On January 24 the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee named the Mid State Trail the 2019 Trail of the Year. The trail—Pennsylvania’s longest—stretches 327 miles from Maryland to the New York border, crossing through the heart of Pennsylvania.
“Showcasing some of our state’s most scenic areas, and offering hikers everything from gentle rail-trail travel to rigorous rocky climbs, the Mid State Trail captures the essence of Pennsylvania’s abundant trail system,” said Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR secretary. “Known to so many, the Mid State truly is most deserving of this honor.”
The Mid State Trail is divided into four distinct regions. Traveling from the south, hikers pass through the Everett Region, State College Region, Woolrich Region, and Tioga Region. The trail’s main route, marked by rectangular, orange blazes, also features several long side trails. Largely on public land, the trail passes through: eight state parks; five state forests; eight state forest natural areas; four state forest wild areas; four state forest picnic areas; two Scout camps; and one roadside rest. The trail’s sheer length offers more challenge to hikers than any other trail in the state. Sometimes-difficult hiking takes travelers through isolated forests and past historic sites, vistas, waterfalls, and natural springs.
The Mid State Trail Association was formed in 1982 to guide the Mid State Trail’s continued growth and protect its future. The association engages many local volunteers who construct and maintain only foot paths.
“The Mid State Trail Association is so thankful to all our dedicated volunteers who have, over the past 50 years, built and maintained the Mid State Trail,” said Association President Ed Lawrence. “As Pennsylvania’s longest and wildest foot path, and now as the 2019 DCNR Trail of the Year, we celebrate a trail that is at the heart of the hiking experience at its best.”
Each year, the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee designates a Trail of the Year to help build enthusiasm and support for both large and small trails, and raise public awareness about the value of Pennsylvania’s trail network. The committee is also charged with implementing the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan to develop a statewide land and water trail network to facilitate recreation, transportation, and healthy lifestyles. The 20-member DCNR-appointed committee represents both motorized and non-motorized trail users and advises the Commonwealth on use of state and federal trail funding.
In 2018, DCNR named Forbidden Drive in Philadelphia County as Pennsylvania’s Trail of the Year.
For details on Pennsylvania trails, visit Explore PA Trails. More than 600 trails covering almost 12,000 miles in Pennsylvania are featured on the site.