Canoe Creek State Park offers many opportunities when it comes to trail running. Since it is only a 20-minute drive from Altoona, it is a good “go to place” during the middle of the week. There are two main areas in the park; up or around Moore’s Hill and around the lake. There are several trails up and around Moore’s Hill, including Hartman Trail, Mattern Trail and Moore’s Hill Trail and shorter connecting trails and service groups on the southern flank of the mountain between the lake and the summit. Moore’s Hill is to the north of the lake. The primary trail around the southern and eastern shores of the lake is aptly called Beaver Pond Trail and Fisherman’s Trail. If you incorporate the trails up and around Moore’s Hill and then go around the lake, you can complete anywhere from a 4 mile to 7 mile loop. You can take multiple loops, utilizing other trails to increase your distance and variety.
Moore’s Hill Trail. Clockwise starting at the Limestone Kilns. The trail follows Mary Ann’s Creek on your left then starts following the 1000 ft. contour of the hill on your right. Then the trail climbs up the northern side of the hill. The climb is a moderate climb with several switchbacks. An intermediate runner can up to the top to 1200 feet. It is the best maintained trail up Moore’s Hill yet watch out for the limestone rocks which are sometimes like large ball bearings under your feet. Then the trail makes a descent down the eastern side of the hill. It is an even grade at the top with more steeper switchbacks toward the bottom. Now at the bottom at 950 ft., the trail runs past the abandoned Hartman Kilns, and continues along Canoe Creek. Follow the trail with creek to your left until you see a trail on your right that crosses a foot bridge then up the side of the embankment. The trail winds up the hill abotu 100 feet of climb through some hardwoods until it levels off and onto a wider double track. Watch for the trail make another turn to your right, climbing gently 1050 feet. At the access road just below the blue water tower, the trail crosses the road and make a quick 100 feet drop in two-tenths of a mile to the limestone kilns where you started.
Hartman Trail. Hartman Trail starts behind the Limestone Kilns and is marked with the green blazes. Going clockwise, the trail takes a steep hill climb up along the edge of Moore’s Hill, very close to the edge of the quarry, so watch you footing. Then trail finally decreases it’s grade and it approaches to the top. It is 330 foot climb in 0.6 miles from the Limestone Kilns to the top. At the top, there is a environmentally-protected area of old mines on your right that now home to the endangered Indiana Bat. Here Hartman Trail becomes a double track access road. After a hundred yards the trail intersects with Mattern Trail. Hartman Trail now makes a 250 foot in less then a half-a-mile downhill descent in to the blue water tower.
Mattern Trail. Mattern Trail is another trail that begins behind the Limestone Kilns. Look for the pink blazes that marks the trailhead. This trail takes the straightest, shortest and steepest climb up Moore’s Hill. (387 feet in 0.5 miles.) After intersecting with Hartman Trail, it makes a long downhill down the southern flank of the hill. It crosses Moore’s Hill Trail and veers left toward the lake. The trail intersect with a connecting trail and continue to your where it makes a slow turn to the west and then becomes a paved service road as you approach Mary’s Ann’s Creek Bridge.
Beaver Pond and Fisherman’s Trails. These two trails totaling 2.27 miles, skirt the eastern and southern side of the lake. Beaver Pond Trail begins at the bridge-crossing Canoe Creek near where Moore’s Hill Trail finishes it’s fall off the hill near Hartman Kilns. Beaver Pond Trail service as an access trail for fishermen along the creek. It is a fast yet at various times of the year, a very muddy trail. The trail then goes around a few ponds before ending in a mooring area on the lake’s eastern shore. After the mooring area, Fisherman Trail hugs the southeastern shore of the leg. Be respectful to any fishermen along the trail.
The trail is “rolly-polly” with lots of short up and downs. Some parts of the trail are very close to the shore and erosion is making some of these places very narrow and tight against the edge. Be alert! The trail winds along the shore until it reaches the breast of the dam. On the other side of the dam, the trail again hugs the shore until it reaches the spillway where you cross just below the dam gates.
Other Trails: There a more than a half dozen other trails and connecting routes that gives the trail runner more options.