Take exit 24 off I-80 onto Rt.26. Drive to State College and turn left onto US 322 south. Drive to the Tussey Mountain Ski Area. (about 5 miles east of State College). Turn onto Bear Meadows Rd., past the ski area, to the Bureau of Forestry parking area on your left (just before a bridge over a stream).
Additional parking at Penn Roosevelt State Park. Travel on US 322 .5 miles east of Potters Mills, where US 322 changes from 2 to 4 lanes. Turn south onto Crowfield Rd. and travel 6 miles to the park.
Located within the beautiful ridge and valley section of Pennsylvania, the 95,000 acre Rothrock State Forest, encompasses four State Parks, six natural areas and two wild areas. 100 miles of dirt roads and about 50 miles of trails for mountain biking, hiking and other outdoor recreational activities are also located within the boundaries of the Rothrock State Forest. The scenery is spectacular and there are many scenic vistas and overlooks along the trails and roads. The varied habitat which plays host to the country's oldest stand of hemlocks and a variety of wildlife including deer, bear, wild turkey and other small game.
They don't call it RothROCK for nothing as many of the off-road trails are rock gardens, extremely technical, steep with many sections of loose rock. Easier riding is to be found on the miles of dirt forest roads.
Take a good map with you as there are so many intersecting trails and not all of them are marked. The dirt roads are well-travelled but a lot of the single-track travels through remote and dangerous terrain. Get the purple lizard trail map at a bike shop in town, which has all of the trails in this area on it. This is also the place to be prepared with extra tire tubes and air as pinch flats are a possibility here on the rocky sections.
The following trails are some of the most popular trails in the forest.
IMBA Epic Ride (R3) (experts only)
This legendary R3 Roth Rock Ride was the second in a series of four '99 International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Epic mountain bike rides. This 30 mile epic route is a series of loops on a mix of mostly old logging roads, railroad grades and extreme technical single-track. It winds through Central Pennsylvania's ridges and valleys and crosses two counties. There is a total elevation gain of 5,100 vertical feet so expect steep descents, downed trees, hike-a-bike sections, rock gardens and loose rock on many stretches. The route visits three designated Natural Areas including Bear Meadows, a prehistoric bog and Alan Seeger Natural Area, home to some of the oldest hemlocks in the country.
Sassafras Trail (lower, upper, and extension) (all levels)
The Sassafras Trail connects Flat Road with Kettle Road between Greenwood Furnace and the Barrville area. The trail starts at the intersection of the Snowmobile Trail and Rag Hollow Road. This section is known as the “Lower Sassafras” No-name Trail (not named on the maps). It follows an old road grade with a long, steady climb up to the ridge. It travels a short way on Kettle Road, right on the top section's false flat before a fun descent down to Flat Road. Take a left on the road keeping a lookout for the right hand turn at the gate. Take the turn and ride among the low lands. All three sections together are a treat for any skill level.
For moderate and advanced riders: The trail forms some nice loops using Flat Road Trail and Pig Pile Trail.
Tussey Mountain Trail System (all levels, mostly moderate and advanced.)
To access these trails, take Route 322 towards Boalsburgh. Turn right onto Bear Meadows road and follow this up past the Tussey Mountain Ski Resort. You will see trails and dirt roads branching off of this road.
Suggested Loop: (challenging for beginners, moderate) This 5.5 mile ride has an elevation gain of about 500 feet. Ride up Bear Meadows Road and turn right onto the Kettle Trail. A short distance later turn right onto the Lonberger Path then head straight onto Laurel Run Road. Take a left back to Bear Meadows Road to complete the loop.
Tussey Mountain Trail & Extension (experts only)
The Tussey Mountain Trail is a scenic ridge-top multi-use trail located between Bear Meadows Road and Treaster Kettle Road. Starting from Kettle Trail on Tussey Ridge, the trail travels along the edge of the ridge. It's a technical ride with sheer drop offs on both sides of the trail (in places the trail is very narrow), obstacles, rocky sections, steep long climbs and descents.Trail Extension:
In 2002, due to a joint effort by local Mountain Bike Clubs and Bicycle Shops and with the expertise and help of the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew, a critical switchback and 200 feet of full bench cut trail was constructed to link the Tussey Mountain Trail to Treaster Kettle Road, which provides an all singletrack route from valley to ridgetop.
The Three Bridges Trail (moderate to advanced)
A short trail, referred to as Three Bridges because of the three wooden bridges in a row needed to cross a steep drainage section. It links the Spruce Gap Trail (Edge) to Laurel Run Road and it also shares a section of the Lonberger Path to meet Laurel Run Road.
Lonberger Path (challenging for beginners, all levels)
Parallels Bear Meadows Road from Galbraith Gap to North Bear Meadows Road. This rolling hard-packed trail stems from Laurel Run Road and climbs gently to North Bear Meadows Road. Most people like and ride the lower easier section of Lonberger Path. The upper part to North Bear Meadows Road is also nice but more challenging with rocks and some downed trees. In the Spring, the lower half of the trail is prone to water run off.
North Meadows Road (moderate to advanced)
Starting just south of the meadows off of Bear Meadows Road (gated) leading up to Gettis Ridge. It's a long gradual fire road climb with steep sections toward the end. The scenic views and vistas towards the top make the trip worthwhile.
John Wert Path (moderate to advanced)
Starts at Bear Meadows across from parking. This is basically a flat and very rocky trail. It follows the stream and travels through rhododendron thickets and hemlock stands. It's a relatively safe trail as it doesn't skirt cliff edges with sudden drop offs. The rock fields may look daunting at first glance but if you study it, you will find there is a way though. This trail connects with the Tussey Ridge Trail Extension from Treaster Kettle Road.
Little Flat Fire Lookout Tower: (one mile dirt road - easy)
There are four maintained fire towers in the Rothrock District - Jacks on Butler Knob, Loop on State Game Land #118 on Tussey Mountain, Greenwood and Little Flat. Several popular mountain bike trails in the area converge at the tower which is located on the northern edge of Rothrock State Forest. For a real easy ride, a one-mile dirt road, closed to automobiles, with very little elevation gain makes a nice family bike ride. Keep in mind it's 2 miles total round-trip, but it's all downhill on the way back.
For more information:
Rothrock State Forest
Phone: (814) 643-2340