Blue Knob Mountain

 In Bedford County, Blair County

Where’s The Trail?

Spruce Knob Trails:

From atop Blue Knob Mountain, a lower ridge jutts out toward the northeast. To get there, park at the Clubhouse Restaurant at Blue Knob All-Seasons Resort. Facing toward the pavilion, walk to your left (away from the restaurant) and you will see a small trail pop out of the woods on your right. Take this trail — it will lead you to the Blue Knob Lower Mountain Mountain Bike and Hiking Trails or what I call Spruce Knob Trails. Initally made for mountain bikes, these trails are great for runnning. Portions of these trails are used in the Rock N’ The Knob Trail Challenge. The terrain is relatively flat but there are some technical spots here and there. You can create anywhere from a four mile to 7 mile lolipop loop depending which trails you take. I tend to hit these trails in the summer since the higher elevation makes the air temperature many degrees cooler than in the valleys below.

Be sure to take a map with you! The trails twist and turn all over the mountain and it is easy to get turned around. You can download the maps here or usually the golf course hut as a few copies on hand.

These trails were created and maintained by The Laurel Highlands On and Off Road Bicycling Association (LHORBA), an all-volunteer, non-profit organization devoted to promote bicycling opportunities that are environmentally and socially responsible, while providing economic benefits for businesses in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

— Submitted by: Benjamin J. Mazur

9 Mile Loop:

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ALTERNATE TRAIL:

Lost Children Loop:

Interested in a short loop with some creepy history?

In 1856, two young boys wandered from their homes in nearby Pavia which led to one of the largest search parties ever to take place in the Alleghenies. Their remains weren’t found until more than a week after their disappearances, when a local farmer followed the signs he saw in a reoccurring dream that led him to their bodies in a remote ravine. (Read More About The Lost Children) This loop goes past a momument where the children were found.

To get their by car to the start of the loop, from Pavia, take PA-869 north for 0.4 miles and run right onto Monument Road. Go for another 2.6 miles and park in the small dirt lot on the left. [View on Google Maps]

Run. Take the trail slightly uphill and you will pass the monument at about 0.15 miles in. After the monument, the course is on the Lost Turkey Trail – a 26 mile point-to-point hiking trail. Though beautiful, I recommend this trail only in the early-spring and around late-July when the Lost Turkey Ultra is held. Several years ago, several friends and I attempted a point-to-point run through this section only discover we had to run through nettles up to our waist!

The trail will slowly climb up Ciana Hallow to the top of Hogback Ridge until at mile 1.6 when you take a dive downhill toward Bob’s Creek. In the early 1900’s, the Altoona Water Authority wanted to dam this entire valley and, at the time, would have been the largest reserviour in the state. Fortunately those efforts were defeated by local conservationists and sportsmen.

At mile 2.0, you have the option to cross the creek via a cable which I assume you don’t do every day. Then at mile 2.5, the Lost Turkey Trail takes a right turn while you will continue straight along the creek on Fisherman’s Path before crossing the creek again and then a short jog to Monument Road – making a left and up the road to your vehicle.

If you need more miles, take the Lost Turkey Trail from Monument Road to go up the mountain toward Blue Knob State Park or from the Fishermen’s Path toward the west to Burnt House and places beyond. Do an out-and-back or arrange a point-to-point.

— Submitted by: Benjamin J. Mazur

 

What Else Is There To Do?

Blue Knob State Park offers year-round wilderness adventures on 6,128 acres of woodland. The park is in the northwestern tip of Bedford County, west of I-99. Altoona, Johnstown, and Bedford are within 25 miles of this scenic park. Not only is it a prime place to trail run, hiking and/or mountain bike, there is also a campground, a swimming pool and other outdoor-related activities. Also, it is the site of the Rock N’ The Knob Trail Challenge in mid-September.

 

Where to Eat/Drink?

The Clubhourse at Blue Knob: The Clubhouse at Blue Knob is the start/finish of the Rock ‘N The Knob Trail Challenge so it is the closest you can ever get to get meal and a beer after your run. However, the place can be hit or miss. The hits: The food is great and after some retooling this past year, it is even better. Among the Allegheny Trailrunners staff, I recommend the Texas Burger. Marc, our trail steward recommends their wings while Lisa, our registration czar says their ruben sanwhich is top-notch. The Misses: Don’t expect to find a beer for any microbrew geeks but they do have the standards covered. Another miss: The staff can be rude at times so my suggestion is to make sure they know you are trailrunner. They love us!  And finally, I am not sure what it is but most of the time, something unusal will happen. Stuff like a bartender doesn’t show up since they drove their car over a cliff, the chef accidently stabs himself with a knife, or the electricity goes out on a clear and sunny day. IDK…

Other Food and Drink

Spring Dam Brewing: The closest place for a good beer is Spring Dam Brewing in Roaring Spring about 25 to 30 minutes away depending where you are on the mountain. They opened in January 2021 and for a startup operation, there brewing doesn’t taste “young”. Check out their Tripel  aptly called Goodnight Kevin is so smooth that you might forget you are tasting a 9% brew. I personally recommend their Hopback Hazy IPA which some of the other trail regulars enjoy the Base Camp Brew which tastes like a true Eastern European pilsner should with just enough bitterness.

While there, check out the stone interior walls and high ceilings. This building was once a general merchantile store built in 1873. Spring Dam Brewery has been a great addition to the town – a borough that up until last year, was a dry community and it is proving to be a great “third place” to gather and socialize. Spring Dam Brewing is at 269 Main Street.

— Submitted by: Benjamin J. Mazur

 

 

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