Mid State Trail: Jo Hays Vista to US-322

One of the most traveled portions of the MST as it passes near State College.

Hiking Difficult

40 km
1.3 km
1.4 km
1 day +
Low Point
385 m
High Point
732 m
Mid State Trail: Jo Hays Vista to US-322 Map

Known as sections 8 and 9, this is one of the most visited portions of the 330-mile-long Mid State Trail. As it traverses through Rothrock State Forest, the trail passes three natural areas, the most notable being Bear Meadows.


Though the entire trail runs south to north through the state, this particular segment has more of a west-to-east bearing. The western terminus lies along PA-26, just a short drive from downtown State College. Locals refer to this trailhead as "Jo Hays Vista" thanks to the overlook along the road that draws in visitors every days .

The segment begins with a steep descent from the ridge to an area where water is seasonally abundant. Following an old road bed, expect to get your feet wet during the first few miles. Several springs flow across the trail, and many locals will claim certain ones are safe to drink without treatment or filtering.

After passing a last spring along the roadbed, the trail begins a climb back onto the ridge. At times, portions can be extremely steep through fields of jagged, loose boulders. Upon reaching the ridge, the MST intersects the Jackson Trail, an excellent option to form a shorter day hike from the western trailhead.

Further ahead, the trail transitions from one ridge to the next before skirting around the perimeter of Bear Meadows Natural Area—one of the largest freshwater bogs in the Eastern US. A hiking loop through the meadow can be accessed via the Sand Spring Path or the Gettis Trail.

The MST continues with a steep, steady descent towards Detweiler Run Natural Area. At Detweiler Run Road there is a larger State Forest campsite to your right that can be reserved for free by contacting the state forest here.

The final portion of this segment follows the rugged Shingle Path into Penn-Roosevelt State Park. Ahead, the trail meanders northeast towards US-322. A tunnel under the road leads to a trail junction not far ahead. To the left, a spur trail connects to a picnic area along the highway that doubles as a popular trailhead.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MidStateTrail(Pennsylvania)



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.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November


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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area