Hike from Musser Gap to Shingletown Gap and back. Pass several ridgetop vistas and a Roman Tower. This route is a great day hike, but there are several options to add mileage if you're looking to do an overnight trip.
Portions of the trail follow rocky, technical terrain. Watch for rattlesnakes, especially along the rocky outcrops and vistas.
Begin the hike at the Musser Gap parking lot. Hike past the gate and follow the wide, gravel path of the Musser Gap Trail
through field edge and into the forest. After crossing a bridge bear to the left and continue up the dirt road-like hill on Musser Gap. At the next intersection, bear left and continue until coming to the intersection with the Mountain Mist Trail
on the powerline.
Cross the gravel path, through the weeds, and continue on the yellow-blazed Musser Gap Trail
. The trail starts to climb steep, singletrack, rocky terrain until intersecting with the Mid-State Trail at the top of the ridge. At the intersection of the Mid-State Trail you'll see the first of 5-6 vistas along this route.
Make a left and follow the orange-blazed Mid-State Trail in an Easterly direction. Follow the ridgeline of the MST on technical, rocky terrain, passing several more South-facing vistas. After approximately 2 miles make a left onto the blue-blazed side trail leading to the Roman Tower. The Roman Tower is a 6ft high stone structure that you are able to climb into and have a seat, pretending to be a Roman emperor while overlooking Mt. Nittany. Of course it wasn't really built by the Romans, but it's still pretty cool.
Backtrack slightly towards the MST and make a right just before the intersection following the blue-blazes of the Downer Trail
. The Downer Trail
is a steep, technical down hill leading into the Shingletown Gap area. Once the trail begins to level a bit, make a left onto the Red-White Trail. Follow the Red-White blazes through some easy terrain and make a left at the next trail intersection followed by an immediate right onto the Blue-White Trail. The Blue-White trail leads up some steep terrain until it gains a ridge at the intersection of the Mountain Mist Trail
Make a left and follow the ridgeline in a Westerly direction for approximately 3/4 of a mile until coming to the Highline Vista, which overlooks the State College area. Follow the powerline down the dirt access road until it circles back to the Musser Gap Trail
. Make a right and follow the wide path down the hill and back to the parking lot.
If time and energy allows, you can hike the Huckleberry Loop
to Lion's Valley Vista
and then down the Frog Hollow Trail
before returning to the Musser Gap Trail
and the parking lot. Combine some of the Shingletown Gap trails for a longer day hike or overnight backpack trip.