Many miles of trails open to horse riding close to State College, but few parking options limit what you can easily access. Trail surfaces vary widely, some trails are quite rocky.

The Seven Mountains area of Bald Eagle State Forest, not far from State College and Penn State, has many miles of trails and roads for horseback riding. We will highlight a few which are easily accessible from US 322 between Potters Mills and Milroy, Pennsylvania.

Overview Map

For a live overview map of horse riding trails in this area, visit…

Waymarked Trails: Bald Eagle – 7 Mountains

Seven Mountains Trailer Parking

There is one significant horse trailer parking area not far off US 322 and easily reached from State College or Lewistown. Note that the Faust Valley road area which is shown as parking on some maps is not accessible.

Sand Mountain horse trailer parking

Horse trailer parking Take the Sand Mountain road exit off US 322. Proceed northeast on Sand Mountain road through Seven Mountains scout camp. About 1/2 mile after the road turns to gravel there will be a large, gravel parking area on your right (Sand Mountain Trailhead parking). It accesses South Sand Mountain trail, which connects with several nearby trails. Unlike most state forest lots, there is plenty of room for horse trailers here.

Unfortunately this is the only significant parking area in the whole region. Many trail sections are a significant distance from this lot, yet the state has no others provisions for trailer parking. There are a few spots you might be able to pull off the road, but you will not have much space.

Tower Trail Parking

The next parking area worth mentioning is on Siglerville-Millheim Pike at the summit on Big Poe Mountain. This is the junction with Mountain Church road and Tower Trail and Phone Line Trail. It’s big enough to fit a couple small trailers, if it’s not parked full with bikers or hikers.

Trail Notes

Forest around Sand Mountain trail head is pretty sketchy and it’s not the loveliest area, especially since the prescribed burn (April 2024). It does offer some great views of surrounding mountains, however, unlike many more densely wooded areas. The burned area is east and south of Sand Mountain Road, so if you cross over Ground Oak Trail, the north section should be fine.

Ground Oak Trail

As of March ’24, south of Sand Mountain road (in the burn area) is badly washed out. It used to be shale, but now it’s mostly baseball sized rocks with gullies. It’s a fairly steep climb in places, too. Not the most pleasant trail!

Ground Oak trail north of Sand Mountain road is much nicer, with a decent shale surface, reasonable grades, and more mature woods. This area was not burned in 2024.

Horse riding on Ground Oak trail, Seven Mountains area of Bald Eagle state forest
Ground Oak Trail north of Sand Mountain road

Wildcat Trail

Wildcat Trail is mostly narrow single-track along the ridge top. Some parts of it appear fairly rocky. Woods are nice and you may get some breeze, but you will be riding single file.

Buck Spring Trail

This trail is a wider single-track through mature woods. Footing seems to be mostly dirt. While most trails in this area can be rocky, it doesn’t seem too bad unless it’s washed out.

Loop Trails

There are so many horse riding trails in the area it’s impractical to enumerate all the options, but we will give you a few to get started.

4.5 Mile Loop

This trail starts at Sand Mountain parking area. It follows South Sand Mountain trail, Ground Oak trail, a brief section on Sand Mountain road, uses part of Horse Path trail, and returns to South Sand Mountain trail via Faust Valley trail and Link Trail.

Distance is 4.5 miles, elevation change of 500 feet (1000 feet up/down combined), expect about 1.5 hours at a walk. There are a couple significant climbs early on if you go in the direction shown, including a long slog up to Sand Mountain road; you will be glad when they are behind you!

Live map link

4.9 Mile Loop

This trail was intended to go from Faust Valley road parking–which is not open! In order to do this loop you will have to find a parking spot along the shoulder of the road, which is probably going to limit you to one trailer. Maybe you could sneak into one of the drive-in campsites along Sand Mountain road and not get in trouble with a ranger. Very disappointing that there is no suitable horse trailer parking provided besides Sand Mountain trailhead.

The loop takes Bog Loop trail, Wildcat trail, and Buck Spring trail. It crosses the hump of Sand Mountain on South Sand Mountain trail, eventually switching to Old Peat Bog trail and then turning onto Horse Path trail. It’s been years since I’ve been back there, but I think some of that area is pretty swampy… hence the names!

Distance is 4.9 miles, elevation change of 500 feet (1000 feet up/down combined), expect about 1:40 at a walk. You do cross a pretty good hump of Sand Mountain, which is a bit of a workout. There are a couple steep sections, but they are short.

Live map link

5.2 Mile Loop

This trail starts at Sand Mountain parking area. It is similar to the 4.2 mile loop, but with slightly less on road. It starts on South Sand Mountain trail then loops north on Ground Oak trail. There is a short section on Sand Mountain road, then it returns via Faust Valley road/trail and Link Trail.

Distance is 5.2 miles, elevation change of 500 feet (1000 feet up/down combined), expect about 1:50 at a walk. If you go in the direction shown there are a couple long climbs early on which you will be glad to get behind you. A couple steep sections later are in the 15-20% range, but they are short.

Live map link

We will add more loop trail options whenever we get inspired!


There are no facilities such as restrooms or drinking water available in the west end of Bald Eagle State Forest.

Towards the east end of this trail region, Poe Valley state park has public facilities at the picnic area adjacent to Poe Lake.


The nearest store is Homan’s store at the foot of Seven Mountains, at US 322 and PA 144 in Potters Mills. They have gas (no diesel). I’ve had decent food there before but their Hershey’s ice cream prices (2024) are pretty ridiculous so food is probably overpriced too. They are open 7 days (but not Easter!).

If you go via Siglerville-Millheim Pike, there is an absolutely classic central Pennsylvania “general store” called Old Country Store that deserves your business. It’s on Locke Mills road in Siglerville, to the southeast of these trails. It has one gas pump and is open seven days, 9-9. Not sure about diesel or sandwiches. Don’t be surprised if there is TB racing on the television when you stop.