The early morning sun shining through the trees over Laurel Run Road in Rothrock State Forest.
Running through the heart of Rothrock State Forest Laurel Run Road connects Bear Meadows Road near the Galbraith Gap Trailhead to Whipple Dam State Park.
Rothrock State Forest maintains more then 180 miles of roads throughout the District that provide scenic driving, gravel bike riding, horseback riding and snow mobile riding opportunities.
Picture by Kyle Fawcett
I've always wondered what the view of the night sky would be like in Rothrock State Forest what with the larger towns and cities surrounding this District but I've never had a chance to check it out. So this past Saturday with the forecast calling for absolutely clear skies and the moon not supposed to rise until early Sunday morning I packed up my camera gear and headed out into the woods.
It turns out that Rothrock is fantastic for viewing the stars!
I started with a quick night hike to the Indian Wells Overlook on the Mid-State Trail from the Big Flat Natural Area parking lot on Bear Gap Road. I've hiked this section many times, something that I always recommend people do before attempting a night hike, so I was pretty familiar with the route and the terrain. Arriving at the overlook I could hear Barred Owls calling from Bear Meadows below me and as I set up my camera gear I could clearly see the Milky Way hanging over the Kishcoquillas Valley to the South. From there I headed to Bear Gap Vista which with it's view to the North the Milky Way isn't visible at, but you can get a view of the night sky over State College and see just how much light the city is emitting into the night sky.
My next stop was Whipple Dam State Park where I grabbed a couple of pictures of the Milky Way over the lake. I tried to get a shot with the Milky Way reflecting off of the lake's surface but it just wasn't far enough in the Western portion of the sky at this time of the year. Perhaps in the Fall I can get that shot. Next up was the parking area at Bear Meadows and then the overlook on Wampler Road. By that point, it was about 1:00 Sunday morning and I was exhausted so I found a pull-off and grabbed a couple of hours of rest before heading out to explore more a dawn.
Pictures by Kyle Fawcett ( Facebook Instagram)
A Black-phased Timber Rattlesnake spotted by @mamaskistoo while hiking in Rothrock State Forest!
Did you know hiking with your favorite canine companion is healthy not just for you but your dog as well?
According to Hiking and Backpacking with Dogs by Linda Mullally enjoying the outdoors not only provides a number of health benefits to both you and your dog but also provides them with a quality bonding experience with you. The natural smells, sights, and sounds of the forest also benefit your dog mentally by providing an outlet for their natural curiosity and can help reduce destructive behavoirs or depression associated with boredom.
If you're planning on exploring Rothrock State Forest this weekend don't forget to include Snoopy, Lassie, Toto, or Wishbone in your plans!
Picture courtesy of @loganberrypancakes on Instagram!
'Comprising over 96,000 acres in Central Pennsylvania and with more then 300 miles of hiking trails, 100 miles of mountain biking trails, and with multiple opportunities for horseback riding, fishing, or snowmobiling there are many different ways for you to enjoy Rothrock State Forest!
Show us how you #explorerothrock for a chance to feature your pictures! Tag it with #explorerothrock on social media and get out there!
Sunset from the Standing Stone Trail in the Rocky Ridge Natural Area by Mike Mcfarland @mbmcfarland on Instagram!