Spring into happy valley

State College, Pennsylvania is a hub of outdoor activities for those looking to getaway. Known by the locals as Happy Valley, the region has long been a destination for visitors wanting to combine hitting the trails by day and relaxing with a beverage from the Central PA Tasting Trail by evening. The added bonus of no additional cost for parking, hotel WiFi or resort fees makes the region attractive for a budget sensitive traveler.

Rothrock State Forest is the go-to spot for experienced mountain bikers looking for some challenging trails. In fact, the site is also home to the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic (May 23rd-27th) that welcomes both professional and amateur bikers alike. Many of these riders come back year after year not only for the great trails they encounter, but also the friends they make throughout the week.

There are several hiking trails that range from easy to challenging within our region. The most popular is the Mount Nittany blue and white trails that are a short five-minute drive from downtown State College with the trailhead in the neighboring town of Lemont. The most photographed overlook is the Mike Lynch Overlook, which gives a beautiful view of the Penn State campus and downtown State College.

If a guided tour is more of your speed you should link up with Tussey Mountain Outfitters for one of their guided kayak or canoe trips down some of our scenic creeks. There are several trips available that vary in length. All equipment and transportation is included in the reservations, which makes it easy.  

The region is also one of the world’s best destinations for fly fishing. Spring Creek might be the most popular location for fly fishermen in the area and it just a short 15 minute drive from downtown State College. Other popular locations to cast your line include Fishermen’s Paradise, Bald Eagle Creek and Big Poe Creek. If you aren’t quite confident to go out on your own there are some guided trips from local companies such as The Feathered Hook and TCO Outdoors.

For those who aren’t quite into roughing it, the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle is a gorgeous lodging property, literally just steps away from hiking trails and boating. Recently, the Nature Inn was awarded the distinction of the nation’s top eco-friendly resort. In fact it is has been awarded a LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. 

Wrap up your day by heading downtown State College for a bite to eat at a surprisingly strong restaurant scene. Longtime favorites including the Tavern, Corner Room and Deli have been Penn State alumni favorites across generations, but new favorites such as Spats at the Grill, Liberty Craft House, Local Whiskey and Champs Downtown will also fill the bill.

For more information or to request a visitor guide head to www.visitpennstate.org

Places to Go, Things to See: