Blue Knob

Featured photo of Blue Knob

Blue Knob is a peak in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, 3,136 feet (959 m) above sea level. This mountain is distinctive in that it's broad dome dominates the countryside. Blue Knob is the most northern of the 3,000 footers in the Allegheny Mountain range. Until 1921, Blue Knob was believed to be the highest mountain in the Commonwealth. The U.S. Geological Survey then determined that a point on Negro Mountain, in Somerset County, to be higher at 3,213 feet (979 m), later named Mount Davis.

Blue Knob contains a vast network of hiking trails that range from easy walks to difficult and challenging day hikes. The total network of trails is approximately 18 miles in length. Most of these trails are multiple use for hiking, cross country skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding and snowmobiling. Below is a brief description of each trail that can be found on the mountain.

Mountain View Trail

This trail is 5 miles in length and one of the more difficult on the mountain. It is marked with a double red blaze and the trailhead can be found on the Tower Road just below the summit. The Mountain View Trail begins at about the 3,000 ft. contour and begins by looping around a gentle grade on the upper portion of the mountain's east shoulder. This part of the mountain is marked by stunted and wind deformed trees, mainly scrub oak and striped maple. Also large slabs of the conglomerate rocks that form this mountain may be seen strewn about on these upper slopes. This trail passes two lookouts, the Pavia Overlook and the Queen Overlook before desending into the Beaverdam Creek drainage and the lowest portion of this trail at the 2,000 ft. contour. The trail then traverses the east face of the mountain to the Willow Springs picnic area before it begins its steep ascent on the west face of the mountain and back to the trailhead.

Three Springs Trail

This trail is 2 miles in length and follows and old roadbed. The trail is wide and good for snowmobiles and horseback riding. This trail can be accessed from the Mountain View Trail at about the 3,050 ft. contour and generally runs downslope before it bisects the east face, and ends at the 2,500 ft. contour where it junctions once again with the Mountain View Trail. Along its length you can see how the trail got its name by the number of springs that are used for supplying water to the villages below the mountain.

Rock N' Ridge Trail

This trail begins at the 1,550 ft. contour just above the gated entrance to the park headquarters. It is 2.8 miles in length and marked by an inverted blue "T". The trail is located on the west side of the mountain and begins by following a ridge that abutts the main dome of the mountain. On this trail you may see mountain laurel which is the Pennsylvania State Flower. When the mountain laurel blooms in June it makes for a very scenic hike. The trail eventually junctions into the Sawmill trail at the 2,400 ft. contour, before this however, the trail has a turnoff which will descend down the Pavia Run drainage and end at the Mowry Hollow Picinc Area.

Sawmill Trail

The Sawmill Trail crosses the west face of the mountain and is 3 miles in length marked by yellow blazes. This is another wide trail that follows an old roadbed and is conducive to snowmobiles and mountain biking. The trailheads are located at either end of the trail off the Knob Road or on State Route 403 on Ickes Hill. If you begin on Ickes Hill, you will begin ascending the southwest buttress of the mountain to the Willow Springs Picinic Area at the 2,250 ft. contour. From there you will navigate shortly on the Mountain View Trail before you again pick up the Sawmill Trail. The trail moves across the hollows of the moutain at approximately the 2,400 ft. contour before it ends at that north end of Chappel Field and the trail head on the Knob Road. This hike takes you through rich hardwoods and passes over mountain seeps which drain from the upper slopes of the mountain, it is one of the easier hikes in the park.

Homestead Trail

This trail is a small loop at 1.8 miles in length and marked by orange blazes. The Homestead Trail may be gained by access off the Whysong Road or by a connector trail off the Sawmill Trail. The hike is on the lower portions of the mountain and only gains to the 2,100 ft. contour. The trail is easy and wide open and as its name suggests, marks the site of an old settlers house site. Hiking along this pathway affords good opportunities for viewing wildlife.

Chappell's Field Trail

The Chappell's Field Trail is accessible at points on the Knob Road and campground areas. The trail is located on one of the main ridges that are found on the west side of the mountain. On the top of this ridge, which is over 2,400 ft., Chapell's Field holds one of the best views in the park as it looks up at the main summit of Blue Knob and down on the valley below. The trail encircles the top of this ridge and is 2.5 miles in length, a loop marked by inverted orange "V" blazes.

Crist Ridge Trail

The 1.9 mile orange blazed trail connects to the Chappell's Field Trail at the 2,250 ft. contour and winds its way down the ridge ending on the Knob Road. This trail had large areas of blowdowns on it following the wind events in September of 2004. Since then the trail has been cleared and is a good trail for mountain biking and cross country skiing. In the winter with the foliage down, views of Blue Knob Mountain can be seen through the trees.

Lost Turkey Trail

This is the longest and most difficult trail at 26 miles long. The trail begins on 3,034 foot Herman Point and is marked by red blazes. The trail crosses over both public and private lands as it eventually ends in neighboring Somerset County. To begin this hike you must proceed up the Tower Road and pass by the gated road which leads to Herman Point and the transmitter towers on its summit. Just behind the fenced in towers, you can see the trail which proceeds down the steep face of the mountain into the Rhodes Run drainage. From here the trail follows Ciana Run before crossing Hogback ridge, then beginning its steep ascent up Forks Ridge and the Allegheny Front beyond. Once on top of the Allegheny Plateau it winds its way through high elevation forests and mountain bogs. Proper footwear is recommended for this hike as it is steep in some areas and stream crossings are required along its length.

Connector Trails

There are several connector trails that make up the remaining mileage on Blue Knob's trails system. They are double blue blazed markings and vary in length and difficulty.

Elevation (feet): 3,136
Elevation (meters): 956
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Allegheny Mountains
State: Pennsylvania
Latitude: 40.2883
Longitude: -78.5619
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct
Nearest major airport: Pittsburgh
Convenient Center: Bedford

Thanks to Joe Calzarette for adding this peak.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 3 trip reports for Blue Knob.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #20507 - by Christopher W. Dundon on Nov 29, 2006
    The first time Joe and I hiked the "Knob" it started out great; sunny mid 50's hiking the "The Lost Turkey trail; which would basicly take us to the top of Blue Knob. The next day: 30 degrees, 6+" of...
  • Log #14739 - by Joe Calzarette on Aug 01, 2004
    I've been hiking Blue Knob for over twenty years, to say the least I know the mountain well. In my opinion the mountain is Pennsylvania's best! It is a true Allegheny mountain and worth getting to...
  • Log #14738 - by Tim Lyons on June 16, 2004
    Blue Knob has great skiing. It's PA's highest skiable mountain. You will have a blast skiing at Blue Knob.