Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mid State Trail?

A long distance footpath, the longest in Pennsylvania.

 

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What is a "footpath" as opposed to a "trail"?

Long ago, all trails were footpaths. Then the Spaniards introduced the horse, and later came the bicycle and the automobile. Still later the ATV arrived on the scene. Some people who have created travelways to ride one or more of these items on, have appropriated the term "trail" in naming some of their passages, so now people frequently confuse a natural surface footpath in the trees with a graded stone-covered narrow road. We carry the name Mid State TRAIL for historical reasons, but we are as we always have been, a FOOTPATH welcoming those who WALK.

 

Why do you exist?

Our vision statement articulates our reasons behind the placement and occasional relocations of the Mid State Trail.

Do you exist?

Mid State Trail Association, Inc. is a Pennsylvania incorporated non-profit membership corporation, and an IRS registered charitable organization. Our EIN is 25-1424971, and our address is PO Box 885, Huntingdon PA 16652. 

How can I find it?

The MST now stretches from the Mason Dixon Line near Flintstone, Maryland, to a junction with Crystal Hills Trail, a spur of the Finger Lakes Trail at the New York state line near Lawrenceville, PA. General route of the Mid State Trail (as described in the old 10th edition) is shown on Pennsylvania's Official Transportation and Tourism Map. This map is available free from highway rest areas, or from PENNDOT. Some relocations and extensions have not yet caught up with the state map, click here for more info on these.


The footway may always be subject to change as we improve the route. The MST is now longer than Vermont's Long Trail

Where can I get more detailed information?

MST Maps and Guide sets are sold at outing supply or book stores, by mail from the Mid State Trail Association, and online on this Web site. Please check here for more information.

 

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What are Mid State Trail's best features?

Spectacular vistas from mountain tops, and remoteness of wild forests and streams. Mid State Trail is a pure footpath, if you hike alone you will meet more bears than people.

 

Whose trail is it?

MST is mostly on public land. Public land partners include Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry, Pennsylvania Game Commission, DCNR Bureau of State Parks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

MSTA is glad to acknowledge resources provided by DCNR Bureau of Forestry, both directly and through DCNR's significant financial support of MSTA's affiliate, Keystone Trails Association, Trail Care and Trail Crew program.

Some private landowners host sections of MST, especially closer to the Maryland and New York borders. Generally, these landowners may close the trail at any time. It is your responsibility as a hiker to treat the land and its owners with utmost care and respect. Legally, you are a "licensee," not even an "invitee," on these lands (see here for more information on the legal basis of our footpath's use of private land in Pennsylvania). If you behave just as you would expect an uninvited guest on your own property to behave, the path might remain open for generations to come.

The footpath is built, mapped, and maintained by volunteers. It is open to all hikers. It is your trail, too.

 

Can I help?

hikeYes. Buy a map set, hike the footpath, join the Mid State Trail Association, sawand/or become an overseer.
Keep hiking!

 

Why does MST use the metric system?

The MST was the first hiking trail in the United States to use metric measure. The second edition of the guide (1973) was completely metric. Metrication is a patriotic measure designed to help end our cultural isolation and ease our chronic balance of payments problems. Click here for more information.

 

Why don't the map numbers go in order?

The 300 series color maps go in geographic order in positive Cartesian space starting from the Maryland border. If your maps are black-and-white and don't go in numerical order, it is time to buy new maps!

 

What towns are nearby?

Mid State Trail passes State College atop the first ridge south of town. The borough of Everett is the largest community directly on the Trail. Hewitt, Williamsburg, Barree, Woolrich, Ramsey, Blackwell, and Nelson also host MST. Drab is close by.

 

What ghost towns are nearby?

Mid State Trail at Cowanesque Lake passes the main street of what used to be Nelson before it was moved higher out of the inundation area. We also pass through Landrus in Tioga State Forest.

 

Where is the highest point?

Martin Hill, between PA 326 and SR 3005 south of Rainsburg, Bedford County, in Everett Region, Section 1, at 829 m.

 

Where is the lowest point?

Near the site of Fort Horn, along Spook Hollow Road, beside West Branch Susquehanna River, south of McElhattan, Clinton County, in Woolrich Region, Section 13.
 

Where is the south end?

At the point where Black Valley Road becomes PA Route 326, 4 km northeast of Flintstone, MD. A short (as of now unblazed, but shown on MSTA Map 301-306) walk on back roads leads from here under I-68 to where Great Eastern Trail off-road trail resumes in Green Ridge State Forest, leading to the Paw Paw Tunnel on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP towpath along Potomac River opposite Paw Paw, WVa.

