Jackson Trail Loop

A day hike near town with several vistas along Pine Grove Mountain.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
9.6 km
Ascent
293 m
Descent
293 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
402 m
High Point
650 m
Gradient
12˚
Jackson Trail Loop Map

Located off PA-26 and just a short drive from downtown, this hike is an excellent introduction to the rugged, relentless rocks of Central Pennsylvania. Beginning across from Jo Hays Vista, the route traverses the Jackson Trail across a ridge, then returns via orange-blazed Mid State Trail.

Description

The route is best hiked clockwise, offering excellent views across the ~2.5-mile ridgeline. The traverse begins with an easy walk past a series of broadcasting towers and quickly transitions into rugged singletrack that'll test your footing. Along the way, you'll pass several viewpoints, any of which can be chosen as the destination of a shorter out-and-back hike.

After merging onto the Mid State Trail, you will begin to descend into the valley below. The path can be quite steep at times, and the plethora of rocks will require you to be extra mindful of your footing. As the trail begins to level out, the ferns begin to contrast the rocky, exposed ridgeline above.

Ahead, you will encounter several fresh springs that run across the trail. While some can be navigated with ease, others may require you to get your feet wet after recent rains. If you are in need of water, there are plenty of options to refill along this stretch. While some locals choose to drink straight from the source, filtering or treating the water first is always advised.

The final leg of the hike is a steep, demanding ~600' climb back up to the trailhead. Be sure to save some energy for this portion, as it can exhaust even the strongest of hikers.

Sources: http://www.billshikes.com/trails/central/jacksontrail.htm#50hikes

Difficulty

Moderate

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

High Exposure

3 out of 4

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