ElevationAscent: 1,923' 586 m
Descent: -1,926' -587 m
High: 1,995' 608 m
Low: 1,364' 416 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)
Popular rides nearby
Bull Hollow Loop
16.7 mi 26.8 km • Loop • 1,628 ft Ascent 496.11 m Ascent
Penn Roosevelt Meander - 22
22.6 mi 36.4 km • Loop • 2,782 ft Ascent 848.08 m Ascent
Rothrock TrailMix - IMBA EPIC
36.3 mi 58.4 km • Loop • 4,220 ft Ascent 1286.26 m Ascent
Roth Rock Tour
26.6 mi 42.8 km • Loop • 2,692 ft Ascent 820.38 m Ascent
State College Gap Loop (Musser Shingletown)
15.6 mi 25.2 km • Loop • 1,305 ft Ascent 397.79 m Ascent
Greenwood Furnace 13
13.3 mi 21.5 km • Loop • 1,512 ft Ascent 460.81 m Ascent
“Hitting two classic ridge tops in one ride.”— Frank Maguire
Electric Mountain Bikes Allowed
If rocks aren't your thing, you may only want only ride Middle Ridge and then return on Henstep Valley, as Little Mountain trail requires you to be on your game the entire time.
As far as when to ride, this trail is probably in the best shape in the winter and early spring. The area is pretty remote and doesn't get a lot of traffic. This means in the summer at the height of foliage, it may be difficult to see the trail in places. Also, dual sport bikes are allowed on sections of Middle Ridge during the Summer months, so if you are looking for peace and quiet, it's best to avoid the Summer.
Need to Know
Middle Ridge Trail starts out very rocky, and the rocks are pretty jumbled. Because this is one of the sections that motos use, there isn't always a defined line through the rocks. But don't let this section get you down, the trail gradually changes into a stable bed and becomes much easier to navigate. That doesn't mean that the trail is easy, as there are still challenges to be tackled. There are several rock outcroppings as well that have distinct lines that require balance and skill to navigate.
As Middle Ridge continues, there are several trails that intersect with it, including Summit Trail. If you need to bail, any one of these are an easy down hill to the road and then a simple spin to the car. Although the trail isn't always marked, Middle Ridge Continues straight through every one of these intersections.
At the end of Middle Ridge, the trail drops steeply to Henstep Valley Trail. This is one of the only sections that is washed out, but is still rideable. As you intersect with Henstep, Take a left and cruise downhill to Hunter Rd. At Hunter Rd, turn right and start pedaling as its about 4 miles to the next trail intersection.
Hunter Rd intersects several roads not at right angles, so be sure that you continue on Hunter at each of these (there are road markers at each). Finally, after about 4 miles, you'll begin a long climb out of the valley. When the forest on your left turns into an early stage pine plantation, begin looking for Buckhorn Trail (there is a trail sign, but the trail is unnamed on most maps).
Turn left on Buckhorn and start climbing. It gets very steep and is not in the best shape because of the clear cut that occurred about 8-10 years ago. Its also not very well used, as many people approach Little Mountain Trail from the other side of the ridge. Buckhorn is not that long though, so your suffering is soon rewarded with a long stretch on Little Mountain Trail.
Little Mountain Trail is a gem that rewards those that worked so hard to find it. Maintained by the same folks who take care of the Cooper's Gap Trails in Rothrock State Forest, Little Mountain is one of the best ridge top trails in Central PA, full of challenging rock features. The ridge itself is punctuated with several short rock outcroppings that lines have been manipulated into. The last one of the entire ridge is referred to as "the slot", as you'll need to squeeze your bars through a 30" gap between two shoulder-high boulders. The Trail ends when it intersects with Little Mountain Rd, which you'll turn left on and descend back to Hunter Rd.
Once on Hunter Rd, you'll turn right and follow it back to where you turned off Henstep Valley Trail. Turn left back on to Henstep Valley and follow this doubletrack all the way back to 235. At 235, its probably easiest to just cruise the less than a 1/4 mile back to the parking lot to finish your ride.
Land Manager: PA DCNR - Bald Eagle State Forest