Happy Hiking in the Allegheny National Forest

By: Morgan Kellogg 

     As fall sets in, and the hills are becoming colorful, the fall festivities begin. With the leaves changing, it’s the perfect time to go hiking. One place you can see the beauties of our area is Rim Rock Overlook. Located outside of Bradford, Pennsylvania, Rim Rock is a nice, short, hike to take in the fall colors.  

     Although there isn’t much hiking to get there, the beauties are truly worth it. Rim Rock is a picture-perfect location with two options for your hike. The first hiking trail is a 1.3-mile-long hike that takes about a half hour, the second is just a small walk from the parking lot to the outlook.  

     The next hiking location is Jake’s Rocks. Jake’s Rocks has nine trails ranging from beginner to intermediate. Labeled A-J, these hikes range from 0.3 miles to 2.4 miles. Jake’s Rocks also includes mountain biking trails. These are great beginner trails for you to perfect your mountain bike skills. 

     The Squire sat down with competitive hiker, athletic director, and history teacher, Mr. Penley, to ask him a few questions about hiking. Mr. Penley says he’s been hiking since he was little, but got into competitive hiking about 12 years ago. As Mr. Penley tells us, he has been on many hikes including the 230-mile PA section hike of the North Country. Mr. Penley did this extreme hike in just 10 days, hiking from Willow Bay to the Ohio State line.  

     When asked where he likes to hike locally, he shared, “I really like hiking in the Allegheny National Forrest down near Minsters Creek/ Hearts Content, or near Tracy Ridge on the reservoir. But Oil Creek State park near Titusville is also really nice, as is Allegheny State park near Salamaca, NY.” Mr. Penley also mentions that hiking has many benefits on your mind and body. It not only keeps you in shape, but also clears your mental state and gives you a fresh mind. Penley stated that, “the peace of being in the wilderness for hours at a time really puts life into perspective.” 

     When hiking, you need to make sure you are well prepared. For a short hike, you should bring water, a camera, and a snack or two. You should wear well-fitting shoes and dress in layers as the weather permits. For a longer hike, make sure you are physically fit, as well as have emergency supplies on hand. These hikes can be more strenuous, so you need to have a strong core and a well-balanced diet to keep you going. 

     For every hike you do, you should always have a plan. Print out a map and mark checkpoints for places you can stop and rest. Make sure at least one person knows where you are and when you are planning to be back. Be safe, and happy hiking! 

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