Duration: Two days and two nights
Trail hopping in the Alleghenies is equal parts water, forest and a bit of railroad lore, just for kicks. It's a hiker & biker wonderland, with endless trail combinations to explore, and a place for solitude and a bit of sightseeing on the side. Nestled among the valleys, there's even the city of Huntington, a study in the eclectic and named as "the fifth coolest small town in America." Over the river and through the woods and around the Horseshoe Curve … these trails really mix it up, all in the unspoiled wilderness of the Alleghenies and Her Valleys.
Nothing like some more buttery smooth single-track for breakfast. Load up the bikes and head to Rock N' Ridge in Blue Knob State Park, named for its majestic dome-shaped mountain (the second highest in PA). The park also has plenty of double-track, if you're so inclined, with trails for every riding level. Look out for all those roots, rocks and logs, not to mention bear, fox, turkey, deer and grouse, too.Read More >
After all the trail hopping, it's time for a trail of another kind - a short walking tour of Altoona. It used to be one of the great railroad towns in America, and still is in part because of the Railroaders Memorial Museum. Head to the museum on Ninth Avenue and learn about Altoona's role in the American Industrial Revolution, and how in 1945 Altoona had the largest rail repair shop in the world.
Walk a few blocks over to Twelfth Avenue and you'll see the Mishler Theater, built in 1862. The history is worth the stop, and you'll understand why it used to hold its own with Broadway, attracting the top stage, opera and concert hall talent.
On Fourteenth Avenue you'll get a taste of the magnificent homes built in the late 19th century, thanks to all the railroad money. Stroll along the old Victorians, Gothic Revivals and Queen Annes, admiring the past and how it still holds up today.
By now you'll have walked-up an appetite - hop over to Thirteenth Avenue to Tom and Joe's, a brick diner that's been in Altoona for over 75 years. And you'll know why once you try a malt or a burger and just about anything from the kitchen.
After lunchtime, it's time to get in the car again. We're driving just out of town to a "Funicular" you won't soon forget.Read More >
There are two ways to get to this uniquely shaped railroad track. One is the Funicular, an incline plane that'll take you to the top of the hill. Secondly, you have the option of hiking there. Both methods are camera-worthy, and a great way to take in the incredible engineering feat of it all. And to think it was built in 1854. Bring your conductor's hat, or pick one up in the Visitor's Center - home to lots of descriptive displays that help you appreciate the work involved in building such a marvel.Read More >
No, not the railroad tracks again. It's the local minor league baseball team, the AA affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Catch a game under the lights in what's widely considered the finest minor league ballpark in the country. With the "Skyliner" rollercoaster as a backdrop along with the scenic Allegheny Mountains – there really isn't a more scenic or intimate way to watch baseball.Read More >
After a hard day on the trails, it's worth treating yourself to a great meal at Jethro's. We recommend trying their famous ribs, steaks or specialty seafood dishes. To really reward yourself, order the Peanut Butter Meltaway – it's worth every bite.
Fall asleep with visions of the Allegheny Mountains dancing in your head. This quaint hotel is located in the old railroading town of Altoona, just minutes away from the Railroaders Museum and Lakemont Amusement Park. It's the perfect place to rest after a day of outdoor activities.Read More >
First things first. Grab a homestyle breakfast at Top's Diner off Route 22, preferably "Trudy's Mess" or the hot cakes. You'll need your energy for Raystown Lake, a massive freshwater lake that appears to be something out of the Sound of Music. Stop at the Seven Points Visitor Center for a trail map, even though we've got your day pretty much planned: the Hillside Nature Trail for a nice, mile-long walk with the songbirds, and the Old Logger's Trail for exhibits on forest management practices (along with a healthy hike); or the entire 30-mile Terrace Mountain Trail around the eastern length of Raystown Lake - it's particularly interesting to geologists, historians and photographers for its remote and challenging terrain.
If biking is more your thing, then Raystown Lake has everything you could need on the Allegrippis Trails. Ride it once and you'll know why Men's Journal ranked it one of the "Four Best Rides In the Country." Designed by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers, this 30+ mile single-track trail winds through old oak groves and young pines, from lakeside paths to breaktaking vistas that have you humming "The Hills Are Alive." Whether you're a beginner or expert, the three stacked loops and lots of spurs make your ride as easy or as gnarly as you want. The flow of the trails makes you feel as though you're on rails (or the Altoona Curve), it's just up to you to find your magic speed. Enter on the main trailhead along Baker's Hollow Road in Raystown Lake Park, and get ready to grin a lot - just watch for bugs in your teeth.Read More >
Built in 1849, this mansion served as a home to the Baker family. Today, it's looked upon as a beloved community landmark. Back in 2001 an exterior rehabilitation restored it to its original beauty, and if you stop by, they'll be happy to give a look around.
You'll feel like a member of the Continental Army when you step into this Revolutionary War stockade surrounding six log cabins. This fort was built in 1778, and although it's now reconstructed, it still looks the part.
This amusement park has been around since 1894, which makes it one of the oldest in the United States. But don't worry, Lakemont Park still knows how to party. A ride on Leap-the-Dips is an absolute must. It's the world's oldest roller coaster, you know.