Pennsylvania, John P Saylor Trail

Location: Windber, PA, on Route PA56
State: Pennsylvania
Total Elevation: 1249
Trail Length: 6.3 miles
Trail Type: Loop
Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Information:

The trail is located in Gallitzin State Forest, just south east of Johnstown on router PA56. The trail is arranged in a double loop, with a total length of about 17 miles.

One of the few meadows on the JP Saylor Trail

Crossing several creeks, through forested areas the way is clear for some wonderful hiking or snowshoeing and the wildlife viewing is incomparable.

The trail also includes a suspended bridge which is a lot of fun to traverse.

The short, but steep ascent to the ridge top added some challenge to the trail. Also, the majority of the trail is through woods, with only a few sections that crossed grassy meadows.

I prefer hiking in the woods, with little to no undergrowth, and for the most part this trail was just that. If you are looking for a nice day hike in the Johnstown area, this one should be on the top of your list.


To reach the trailhead you will need to find route PA56.

The easiest way to reach route PA56 is to head towards Johnstown. You will probably approach Johnstown on route US219, either traveling south from Ebensburg and route US22 or north from Somerset and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Once on route US219, look for the route PA56 east exit. Coming from the south, you will encounter this exit prior to reaching the west PA56 exit that takes you to Johnstown.

Coming from the north, routes US219 and PA56 will merge for approximately 2.6 miles before you exit route US219. Once you take the PA56 east exit, travel for 8.9 miles, passing through the town of Windber. You will see a sign for the Babcock Picnic Area on your right. Continue on route PA56 for another 1.2 miles and look for the Clear Shade Wild Area sign on your right. Pull in here and continue back the dirt road for another 1.6 miles. There will be parking on your left. This is the trailhead for this hike.

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