Indian Steps and Mid State Trail Loop

Sunday, September 17 | 11:00 AM

Hello from Centred Outdoors!

It seems appropriate that the weather has made a shift towards autumn as we approach the last guided hike of this Centred Outdoors summer. It’s been a season full of adventure and opportunity: new trails, new faces, new program features like our Gear Library and Junior Naturalist backpacks! In a couple weeks, we look forward to sharing with you a photo album of our exciting outings and wellness activities, our end-of-season survey, and ideas for programming in the fall and winter months.

The first leaves of autumn are beginning to fall on the trail.

This Sunday, we head to the Indian Steps trail on Harry’s Valley Road - a steep climb to the Tussey Mountain ridgeline, followed by a beautiful section of the Mid State Trail and views of the valley through the thinning leaves. This could be one of the oldest trails in Centre County, but its origins and uses have fallen through the cracks of the historical record. The best summary of Indian Steps may be found in this excerpt from the Purple Lizard Adventure Blog:

“The first written record of trails in this area comes from a map produced in 1770. This map, made by William Scull, indicates a Native American path leading from Huntingdon, past the site of Monroe Furnace…through State College, the whole way to Bellefonte and Milesburg (Wallace, Paul A.W., Indian Paths of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1998). To add even more intrigue to this story, we have to consider the fact that local Native American tribes were not known to build stone structures...especially stone staircases up and over the ridges in this area. So who built them? They may be a remnant built by a workforce that 'commuted' to the iron furnaces before the modern road network. Route 45 was a stagecoach route before the automobile, and a Native American footpath before that.” Purple Lizard Adventure Blog “Ironstone Trail”, July 3, 2019

We invite you to join us on Sunday, or to visit this hike on your own! Our Adventure Guides and website Destination pages offer trail maps and ways to prepare so you can visit these locations anytime. Feel free to contact us with questions about our local outdoor destinations. The ClearWater Conservancy and Centred Outdoors staff are always happy to share information and and make it easy for you to spend time in nature!

Bridget Whyte, Adventure Coordinator

ClearWater Conservancy

Questions? Reply to this email or send to: [email protected]

Guided Hike at Indian Steps & Mid State Trail

September 17, 11:00 AM | Pennsylvania Furnace, PA

Not for the faint-of-heart, this hike begins at Harry's Valley Road, ascending Tussey Mountain to the ridgeline and the Mid State Trail. Expect rugged Pennsylvania terrain and a slow climb up the steep, rocky steps, followed by an easier walk and early autumn views along the ridge. This 4-mile loop returns you to Harry's Valley Road via the Pump Station Trail.

Event Details


Indian Steps Trail at Harry's Valley Road

Pennsylvania Furnace, PA

Guided Outing Dates:

Sunday, September 17 | 11:00 AM

Outing Length and Terrain:

  • Indian Steps Outing Map
  • Outing length: 3.99 mi (Ascent: 765 ft.)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Terrain: Begins with steep and rocky climb up stone "steps", then flat ridgeline along the Mid State Trail and a moderate descent back to the starting point.

Map Links and Directions:

What to Expect & How to Prepare

See our Tips for a safe and successful outing. We encourage all participants to bring:

  • sturdy hiking boots or shoes
  • a full bottle of water, at least 32 oz. per adult
  • bug spray, and/or long pants, sleeves, hats or bug nets for insect and tick protection
  • sun protection such as a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • a light snack to enjoy during or after your hike

Looking for other nearby destinations? Visit Centred Outdoors - Explore for our list of local Destinations you can enjoy all year!

Outdoor Gear Library

Hike smarter with the right gear.

If you're looking for trekking poles, child carriers, day packs, or other gear that may make your Centred Outdoors guided hike more comfortable, try our Gear Library! We are also accepting donations of lightly-used gear.

Fill out a Reservation Form, or drop off items to the ClearWater Conservancy office or Appalachian Outdoors!


Have You Joined Us This Season?

Your Experience Matters!

We invite you to participate in our anonymous survey about Centred Outdoors guided hikes and activities. This brief survey helps us communicate our success with grant partners and stake holders and allows us to continue to alter our programming to better serve our community. 

Thank you for taking the time to provide your valuable feedback!

Participant Survey

Mount Nittany Health Tips

Visit the Mount Nittany Health Wellness Library for more healthy ways to enjoy the outdoors. Consider these Health Tips and be prepared for any Centred Outdoors outing!

Centering Myself, Outdoors Art Exhibit

Jen Shuey's exhibit Centering Myself, Outdoors opens Oct. 6

A solo exhibition titled “Centering Myself, Outdoors” will showcase the five-month collaboration between Jennifer Shuey and ClearWater Conservancy's Centred Outdoors program.

Throughout this Centred Outdoors season, Jennifer hiked along during the guided adventures, taking lots of photographs, and creating art at or inspired by this year's curated set of special natural places... kind of like an artist in residence.

Her new body of work will be unveiled at the exhibition's opening reception on October 6 and will feature 12 - 16 original pastel paintings. Jennifer is donating 20% of all sales of originals and prints from this project to ClearWater Conservancy. 

Hosted by State College Framing Company & Gallery at 160 Rolling Ridge Drive in State College, the solo art exhibition will run from October 6 through November 3.

Event Details

Centred Outdoors is a program of ClearWater Conservancy, made possible with financial assistance from an Environmental Stewardship Fund grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. Financial assistance for the program is also provided by the Hamer Foundation, Mount Nittany Health, Richard King Mellon Foundation, and community organizations.

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