|Route:||Nick's Bear Meadows Mountain Runs (Thanks to Nick Harris)|
|Mileage:||7.0 and 10.6 miles.|
|Hillage:||The longer of the two loops has a much deeper dip in the middle than the first loop, necessitating a longer climb before finishing.
Total climbing elevation: Inner Loop - 1046 ft; Outer Loop - 1622 ft.
|Description:||Nick's Bear Meadows Mountain Runs start from the small parking area at Bear Meadows Natural Area on Bear Meadows Rd in Rothrock State Forest, which is about 10 miles outside of State College off of US Rte 322. Take Rte 322 East from State College to the Tussey Mountain turnoff, about 2 miles past Boalsburg, PA. Make a right onto Bear Meadows Rd. Less than a mile up the road is the Tussey Mountain Ski Area. Continue past the Ski Area. Bear Meadows Rd forks to the left as you start ascending the mountains (the right fork is Laurel Run Rd and is a gravel road). Continue on Bear Meadows after it becomes a gravel road. Continue ascending on Bear Meadows Rd, and keep going straight as you pass the North Meadows Rd turnoff on your right. Just before the Bear Meadows Natural Area, stay to the right where Treaster Kettle Road forks to the left. The Bear Meadows parking area is on your right just past this fork.
Inner and Outer Start: The routes both begin on Bear Meadows Rd heading back the way you came in. You climb about 60 ft in 0.6 miles. At North Meadows Rd, make a left. There is a slight dip till about Mile 1. From Mile 1 to the intersection of Gettis Ridge Road is a climb of 515 ft in 2 miles. Make a left on Gettis Ridge Road and start a very steep descent. This descent is rocky in places and requires that you pay good attention to your footing. At the intersection of Gettis Ridge Rd and Wampler Rd, you will have descended 558 ft in less than a mile-and-a-half, a 7.2% grade. At Wampler Rd you get to decide if you want to do the Outer Loop or the Inner Loop.
Inner Loop Finish: You have run nearly 4.5 miles. Make the left onto Wampler Rd. You gently descend for another mile to Bear Meadows Rd. Make a left. You climb now for about 3/4-mile, an ascent of 330 ft. Then you descend 250 ft to the finish in the final 3/4-mile.
Outer Loop Finish: Turn right at the intersection with Wampler Rd, staying on Gettis Ridge Rd. Continue on Gettis Ridge Rd to Beidleheimer Rd. At Beidleheimer, you have run 5.6 miles and have descended over 900 ft since the 3-Mile point. Make a left on Beidleheimer. You will now run for over two miles to the next turn, but descend only another 280 ft. Use this time to prepare for a long, steep climb! Make a left at Bear Meadows Rd. Bear Meadows Rd now makes you climb nearly 900 ft in two miles, a grade of 8.5%! There are three switchbacks. When you reach Wampler Rd, you will be about a mile-and-a-half from your car, but you'll only have to climb another 3/4-mile. The last 3/4-mile is a downhill coast.
|Remarks:||Nick's Bear Meadows Mountain Runs are challenging loops in the beautiful, mountainous Rothrock State Forest land near State College. Marathon veteran Nick Harris does a lot of his hill training on this, one of his favorite routes. Nick's Runs also sample a small part of a local long-distance team relay race, the Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK 50 Mile Relay. Another nearby hill run is Mike's Mini-mOUnTaiNBACK.
The course itself is challenging, but beautiful. Most of the route is shaded and cool in the summer. In the winter, the roads can be un-runnable. There is an occasional vista of the bog at the Bear Meadows Natural Area. Take a walk on the trail that goes along the bog. You will see many varieties of birds. In late June, the mountains are in bloom with Pennsylvania's State Flower, the Mountain Laurel. In late summer, Bear Meadows is a popular place for people to gather low-bush blueberries (huckleberries). But remember, they don't call it Bear Meadows for nothing! The huckleberries are favorites of the Black Bear!