Buchanan State Forest, adjacent to River Mountain, offers miles of hiking trails, including Pennsylvania's Mid-State Trail. Hiking here is a gorgeous slice of paradise. We've identified our favorite trails, based on scenic views, trail markings, navigability, and seasonality.
Hiker's Note: In this section of the Buchanan State Forest, the Mid-State Trail is also marked as Garlic Trail.
Trailhead 1 - Blankley Road and 326 Parking Area
From River Mountain, take a right out of our driveway. At the split, stay left and follow Hwy 326 up the mountain for 1.5 miles. At the top of the mountain, you will see the parking on your right.
3.75 Mile Loop
From the parking area, take the Garlic Trail/Mid-State Trail heading Southwest (or right). The trail will descend to cross Hwy 326 and follows Sweet Root Creek as it meanders up the mountain. After 1.75 miles, you will reach Sweet Root Trail, a wide grassy path on your right, follow it up to Blankley Road. Blankley Road is a dirt, well-traveled road you can follow back to the parking area. You may also do this loop in reverse if you'd prefer to descend along the trail and do the dirt road first.
8.15 Mile Loop
Similar to the 3.75 mile loop, this hike follows Garlic Trail/Mid-State Trail across Hwy 326, along Sweet Root Creek. Follow the Garlic Trail/Mid-State up and around the mountain for 4.57 miles. When the trail meets Blankley Road, a dirt, well-traveled road, take a right and follow the road back to the parking area. You may also do this loop in reverse if you'd prefer to descend along the trail and do the dirt road first.
Mid-State Out and Back
From the parking area, this hike follows Garlic Trail/Mid-State Trail going north east (or left). This section of the trail has less elevation change than the other routes and is a fun out and back. Follow the trail for as long as you'd like, just turn around and head back to the parking area when you're ready.
Trailhead 2 - Blankley Road and Sweet Root Trail Parking Area
From River Mountain, take a right out of our driveway. At the split, stay left and follow Hwy 326 up the mountain for 1.5 miles. At the top of the mountain, you will see Blankley Road (a dirt road) on your left and a large parking area on your right. Take a left to follow Blankey Road through Buchanan State Forest for 1.3 miles. Turn off and park at the Sweet Root Trail parking spots.
5.5 Mile Loop
Follow the wide, grassy path of Sweet Root Trail down the mountain. When the trail ends, take a right on Garlic Trail/the Mid-State Trail. Follow the trail as it winds around the mountain, eventually crossing Blankley Road again. Take a right and follow Blankley Road back to the parking area.
**Hiker's note: During the winter, Blankley Road may be closed to vehicles at times due to snow.
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