Hike Challenge 3: Mid-State Trail & Jo Hays Vista

It is week three of our summer trail adventure!  This week we are taking you to Jo Hays Vista located along the Mid-State Trail on your way to Camp Golden Pond at the top of Tussey Mountain in Rothrock State Park just off of Route 26 S.  There are stunning views of Happy Valley from the vista and an easy trail walk out and back to another overlook area where the power lines come up the mountain.  If you have already done this trail, then we encourage you to cross the road and do the Jackson Trail which also has an overlook.  Or really challenge yourself by continuing down the Mid-State Trail to Indian Steps!

Week 3 Hike:  Jo Hays Vista  


Distance:  2.6 miles out and back; 187 foot elevation change.  This is an out and back hike so you can choose how far you feel comfortable hiking.  The map attached shows you ending at Jo Hays Vista, however, we will be starting at Jo Hays Vista. This hike is part of the Mid-State Trail with several other trails branching off of it should you choose to challenge yourself and explore a new area you haven’t already hiked.  Taking the main trail from the vista, a little under a mile down the path there will be another clearing with more views overlooking Happy Valley.  This is a good spot to sit and eat a snack/take a break.  If you opt to continue further down the trail, there is a mailbox with a notebook in it that you can sign.  Please bring your own pen and hand sanitizer if you choose to write your name and hike date down!  This portion of the hike is easy and great for families with small kiddos.  Continuing further down the path will bring you to some boulder hiking which can be tricky but fun (not recommended for littler ones).  

Directions:  Heading from State College, take State Route PA 26 S as if you were heading to Camp Golden Pond/Whipple Damn, Shaver’s Creek.  At the mountain peak on route PA 26 S in Rothrock Forest you will see a sign on your right with the overlook.  There is parking on the right side of the road. If you begin to descend the mountain then you have gone too far.  There are usually other cars parked up there and it is pretty easy to spot.  The trail head is southwest of the overlook.

Bonus Challenges:  

Indian Steps Loop  


Distance:  9.5 mile loop with significant elevation change; 7.8 miles to steps then down/up steps and back 

Jackson Trail:  


Distance:  5.3 miles out and back, 255 foot elevation change 

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