 

Where is the north end?

At the intersection of Heffner, Mayo, and State Line Roads, on the border between Lawrence Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, and the Town of Tuscarora, Steuben County, New York. The orange blazes continue north as Crystal Hills Trail, passing through woods around and occasionally within sight of the "Crystal City," Corning, NY.

Where is the middle point?

Very close to Hairy John's Picnic Area, along PA 45 east of Woodward, near the border of Centre and Union Counties, the dividing point between Sections 10 and 11. 
 

Where is the roughest section?

MST is not generally an easy trail. The Detweiler Run valley northeast of Alan Seeger Natural Area (Huntingdon Co.) is notorious for ankle-biter rocks. Knee-turners are found on Jackson Trail and MST leading southwest to the Little Juniata (Huntingdon/Centre Cos.). Sharp boulders and knife edges obscured by uncontrollable firecherry characterize MST in SGL 97 south from Everett to PA 326 (Bedford Co.). Glacial mud greets hikers in the Tioga Region (Tioga Co.).

 

Where is the tunnel?

MST climbs over many of Pennsylvania's mountains, but tunnels only through Paddy Mountain in extreme southeast Centre County. Park at Poe Paddy State Park and head northbound (locally east) on MST. Cross Penns Creek on the old railroad bridge and the tunnel is just on the other side.

 

Is there a dash or hyphen between "Mid" and "State"?

No.

 

What trails connect to Mid State Trail?

  • Great Eastern Trail in GRSF, in Maryland's Green Ridge State Forest, connects the south end of MST to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park  beside the Potomac River near Paw Paw, WV. The "C&O towpath" connects Cumberland, MD, with Washington, DC, crossing Tuscarora Trail at Hancock, MD and Appalachian Trail opposite Harpers Ferry, WV. The towpath also comprises part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and the Great Allegheny Passage, connects, in turn, to Pittsburgh. If that isn't enough the towpath here is also the American Discovery Trail, as far west as a unique privately owned toll bridge at Oldtown, MD.
  • Lower Trail, a rail-trail, (rhymes with "flower") hosts MST between Williamsburg and US 22 in the valley of the Frankstown Branch Juniata River.
  • Ironstone Loop forms a loop with MST, connecting Stone Valley Recreation Area south of State College. See MST map and guide set.
  • Jackson Trail short-cuts MST atop the rocky Tussey Ridge east of PA 26. A figure-eight circuit is formed by MST, Jackson Trail, and Ironstone Loop. See MST map 307-310 and guide.
  • Greenwood Spur connects MST (south of Bear Meadows, southeast of State College) with Greenwood Furnace State Park, through Alan Seeger Natural Area. See MST map and guide set.
  • Standing Stone Trail on east route of Great Eastern Trail (see below) connects the end of the Greenwood Spur of MST (at Greenwood Furnace State Park, Huntingdon County) to the Tuscarora Trail at Cowans Gap State Park, Fulton County.
  • Reeds Gap Spur connects MST with Reeds Gap State Park, eastern Mifflin County. This area is even remoter than most of the MST country. See MST map and guide set, maps 307-310 and 12th edition guide.
  • Central Mountains Trail, a red blazed "shared-use" path system, meets MST at several points in Bald Eagle and Tiadaghton State Forests. Sometimes the Forestry offices have a map of this route available at the front desk.
  • Pine Creek Trail, a rail-trail, meets MST at Ramsey and Blackwell, and briefly coincides with MST at both locations.
  • Houselander Trail, a part of the former Tiadaghton Trail, meets MST above Ramsey.
  • West Rim Trail connects from Rattlesnake Rocks at the Tioga/Lycoming county line on PA 414 just south of Blackwell, to Bohen Trail (described in the 12th edition map and guide set) to Ansonia, on US 6 west of Wellsboro. Long Branch Trail also connects to West Rim Trail, forming in turn a link to Black Forest Trail. Following the T^2 Trail from BFT leads to Donut Hole Trail (and soon a coincidental connection to Susquehannock Trail) over to PA 120 in Sinnemahoning, Cameron County. A forest path "Old Sinnemahoning Road" leads from near Sinnemahoning to Quehanna Trail leading to Parker Dam State Park on either side of the long loop. Finally, the Garby Trail, leads from Donut Hole Trail, across the West Branch Susquehanna River near Hyner, to a connection with Chuck Keiper Trail. This network includes hundreds of kilometers of footpaths throughout the "PA Wilds."
  • C. Lynn Keller Hiking Trail connects to MST in State Game Lands No. 37 and at Hammond Lake, Tioga County.
  • MST meets Crystal Hills Trail, a branch of Finger Lakes Trail in Steuben County, NY. At the other end of Steuben County Crystal Hills Trail meets the main Finger Lakes Trail, here part of North Country National Scenic Trail. FLT reaches the Long Path in the Catskill Mountains of southeastern NY, a footpath that connects the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge to Manhattan with Thacher State Park near Albany, intersecting the Appalachian Trail in far southeastern NY. NCT eventually will reach New York's Adirondack Mountains and end at Crown Point on Lake Champlain, opposite Vermont.
  • Completion of the Tioga Region will finish the last missing link in a regional mountain footpath network from Virginia (and a key link from Florida?!?) to New York State. The spine of this network, including the main stem and Greenwood Spur of Mid State Trail, is now known as Great Eastern Trail. Click here for an article from American Hiker magazine (spring 2006) about the GET, including a map of the proposed connecting footpath network.

