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Nothing’s better than finding that gem of a trail that leads to a network of additional trails and ultimately a grand vista or two. Pennsylvania’s Jacks Mountain offers up the historic 1,000 Steps Trail, and a lot more. BY MATT MILLS
Jacks Mountain, home of the 1,000 Steps Trail, stands tall by Pennsylvania standards at 2,321 feet. The 1,000 Steps Trail was originally constructed back in the 1930’s for use by quarry workers as a pathway up to work on the mountain each day. Workers used materials found on the mountain to create the trail and ease their daily commute. Now, this former commuting route is now a popular hiking trail that leads to additional trails that offer up numerous vistas of the surrounding area.
Starting at the 1,000 Steps trailhead, roughly 4.5 miles on mostly tree-covered hiking trails and about 2,400 feet of total elevation gain will take you to Shorb’s Summit, which offers great views of Huntingdon, PA, and other nearby towns.
Throughout this 9-mile roundtrip, reminders of the former quarry operation on the mountain will sporadically appear, including crumbling buildings, old signage and other remnants.
Every once in a while, the trail will open up to a grand vista of tree-lined hills and mountainsides, and you’ll probably think the same thing I did: This wouldn’t be such a bad place to come to work to each day.
Distance: 9 miles round-trip
Time: 4.5 hours
Distance from Pittsburgh: 2.5 hours
More info: 1,000 Steps, Jacks Mountain (PA)
1. It’s easy to miss the 1,000 Steps trailhead off of US-22. Watch out for the gravel parking area on the left (if traveling from Huntingdon).
2. No permit necessary. No parking fee.
3. This is a family-friendly hike.
Mile 0.0: The 1,000 steps is actually 1,037 (give or take).
0.4: Once atop the steps, take a hard left and head toward the remains of one of the main quarry operations buildings.
0.5: From the old building, take a hard turn north and then another west to join the trail that will wind around the mountain, ultimately taking you directly north.
2.2: A series of switchbacks will take you up to the summit plateau. Watch for the double blazes marking the start of the switchbacks.
2.8: Now on the summit plateau, wind your way through watching for blazes until you reach Shorb’s Summit.
1. Be on the lookout for encouraging words etched directly on the steps as you ascend quickly during the first portion of the hike.
2. Explore the remains of numerous buildings from the quarry and mining operations on the mountain. Many are just steps off the trail.
3. Don’t miss the vistas. Hiking a little additional mileage to get that extra view is well worth in on these trails.
4. Hike Jacks Mountain in the autumn to get the views in all of their fall foliage glory.
Weather: 50 degrees & sunny
Food: Water & snacks
More info: Visit PA
- State: PA
- City: Pittsburgh
- Distance: 0.0