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 are two popular horse trailer parking areas not far off US 322 and easily reached from State College or Lewistown.

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. After the road turns to gravel, there will be a large, gravel parking area on your right. 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.

Faust Valley horse trailer parking

Horse trailer parking For the second parking area, continue northeast on Sand Mountain road, looking for Faust Valley road on your right. It’s not much of a road, but it takes you about 1/4 mile off the main road to a modest and secluded grass parking area. This lot directly accesses Horse Path trail and Faust Valley trail.

Trail Notes

The forest around Sand Mountain trail head is pretty sketchy and it’s not the loveliest area (it may be worse after the burn!). It does offer some great views of surrounding mountains, however, unlike many more densely wooded areas.

As of March ’24, Ground Oak trail south of Sand Mountain road is badly washed out. It used to have a shale surface, 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.

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

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 of about 500 feet up and down, 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 starts from Faust Valley road parking and stays off roads. It takes Bog Loop trail to Wildcat trail and turns onto Buck Spring trail to start back. 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 to return to the parking. 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 of about 500 feet up and down, 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 of about 500 feet up and down, 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!

Facilities

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.

Amenities

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 (probably diesel), make quality fresh sandwiches, and have Hershey’s ice cream. 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.