Tell me more about Great Eastern Trail!

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Q: What is the Great Eastern Trail?

A: The Great Eastern Trail is an approximately 1,600+ mile long non-motorized trail system stretching from the Florida/Alabama border to the Finger Lakes Region in Central New York. While it is primarily a foot path, there are a few sections that are multi-use. For instance, the Georgia Pinhoti Trail section allows bike and equestrian use, and parts of the Tuscarora permit multi-use.

 

Q: How many states does the trail pass through?

A: Nine. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia. West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York.

 

Q: What makes this trail so special?

A: This trail system is the product of a cooperative grassroots effort coordinated by American Hiking Society. It provides an alternative to the beloved Appalachian Trail. The beauty of the Great Eastern Trail is that it provides connections to more than 10,000 miles of trails including four National Scenic Trails (Florida National Scenic Trail, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and the North Country National Scenic Trail. The trail also passes through some spectacular little-visited areas such as the Cumberland Plateau, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, and remote areas of Virginia and Pennsylvania. The trail will also pass through downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Woolrich, Pennsylvania.

 

Q: Will this trail become a National Scenic Trail?

A: There are no plans at this time to pursue National Scenic Trail designation.

 

Q: Will eminent domain be used to acquire land to create this trail.

A: ABSOLUTELY NOT!

 

Q: Is the trail complete? Can long distance hikers walk the trail now?

A: While there are large segments of the trail that are complete, such as on the Alabama & Georgia Pinhoti Trail and the Tuscarora Trail and most of the Mid State Trail, there are several gaps within the trail that need to be bridged, such as portions of Tioga County, PA, and Steuben County, NY. The trail groups involved are working hard to identify ways to connect together existing trail to make a complete route. Like any long distance trail system, it will take some time to complete this trail.

 

Q: Has the federal government played a role in creating this trail system?

A: The National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program has been assisting in the creation of this trail for over 4 years. Other federal agencies such as the USDA Forest Service and US Army Corps of Engineers manage lands that the trail passes through.

 

Q: Have other government agencies been involved?

A: Yes. The Cumberland Trail is a linear State Park in Tennessee. Similarly, the Pine Mountain Trail is a linear State Park in Kentucky. The trail also passes through a patchwork of state lands including parks, game lands, and forests. The trail also passes through the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

Q: What trail organizations are involved in this effort?

A: Alabama Hiking Trail Society, Alabama Trails Association, Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association, Inc., Cumberland Trail Conference, Pine Mountain Trail Conference, West Virginia Scenic Trails Association, TuGuNu Hiking Club, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), Mid State Trail Association, Inc., Standing Stone Trail Club, Inc., Keystone Trails Association, Finger Lakes Trail Conference.

Members of the North Country Trail Association, and the Florida Trail Association have also been involved in this cooperative effort. American Hiking Society has played a coordinating role in creating this trail system.

 

Q: How will this trail be governed?

A: Local rule applies. The fact that the Great Eastern Trail is being created and publicized does not change the identity of the existing trails that comprise the greater system. Those trails will maintain their identity and method of blazing.

 

Q: Is there a website where I can get more information?

A: Yes, http://www.greateasterntrail.net. The American Hiking Society website will also have information about this trail. http://www.AmericanHiking.org.

 

Q: How can the general public get involved?

A: There are many ways for the general public to help with the Great Eastern Trail. The trail clubs that are involved are always looking for new members. Volunteers are always being sought to build and maintain trail. 

 

Where is the Midstate Trail?

Massachusetts. Check out http://www.midstatetrail.org