Bear Meadows Loop

An easy hiking loop around one of the largest freshwater bogs in the eastern US.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
5.9 km
Ascent
49 m
Descent
49 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
549 m
High Point
568 m
Gradient
Bear Meadows Loop Map

This is by far one of the best hikes in Rothrock State Forest. Less than 30 minutes from downtown State College, this is a must-do for locals and travelers alike. The area, designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1965, provides a unique ecosystem atypical of the region.

Description

According to Wikipedia, "The bog, which covers 320 acres (130 ha), has been forming since the end of the last glacial period 10,000 years ago and is surrounded by an old-growth forest of boreal species typically found much farther north, such as black spruce, balsam fir, eastern hemlock, and yellow birch."

This loop can be done in either direction beginning at one of two trailheads on Bear Meadows Road. One lies at the Tussey Mountain trailhead and the other where John Wert Path begins. The route requires a short walk on an old logging road, and the Jean Aron Path parallels Bear Meadows Road between the trailheads.

Accessible year-round, the summer and fall months are some of the most visited. Melting snow and frequent rain can make hiking in the winter and spring slightly more difficult. If hiking in the summer, look for the wild blueberries lining the path and be mindful of the black bear that reside around the meadow.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BearMeadowsNaturalArea https://www.pahikes.com/bear-meadows-natural-area

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area