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Route:  Town Loops
Mileage:  3.7 - 6.6
Hillage: The Short Loop (3.7 miles) and Medium Loop (4.4 miles) are mostly easy with a few moderate hills. The Long Loop (6.6 miles) has a long, shallow hill in the middle of it on Easterly and Westerly Parkways.

Elevation change: 143 ft. 
Average Grade: 2%. Notable hills: 
 

MRL Rise: A steep 50 ft. climb between the Penn State track and the Materials Research Lab.
Hetzel Street: Another steep 50 ft climb from College Avenue on Hetzel St. This hill is on the Medium and Long Loops only.
Burrowes Street:  A final half-mile climb to Rec Hall from College Avenue. This is the finish of the Short and Medium Loops. In the Medium Loop, the climb follows a similar downhill.
Garner St:
Long Loop only. A short, steep downlhill.
University Ave:
Long Loop Option only. A long downlhill broken up by the dip to College Ave.
Easterly/Westerly Parkway:
Long Loop only. Not very steep, but this one-and-three-quarter mile long uphill trudge will wear you out.
 

Description:  All the Town Loops start the same way:

Start in front of Rec Hall and head down Curtin Rd., dodging students all the way to Porter Rd., next to Beaver Stadium. Hang a right on Porter Rd. and continue down the hill to the entrance road for the outdoor track. Make a right, and then a left on the next road. At the top of the hill, make a right on Hastings Rd. Continue on Hastings Rd., crossing University Dr. Now come the variations:

Short Loop: Continue on Hastings after crossing University Dr. At the intersection of Hastings, Bigler and McKean, bear left on McKean Rd McKean Rd. to Shortlidge Rd. Make a left on Shortlidge Rd., then a right on College Ave. Take College Ave to Burrowes Rd. and make a right. Finish by barrelling up the steep hill on Burrowes Rd. to Rec Hall.

Medium Loop: After crossing University Dr., make a left and run on the bike path to College Ave. Run on College Ave. to Hetzel St. Make a left on Hetzel St. Take Hetzel to Prospect Ave. and go right. Half a mile later, make a right on Allen St., then a left on the next street, Fairmont Ave. Take Fairmont to Burrowes Ave. and finish by barrelling up the steep hill on Burrowes Ave. to Rec Hall. 

Long Loop: Start as if running the Medium Loop. At Garner and Hetzel, make a left on Garner and head down the steep hill to Easterly Parkway. Make a right on Easterly and start the long, shallow climb back home. As Easterly Parkway crosses Atherton St, it becomes Westerly Parkway. Exercise caution at all intersections on Easterly and Westerly Parkways. Continue on Westerly Parkway past State College High School, Welch Pool, and Our Lady of Victory Church and School. The last part of the trudge up Westerly is the steepest. At Corl Rd, make a right. Take a right at Beaver Avenue, then the a left at Osmond St. Go right on College Ave and carefully cross the street. Cut across the parking lot of O. W. Houts and head down the alley that parallels College Ave. Make a left on Patterson St. A block later, go right on the University road near the graduate student housing. A few hundred yards later, make a left on the continuation of Barnard St that heads toward the back of the IST building. Follow this to White Course Rd, continuing as it winds right to Atherton St. Finish at the light on Curtin St., across from Rec Hall.

Long Loop Option:  After crossing University Dr., make a left and run on the bike path to College Ave. Run on College Ave. to the light that crosses the street and then care as you wind back up the access loop to University Drive. (Going down the dip and crossing College at the light is a bit safer than staying on University and going over the bridge, which has no sidewalk). Continue on University as it heads downhill to Easterly Parkway. Make a right on Easterly and finish the Long Loop as described. In this option, the downhill on University Avenue is longer and less steep than that on Garner Street. The total loop distance is slighlty shorter with the option.

Remarks: The Short and Medium Town Loops are pleasant, easy runs on campus and town streets. They're good, short runs for hot summer days. There is plenty of shade on the tree-lined streets on these two loops. All the Town Loops are also good winter routes: most of each route is on regularly plowed streets. The Long Loop has a longer, open section on Easterly and Westerly Parkway. In the winter, wind can be a factor. In the summer, the lack of shade will wear you down. Luckily, Welch Pool is just before the longest uphill part of this run. The Town Loops traverse parts of the routes of campus loop races such as the Arts Festival 10K and the First Night 5K.

The campus and side streets have relatively light traffic, but you should stay on the sidewalk when on Curtin Rd. and Burrowes Rd. on campus, and Westerly and Easterly Parkway on the Long Loop. And you should exercise cauiton when crossing College Ave. and Beaver Ave. downtown. 
 

Map:
Short Loop
Profile:
Medium Loop 
Profile:

Long Loop
Profile:

        Added: 5/01
        Revised: 1/03