Allegheny Front Trail

An epic multi-day hike circling Black Moshannon State Park.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
63 km
Ascent
1.7 km
Descent
1.7 km
Duration
1 day +
Low Point
391 m
High Point
730 m
Gradient
10˚
Allegheny Front Trail Map

Known by locals as the AFT, the Allegheny Front Trail is a 40+ mile long trail circling Black Moshannon State Park near State College. Entirely singletrack, it's a challenging hike often split into 3 or 4 days, though countless connecting and intersecting trails offer options for shorter day hikes. The trail includes several stunning views, dark stands of native red spruce and hemlock, plus a stunning selection of summer flowers and fungi. PA Hikes even describes it as a "great trail for those new to backpacking," though its scenic mountain streams and unique flora are sure to impress any hiker.

Description

Completed in the 1990s as a collaboration between numerous clubs and trail associations, the trail has changed very little since its inception. Several pristine streams and small brooks host trout, while boardwalks help to traverse some of the lower wetlands. It's also noted that you will get your feet wet several times along the way, and that mud and standing water is guaranteed year-round.

For those planning to hike the entire circuit, water is available along most of the trail, but should be treated or filtered first. The loop can also be divided into eastern and western sections by utilizing the Shingle Mill Trail near Black Moshannon State Park. Potable water and restrooms are available near the beach at the park, but not at any of the trailheads.

Seen here, the main trailhead for the AFT is off of Rattlesnake Pike (PA-504), just a few minutes east of the beach at Black Moshannon State Park. Other popular access points include Beaver Road to the south, Black Moshannon Road to the west, and Myers Run Road to the north. Shirks Road also offers several car camping opportunities plus nearby access to the trail.

Sources: https://www.kta-hike.org/allegheny-front https://pahikes.com/blogs/allegheny-front-trail

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Guidebooks in this area