in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC.

The Recreational Trails grant money, which made the Yellow Creek Bridge and the other projects possible, came from the federal gas tax fund for nonhighway recreation. Over the past 20 years this fund has provided money for nearly 20,000 projects nationwide.  In Pennsylvania the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources oversees the dispersment of these grants. 

Also on hand to help Deb celebrate this honor were Lauren Imgrund and Vanyla Tierney representing DCNR, Gregory Miller and Pete Olsen from the American Hiking Society, Marianne Fowler and Derrick Crandall, CoChairs of the CRT and Ed Lawrence.

Greenwood Spur (10.8 km), Now Part of Standing Stone Trail, Rothrock State Forest and Greenwood Furnace State Park, Huntingdon County, State College Region

Guide: 12th Edition (2012) see also Temp Section A Guide (3/12)

   Map: See Standing Stone Trail website http://www.standingstonetrail.org

Alerts: Relocation north of Greenwood Furnace reflected in guide revision above. (4/12) SSTC plans further relocations, check their website for updates. (8/15)
Standing Stone Trail (SST) Club has assumed responsibility for the care of Greenwood Spur, which is in the process of being re-blazed orange as an extension of SST. For further information, see http://www.standingstonetrail.org (12/14, 8/15) 
The first KTA trail care weekend of the year in the State College Region


was held April 11 - 13, 2014 at Seven Mountains Boy Scout Camp. If the turn out was any indicator of things to come then we are in for a good year of Trail Cares and Crews. We had twenty volunteers signed in for the weekend. The weather could not have been any nicer and we did not even need to fire the wood stove Saturday night. 

                        Read the full story

Yellow Creek Bridge Dedication

As an all volunteer organization the Mid State Trail Association embodies the dedication of its members and their passion for the hiking experience that is found along Pennsylvania's longest and wildest footpath.
We know that the Mid State Trail provides an experience that connects people to communities, that connects hikers and other trail users, and, most mysteriously, that connects people to themselves.  That is where we leave the chatter of technology in the dust.

kta100milechalange thumbThe Keystone Trail Association, a volunteer-based organization, has as its members indi-viduals who are dedicated to “providing, preserving, protecting and promoting recreational hiking trails and hiking opportunitiesin Pennsylvania, and to representing and advocating the interests and concerns of the Pennsylvania hiking community.” Daryl Warren, of Wellsboro, hiked 212 miles in five months and recently was awarded the 100-Mile Challenge Award from the Keystone Trail Association.

Full Story

Welcome to the official site of Pennsylvania's Mid State Trail, with the most current and complete information about Pennsylvania's longest and wildest footpath. You'll also find information about the Mid State Trail Association, the all volunteer organization presented with the task of maintaining the trail.

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  • Today's urban society disconnects us from nature. All too easily we cling to the false hope that we have mastered nature, rather than standing in respect and stewardship of all things within nature, around us. Restoring our place within nature, requires of us that we get back to nature. Foot travel over a remote primitive trail brings an exhilaration, an aliveness that cleanses us of our worldly woes and restores our spirit. Mid State Trail was created to foster these simple, natural, spiritual experiences, so that we may all enjoy a greater respect for nature and therefore protect nature for all future generations.
    Dr. Thomas Thwaites, Father of the Mid State Trail
  • The sign says 'Foot Path Only,' and immediately I know why. The trail is as sinuous and undulating as an angry rattlesnake, and in summer, I bet there are more than a few of those. Entering a labyrinth of rock, outcroppings of immense sandstone, harbor bear-sized crevasses inviting hibernation. The place is so peaceful I could nap, except I keep anticipating an ambush from a lost band of native people or one of the mountain lions that no longer prowl Penn's Woods.
    Brook Lenker, PA DCNR The Word on the Wilds, December 2005
  • The foot path's length (504 km) and connection with the Great Eastern Trail footpath network, offers an extended unity with nature to long-distance walkers.
    Dr. Thomas Kelliher, former President of the MSTA