Route: Allegheny Front Trail (PA)

Pennsylvania, US
40 mi
Vertical Gain
5,500 ft

Keystone Trails Association describes the Allegheny Front Trail (approx 42 miles) in Moshannon State Forest:

The Allegheny Front Trail, a relatively new trail in western Centre County, was built collaboratively in the late 1990s by Penn State Outing Club, Ridge & Valley Outings Club, Quehanna Area Trails Club and the Keystone Trails Association. The trail provides a wide variety of forest environments, including views over valleys to the east, trout streams, and marshlands. The orange-blazed trail surrounds Black Moshannon State Park and crosses PA 504 twice, though there is almost no road walking. Since its inception, the Allegheny Front Trail has changed very little, except for the addition of bog bridges through Black Moshannon Swamp upstream from Shirk Road.

Scattered along the trail are six trout streams; an acid-polluted stream of interest to activists, known as “Red” Moshannon Creek; and various small brooks. The trail includes about 3 miles on the edge of the Allegheny Front, with six identified vistas and some areas of nearly continuous views; extensive portions of the Ridge and Valley Province to the southeast are visible. Hiking is very rocky and steep along this portion of the trail, though you are rewarded with some of the finest overlooks in all of Pennsylvania.

You can easily find water on most of the Allegheny Front Trail even during droughts, but there is one 6-mile-long dry section from Smays Run to the headwaters of Benner Run. The works of beavers are easily seen on the southwest and northeast sections. Shorter loop hikes of 26 miles (on the eastern portion) and 20 miles (on the western portion) are possible by walking through Black Moshannon State Park via the blue-blazed Shingle Mill Trail along Black Moshannon Creek, and then the park’s orange-blazed Moss Hanne Trail. In the state park, camping is permitted only at the official campground.

The book Greate Buffaloe Swamp, which contained trail descriptions plus history, is out of print.  The original publisher, Quehanna Area Trails Club, is now defunct and George Lockey is deceased.  The trail descriptions have been put into a new book, Foot Trails of the Moshannon and Southern Elk State Forests, which can be ordered from Amazon or from the web site of Scott Adams, the publisher.

The Allegheny Front Trail is accessed via PA 504 to the east and west of Black Moshannon State Park, with intermediate access points on several nearby back roads. For more information and an official map, contact:

Black Moshannon State Park
4216 Beaver Road
Philipsburg, PA 16866
(814) 342-5960

Moshannon State Forest
3372 State Park Rd.
Penfield, PA 15849
(814) 765-0821


Hello, I plan to attempt the Allegheny Front Trail (PA) FKT solo unsupported tomorrow leaving from the PA504 trailhead near Tram road and going clockwise as others on this site have done.

Thanks to Mark and Hayden for the inspiration and little bit of company on this trail -- I expect it will be a wonderful and challenging day?

Thanks quadfather!

This trail is more challenging than the profile and distance suggests -- a worthy goal that I hope others attempt?

I think a dry, mild temp. winter day traversing counter-clockwise might provide the best conditions? Lots of swamp running and dense vegetation obscuring the trail in June.


I plan on attempting to tackle the AFT FKT this coming Saturday, 8-8-20. Like others before, I will be starting at the trailhead along PA504 and traveling clockwise, solo/unsupported!

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Hi guys,


I plan on attempting the AFT FKT this Saturday (tomorrow) 9/12/2020). I will start at the Rattlesnake pike/ Tram road trail head. I am going to switch it up and travel counter-clockwise because I like to do things against the grain. I will be self-supported because I will have a drop bag for myself to refuel/resupply at the 6 mile run and rattlesnake pike trailhead. 

Hi all,

I will be trying the AFT FKT tomorrow morning. I will be unsupported and going clockwise from the Rattlesnake Pike/Tram Road trailhead. Love seeing all the activity on this route recently! 


Well... I took a wrong turn a bit under halfway through and ended up 2/3 miles off the AFT. Luckily the wrong turn came early enough my legs aren't too shot. I may try again in the next couple weeks.

I did this in 15 hours, 2 years ago. I'm checked in at every box on the trail but I didn't have an all trails map or any tracker at the time. Moving onto NEU8