From PA 26 at Jo Hays Vista parking, northbound MST drops off Tussey Ridge to east (Jackson Trail, straight ahead, stays on rocky ridgeline for more views, no water), meeting Ironstone Loop Trail behind Monroe Furnace ruins. From here, the MST continues north through abandoned Beaver Pond recreation area, with water availability and campsites.
Re-climb the ridge for more open views and rocks. Cross Musser Gap Trail to the west, the newer access point to parking at PA 45 and continue to Whitehall Rd at State College Borough limits. Stay on the rocky ridge passing numerous side trails down to Shingletown Gap (watershed area to northwest, no camping), including the Roman Tower which might have once been more impressive before the arrival of the Visigoths.
Cross gravel Laurel Run Rd on a brief interlude of a logging grade before ankle-twisting rocks resume. Continue over Little Flat Fire Tower Rd
and pass a parking area. Cross Little Flat Fire Tower Rd
again behind the gate, pass a radio tower and cross the lawn of the former fire tower (fenced and locked) and its cabin (locked) to the oldest portion of Mid State Trail. Pass Spruce Gap
trail, which is the closest access route to Galbraith Gap way down off the ridge behind Tussey Mountain ski resort, then the Tom Thwaites Monument to MST's founder.
Several viewpoints open to the left/southeast, including the famed mysterious Indian Wells overlook over Bear Meadows, and a number of dry campsites are cleared here as well. Fleet Foot Trail
drops to a leased hunting cabin and spring. Pass North Meadows
on your way to Keith Spring side trail, short and easy to the reliable Keith Spring.
Continue now in Big Flat Laurel Natural Area over the green tunnel highest point in Huntingdon County. At a gated road junction, cross and drop left (now compass-northeast) towards, but not all the way to, Bear Meadows. Swing right to regain the ridge now called Thickhead Mountain and cross gravel Bear Meadows Road (no good parking) as the MST drops off the ridgeline (now compass southeast).
The trail now crosses behind the Detweiler Run Rd gate to a final drop to Detweiler Run and a junction with Mid State Trail Greenwood Spur
and MST - Section 9
. This "Detweiler Junction" is also the split between the eastern and western routes of Great Eastern Trail