2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
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. 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/jackson_trail.htm#50hikes