By: Levi Opsatnic
Living in State College literally affords a ton of hiking and other outdoor recreation options. Whether you’re trail runner, hiker, backpacker, or fly fisherman (like myself), there’s sure to be a bounty of wonderful locations to keep you busy. Considering that the weather has been nothing but hot and dry for the past few weeks, I decided that it was a decent enough time to hike around one of State College’s closest trail systems: Shingletown Gap.
I’ve been relatively busy this summer, so this was my first time here since the early spring. Upon arriving at the parking lot found on Mountain Road, I noticed that no one else was in the lot and the pile of trash that’s usually found here was pretty well maintained. Erring on the side of optimism and a desire for solitude, I took this as a sign that this would a great time spent at a local trail.
I began to walk along the Shingletown Gap Trail. Even though this hike took place before all of our recent rains, I was still pretty shocked that the world around me was so green. After a short hike, I reached the area that’s full of large rock walls. Pennsylvania is loaded with rocks and geological formations, but something about this display being so close to State College always appeals to me. I continued on for a mile or so, every so often passing by a creature that would catch my attention. I finally made it to a section of Rock Run that was flowing quite nicely and decided that this was as great a place as any to splash some water on my face to get a quick chill. After soaking in my surroundings and watching a few cased caddis amble through the stream, I decided that it was time to head back. The hike back to the parking lot was just as enjoyable as the hike in.
On my drive back into town, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky State College is to have such a wonderful trail system in such close proximity to town. Sure, this area does get a lot of traffic, but there’s always room to spread out and find a sense of isolation. For reasons like this, I’m sure that I’ll continue to hike around these trails for years to come.
Not only is Shingletown perfect for a hike by yourself, but it’s also the perfect place to let your furry friends explore some of Pennsylvania’s nature.