Jackson Trail Loop

A classic trail running route near town with several vistas along Pine Grove Mountain.

Trail Running Moderate

Distance
9.6 km
Ascent
291 m
Descent
291 m
Low Point
402 m
High Point
650 m
Gradient
12˚
VIEW ON MAP
Jackson Trail Loop Map

Description

Located off PA-26 and just a short drive from downtown, this trail run 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.

The route is best run clockwise, offering excellent views across the ~2.5-mile ridgeline. The traverse begins with an easy two-track to a series of broadcasting towers. After passing the last building, the route 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 run.

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 runners.

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

Difficulty

Moderate

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area