It had been a long time since I've hiked the Jackson Trail, and I nearly forgot why it was one of my favorites, despite the rocks.
The views are, in a word, spectacular.
This was the first chance I really had to get out and hike since the leaves turned, but it was well worth the wait. I'll post some photos here in a bit, but the views took me by surprise, and I've hiked this trail a dozen times or more. The difference is that I'd never hiked it in the fall before. Spring, Summer and even in a foot of snow, but never in the fall.
The air temperature was pretty cold, which took me a little off guard on account of the Indian Summer we've had. Just last week it was in the 80s, so a high of 55 was chilly. Still, as always, I was prepared for it, so it didn't bother me in the least. I think "perfect" hiking temps are in the mid to low 60s, so this wasn't too bad for me. There were absolutely no bugs, which I did appreciate.
The trail is the rockiest around. Four miles on the Jackson is like six anywhere else. You simply can't get a good footing anywhere, and you're constantly catching your balance. This makes for a good workout, but it's hard on all of your stabilizing muscles. If you've recently had an ACL tear, this is not the trail for you!
I've got a full trail description posted on the HikePA site, so I won't give a turn by turn, but the Jackson is a straight shot along Tussey Ridge, and there are a number of excellent views, although sadly, Mount Nittany is not something you'll see on this hike. Personally, I hike to what I call the "King of the World Vista", which is about 2/3 of the way to the end of the trail. I almost always hike this in and back, or I shuttle to Shingletown Gap. Taking the Mid State Trail to make a loop is a nasty, brutish hike. I'm hoping the name "King of the World" will catch on
If you plan to hike the Jackson Trail, be sure to get to the KOW vista. A lot of people just go in to David's Vista, which is about a ten minute walk, but the KOW is well worth another hour or so along the ridge. It was simply stunning with all the leaves out. I'll post some of the 400+ photos I took so you can see for yourself! Here's a sample, David's Vista. KOW is far, far better: