Trough Creek State Park Hike
Mileage: 6.4 Miles Directions
Rise: 1007 ft Facebook
Hike Time: 2.5 hrs Park Site
Significance: Waterfalls, mountain stream, balanced rock, ice mine, views.
Here is some of what you need to know: Parking is located near all of the attractions, so hiking long trails is not a requirement. We mapped out a 6 mile track to see the views and sites but we were thrown off course when we mistakenly followed the wrong trail. The trail was blazed but not on the park map so it messed up our orientation. Our problem was on the Laurel Run Trail (LRT) and I marked the location on the map below.
1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them large
Our hike began on the Ledge Trail. Over the 0.7 miles the trail was well maintained with an elevation gain of about 200 Ft. There are several ledges where you get a chance to stop and look out over Great Trough Creek Gorge. It was early March and this location is far enough south that the snow was mostly melted, and the lack of leaves offered more views of rocks and cliffs than normal.
The trail comes to a split and we went downhill on the Copperas Rock Trail. A sign marks the start of the new trail.
This was a short 1/2 mile hike down hill and the break was welcomed. The trail is lined with Oak and Hemlock. You are dumped off at the road and across the way you will see Copperas Rock. It is more impressive in person and there is a nice picnic area across the creek. The Laurel Run Trail is where we were headed next, is over the the bridge and about 1/10 of a mile down the road.
The Laurel Run Trail travels along a stream of fast moving water fueled by the spring melt. The stream was a site to see for sure, but it requires several crossings and their are no bridges. Our plan was to turn up to the boulder trail after the first crossing, but we liked this trail so much we decided to do the whole loop. As I said above we ended up following what we thought was the blazed trail, but when it brought us back to the stream we had no idea what had happened. Worried we were way off track we followed the stream back to the first crossing and headed towards The Boulder Trail. The unmapped trail runs steeply up hill for about 0.2 miles then travels down hill to where it meets the stream avoiding about 5 stream crossings.
At the intersection of Boulder Trail and Terrace Mountain road we decided to head towards the Balanced Rock which was not far from where we were. This small section of the trail had some large rocks for the kids to play on and was mostly down hill.
The Balanced rock first comes into view at a vista on the road. The park cleared the trees so you can get the picture from your car. To get to the rock from here you have to cross a suspension bridge and walk past Rainbow falls which I will talk about in a minute.
Rainbow falls lies between the suspension bridge and balancing rock. It is a long string of cascading and falling water that starts beyond the top of the picture. While the falls are cool, I would not have driven 4 hours to come see them. However with the combination of attractions, this made the decision to come easy. The kids love waterfalls and this one you could get right up close to.
From here we hopped back on the ledge trail and went back to the car. We decided to drive to the Ice mine, and while it was cool, it turned out to to be less than expected. The steps were covered in solid ice which made them dangerous. The mine itself turned out to be a short cold tunnel, no ice. It is worth seeing if you are in the neighborhood.
Overall it was a great spring day in the woods. This park is close to State College Pa, so drop the kids off at school and go for a hike.
Enjoy your trip