Roaring Run Natural Area Hiking Trails: Laurel Highlands, Forbes State Forest: Creek Crossings, Wildflowers, Woods & Great Elevation Changes

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Roaring Run Natural Area in Forbes State Forest and the Laurel Highlands is a fantastic place to hike. Thousands of acres that include very steep ascents up to rocky outcroppings, and descents into creek valleys and dozens of creek crossings at valley level. Wear a pair of boots that you don’t mind getting soaked, because they will get soaked. This natural area is on the hill heading up to Seven Springs Ski Area, and adjacent to Hidden Valley Ski Area. In the spring, it has great opportunities for checking out wildflowers. In the summer, the hike is very well shaded, breezy, and involves crossing a beautiful mountain stream to cool off. If you have a pup that loves to hike and wade in the water, this is a fantastic place to go. This hike offers a little bit of everything that you often find on hikes across the state and the views are pretty dramatic. The land encompassed by the natural area is a mix of clear cut land and farm fields reverting back to nature. The trail in the creek valley was the grade of an old mountain logging railroad. Certain areas were not cut due to lower lumber quality oaks and hard accessibility, so forest age is pretty varied. Overall though, this is a fantastic place to go spend an afternoon relaxing in the woods, for it is within an hour of Pittsburgh. This beautiful property was purchased by the Western PA Conservancy and transferred to the state. 

The hikes are varied, offering a glimpse of most of the different kinds of hiking conditions that you run into across the state and it is extremely scenic. If you took a “core sample” of what the state has to offer in a hike, you would find just about every kind of condition in this location. 

You also get a glimpse at this site of what the landscapes of Hidden Valley and Seven Springs Ski Resorts would look like without the development. In the spring, the hollows and hillsides in many areas are covered in spring wildflowers, especially trillium.  We hiked about 15 miles and it was a challenging, varied, fun, and sometimes treacherous hike, especially at the dozens of creek crossings. 

Early spring shows a green and colorful blanket of fresh shoots of spring flowers. In my opinion, spring, summer, and fall wildflowers are more exciting than autumn color change, because they always deliver and offer such a stark contrast to the dormancy of winter in the Pennsylvania forests.

Beautiful trillium.

CeCe loving those creek crossings.

This hike is well worth checking out. It is varied enough to cover most of the types of hiking conditions that you will find anywhere within the state, and the wildflowers are fantastic. It is also very easily accessible from most points within western PA, including just an hour drive from Pittsburgh. 

 





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