Nestled in the heart of central Pennsylvania, Rothrock State Forest offers an unmatched experience for horse enthusiasts. Spanning over 96,000 acres, this scenic forest is a haven for horseback riders seeking beautiful trails, breathtaking views, and a rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here, we explore some of the best horse trails within Rothrock State Forest.
1. Mid State Trail:
As the longest, continuous hiking trail in Pennsylvania, the Mid State Trail also welcomes equestrians looking to explore its serene beauty. Stretching over 45 miles through Rothrock State Forest, this trail offers riders a challenging and diverse terrain. From rocky paths to gentle slopes, riders can traverse through lush forests, mountain laurel-covered hillsides, and stunning vistas.
2. Shingletown Gap Trail:
Known for its convenience and accessibility, the Shingletown Gap Trail is an excellent option for riders of all skill levels. This well-marked trail winds through the evergreen-covered valleys and rocky ridges of the Shingletown Gap. Along the way, riders can enjoy scenic overlooks and ample opportunities to spot wildlife. Keep an eye out for deer, turkey, and even the occasional black bear.
3. Bear Meadows Loop:
For riders seeking a more relaxed experience, the Bear Meadows Loop offers a peaceful and picturesque ride. This gentle, nearly nine-mile loop circles around a unique sphagnum bog and is perfect for horseback riders who appreciate the serene beauty of wetlands. The loop also features stunning wildflower displays during the spring and summer months, adding a burst of color to your ride.
4. Tussey Mountain Trail:
If you're looking for a more challenging trail, the Tussey Mountain Trail is not to be missed. This multi-use, 11-mile trail provides riders with a thrilling journey up to Tussey Mountain's summit. As you ascend, prepare to be awestruck by panoramic views of Happy Valley and Penn State's campus. Keep your eyes peeled for soaring hawks and other birds of prey, who often catch thermals along the ridgeline.
5. Alan Seeger Natural Area:
Rich in history and natural beauty, the Alan Seeger Natural Area provides riders with an exceptional equestrian experience. This forested sanctuary encompasses over 158 acres and features a loop trail that meanders through old-growth forests, moss-covered rocks, and serene mountain streams. Riders will feel transported back in time as they explore this area that has remained relatively untouched for centuries.
Remember to always check trail conditions and regulations before embarking on any ride within Rothrock State Forest. Some trails may have specific restrictions or require permits, so it's essential to plan ahead. Additionally, ensure that you have proper equipment, including a well-fitted saddle, helmet, and appropriate riding gear, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
As you set off on your horseback adventure through Rothrock State Forest, take the time to soak in the tranquil beauty surrounding you. From challenging terrains to serene paths, these trails will undoubtedly leave equestrians with memories to cherish and a desire to return again and again. Discover the magic of Rothrock State Forest, where the bond between horse and rider can truly be nurtured amidst nature's splendor.