Indian Lookout in the Rothrock State Forest is one of the most spectacular scenic overlooks in all of central Pennsylvania.
Perched high above the former Colerain State Park (now part of the Rothrock State Forest), an expansive view of Spruce Creek, Canoe Mountain, Brush Mountain, and the distant Bald Eagle Mountain awaits the intrepid explorer.
Contrary to what the name might imply. Indian Lookout was not used by Native Americans as a lookout, but rather by early European settlers in the region as a lookout for potential Indian war parties.
One trip here and you’ll understand why – the commanding view of the area is superb.
How to Find Indian Lookout in the Rothrock State Forest
Indian Lookout is located along the Yellow Arrow Trail in the Rothrock State Forest.
To reach the Yellow Arrow Trail, turn off of Route 45 in Colerain/Spruce Creek Township onto Colerain Road.
Unfortunately, Colerain Road has no road sign that I’ve ever seen, but the GPS coordinates for its intersection with Route 45 are 40.62684, -78.11355.
Once you’ve made the turn off of Route 45 onto Colerain Road, you’ll cross a small bridge over Spruce Creek and see a large parking area in front of you.
This lower trailhead for the Yellow Arrow Trail is located here.
If you elect to hike up the mountain from the bottom to Indian Lookout, the trail is approximately a mile long and features 750 feet of elevation gain.
Personally, I choose to drive up Colerain Road to the upper Yellow Arrow trailhead and hike downhill 0.2 miles from the road to the lookout.
This also allows you to visit 2 other outstanding roadside vistas nearby.
Exploring Canoe Mountain Vista
Continuing up Colerain Road from the left side of the parking area, you’ll travel 1.17 miles on the picturesque state forest road.
At a sharp bend in the road, you’ll encounter a roadside pull-off and Canoe Mountain Vista.
Canoe Mountain lies on the Blair / Huntingdon county line on State Game Lands 166.
This is certainly one of the more accessible vistas in the Rothrock State Forest system, even for those with limited mobility.
Exploring Indian Lookout
Continue up Colerain Road another mile to an obvious roadside pull-off and the upper Yellow Arrow Trailhead.
The trailhead will be on your left hand side.
The trail to the lookout is a quick 0.2 miles, a gentle downhill slope most of the way.
Just before you reach the overlook, the trail slopes uphill and the remnants of a fence come into view.
To the left of the fence is a memorial to one of the two hikers who have fallen to their deaths from Indian Lookout since the mid-70’s, so please use caution and don’t get too close to the edge.
The 180 degree views from Indian Lookout are simply stunning.
To your right you are looking upstream on Spruce Creek in the direction of State College.
To your left you are looking the direction of Tyrone and Altoona.
Exploring Colerain Road Vista
There is one more terrific roadside (literally) vista awaiting you 1 mile further up Colerain Road.
From the Indian Lookout parking area, continue northeast and take the upper fork in the road to stay on Colerain Road.
After travelling a mile, you’ll be met by the expansive views at Colerain Road Vista.
The view from Colerain Road Vista mimics that of Indian Lookout, although you do have a better view of Canoe Mountain from here.
This is certainly one of the most sweeping vantage points in the Rothrock State Forest.
The fact that it is so easily accessible makes it an ideal spot for any nature lover, regardless of mobility issues.
Just a few hundred feet past Colerain Road Vista, a large turnaround area near the mountaintop makes a good spot to do just that, and you can then backtrack down the mountain to Route 45 where you started.
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