3 Versatile Spots to Get a Run In Around State College, PA

If you're an avid runner and are moving to State College for work or it's your first year as a Penn State student, then you are in for a treat. State College has a ton of spots that are great for long runs, versatile runs, quick runs, or any kind of run you're looking for. I have a few different places that I like to go to for different types of runs. I'm going to greatly narrow down that list for this post just so we can keep it short and sweet! 

 

1. Arboretum Trail/Bellefonte Rail Trail

This spot has everything you could need for an easy 1 to 4 mile run. You can park at Sunset Park (850 McKee St, State College, PA 16803) to run either trail. When you pull into the parking lot you can't miss the trail head. It's a paved path down to the Bellefonte Rail Trail, which is gravel. If you want a short run through some woods then right as you are walking down the paved trial, maybe 25 yards, you will see the arboretum trail head path start to the right. This path diverges into different paths through the woods and into the arboretum. You can also start your run here and end up on the gravel BRT to finish out your run or just loop through the woods and keep it under the trees. The BRT is gravel and wide. You can reach its start by following the paved trail from the parking lot down about 100 yards and you can't miss it. This trail will run under the highway into Tofttrees. From start to where the gravel ends is about 1.25 to 1.5 miles. Out and back you are looking at around 3 miles. This path is flat and super easy to run. There will be a few people with dogs, bikes, etc but for the most part you will have an unobstructed run. 

Pros

  • Easy Run
  • Gravel Path
  • Outside Tree Lined
  • Options
  • Close to town

Cons

  • Distance
  • Possible Bikes, Dogs, etc.
  • Woods Run is Short

2. Pennsylvania Furnace/Fairbrook Park

When I'm going on my long runs (60 minutes/5 or more miles) I want an even terrain with some stuff to look at. I head to Pennsylvania Furnace for anything that I want to be level and long. This main roads that go through here are PA45 and Whitehall Rd. Both have some traffic but nothing too crazy. There are always people biking out this way because of the same reasons. It's level, beautiful, and traffic is minimal, but when there are cars coming you can see them and they can see you a mile down the road. On my last run out in PAF I parked at the Church (4310 W Whitehall Rd, Pennsylvania Furnace, PA 16865)  right after the turn for Fairbrook Park. Then I hit the road heading in either direction. If you can get a run out this way around 7 on a summer day you won't regret it! Fairbrook park on the other hand is a trailed park with a huge open field that local clubs like State College Celtics use for practice. If you want to get a short run in and some sprints, it's the spot for you. I combined them both because they are close and offer a nice dynamic that's away from city. 

Pros

  • Long Runs
  • Paved Streets
  • Beautiful Views
  • Level
  • Can see traffic

Cons

  • Occasional Cars
  • Possible Bikes
  • No Loops
  • 10-20 Minute Drive to Get There

3. Rothrock State Forest

It's close, there are a ton of trails, and it's mind-blowing beautiful! I'm more of a road runner. I have weak ankles from years of skating and soccer so I cringe at the slightest idea of rolling my ankles. Rothrock State Forest has both though. I've hiked alot of the trails and have seen runners on a few but I've personally ran the roads through there. I park at the entrance to Rothrock on the Tussey Mountain Side (400 Bear Meadows Rd, Boalsburg, PA 16827). Here I'll run the road into the park and circle back. There are a few trails right around this area too like Old Laurel Run and Longberger Path Loop which connects a few different trails to form a long loop. Here is a link to the DCNR's website and trails of Rothrock State Forest.

Pros

  • Long Runs
  • Short Runs
  • Beautiful Views
  • No Traffic
  • Options

Cons

  • Rarely Cars
  • Possible Bikes
  • 10-15 Minute Drive to Get There
  • Bugs

 

I hope this helps you find a running location that you like! If you have one that isn't mentioned add it to the comments so we can check it out!

 

Cheers!