The 13 Best Scenic Overlooks in Centre County

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Rusty Glessner at Indian Wells Overlook in Centre County Pennsylvania

To most people Centre County is synonymous with one thing – Happy Valley!

The Nittany Lion Shrine at Penn State University.
The Nittany Lion Shrine at Penn State University.

But the thing about valleys is you have to have mountains on either side, and the mountains of Centre County are home to some amazing scenic overlooks!

Summer sunset over Penn State campus while a baseball game takes place at Medlar Field..
Summer sunset over Penn State campus while a baseball game takes place at Medlar Field..

So what I’m going to show you here are 13 of the best scenic overlooks in Centre County.

Some close to State College (we’ll start with those), some further away, but all well worth a visit.

Chocolate Drop Vista in the Bald Eagle State Forest on a summer afternoon.
Chocolate Drop Vista in the Bald Eagle State Forest on a summer afternoon.

Scenic Overlooks Near State College

Mike Lynch Overlook on Mount Nittany

The Mike Lynch Overlook on Mount Nittany is arguably the most famous scenic overlook in Centre County.

Looking towards downtown State College from Mount Nittany.
Looking towards downtown State College from the Mike Lynch Overlook on Mount Nittany.

When most people say they are “hiking Mount Nittany”, what they mean is that they are hiking to the Mike Lynch Overlook, where you can take in the views of State College and Penn State University far below.

The view of Beaver Stadium and Medlar Field from Mount Nittany
The view of Beaver Stadium and Medlar Field from the Mike Lynch Overlook on Mount Nittany.

The Mike Lynch Overlook is accessed via a trail head in Lemont.

How to find the Mike Lynch Overlook on Mount NIttany.
How to find the Mike Lynch Overlook on Mount NIttany.

There is parking along Mount Nittany Road at the base of the mountain at GPS coordinates 40.81146, -77.80702.


Jo Hays Vista

Jo Hays Vista is the easiest scenic overlook to get to near State College.

The view from Jo Hay Vista looking into State College and Penn State.
The view from Jo Hay Vista looking into State College and Penn State.

Jo Hays Vista is literally roadside along Route 26 near Pine Grove Mills.

Map to David's Vista and Jo Hays Vista near State College.
Map to David’s Vista and Jo Hays Vista near State College.

David’s Vista

David’s Vista is accessed via the same parking lot as Jo Hays vista, albeit in the opposite direction along the Jackson Trail.

A summer afternoon at David's Vista near State College PA

The 180 degree views at David’s Vista are outstanding!

David's Vista overlooking Huntingdon County in the Rothrock State Forest.
David’s Vista overlooking Huntingdon County in the Rothrock State Forest.

The GPS coordinates for David’s Vista are 40.72172, -77.88182.


Hubler Gap Vista

Hubler Gap Vista near State College offers exceptional views of the Rothrock State Forest.

Hubler Gap Vista in the Rothrock State Forest.
Hubler Gap Vista in the Rothrock State Forest.

Hubler Gap Vista requires a 1.5 mile hike with 900 feet of elevation gain over the course of the hike along the Musser Gap Trail.

Directions to Hubler Gap Vista and Lions Valley Vista near State College PA
A map to Hubler Gap Vista and Lions Valley Vista near State College, PA.

Trailhead parking can be found just off of Route 45 at GPS coordinates 40.75476, -77.85309.

The View from Hubler Gap Vista near State College.
The View from Hubler Gap Vista near State College.

Lion’s Valley Vista

A terrific side destination on the return hike from Hubler Gap Vista is Lion’s Valley Vista, just off the Musser Gap Trail at GPS coordinates 40.74142, -77.84998.

Lions Valley Vista overlooking State College and Penn State.
Lion’s Valley Vista overlooking State College and Penn State.

The view from Lion’s Valley Vista is of the farmland of Ferguson Township in the foreground, and the ever-expanding State College and Penn State in the background.

Looking into State College from Lions Valley Vista.
Looking into State College from Lion’s Valley Vista.

Scenic Overlooks in Northern Centre County

Fields Ridge Road Overlook

Fields Ridge Road Overlook is an impressive roadside vista offering a commanding view of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River as it passes through the Sproul State Forest in northern Centre County.

Fields Ridge Road Overlook in Centre County.
Fields Ridge Road Overlook in Centre County.

Located at the end of Fields Ridge Road, use GPS coordinates 41.20921, -77.95906 to navigate to this scenic view at the end of a 5 mile-long and relatively smooth state forest road.

A map to Yost Run Falls and Fields Ridge Road Overlook in the Sproul State Forest.
A map to Yost Run Falls and Fields Ridge Road Overlook in the Sproul State Forest.

Fields Ridge Road Overlook is close to Yost Run Falls, arguably the best waterfall hike in Centre County.

The author at Yost Run Falls on a spring day.
The author at Yost Run Falls on a spring day.

Scenic Overlooks in Southern Centre County

Bear Meadows Overlook

Bear Meadows Overlook is actually a series of overlooks along the Mid State Trail in the Rothrock State Forest.

Bear Meadows Overlook in Centre County Pennsylvania
Bear Meadows Overlook in Centre County, Pennsylvania.

Use GPS coordinates 40.75240, -77.75578 to navigate to the parking area along Little Flat Tower Road, then follow the Mid State Trail approximately 500 yards to the first of several views out over Bear Meadows.

A map to Indian Wells Overlook and Bear Meadows Overlook along the Mid State Trail in Centre County
A map to Indian Wells Overlook and Bear Meadows Overlook along the Mid State Trail in Centre County

Each overlook offers a slightly different view of the Bear Meadows Natural Area below, a bog formed at the end of the last glacial period and a National Natural Landmark.

Bear Meadows Overlook along the Mid State Trail in Centre County
Bear Meadows Overlook along the Mid State Trail in Centre County

Indian Wells Overlook

Indian Wells Overlook is located roughly 1.5 miles southwest of the Bear Meadows Overlooks along the Mid State Trail.

Indian Wells Overlook in Centre County.
Indian Wells Overlook in Centre County.

Certainly you can hike to Indian Wells Overlook from the same parking area you used for the Bear Meadows Overlooks, or you can park along Bear Gap Road at GPS coordinates 40.72674, -77.78964 and hike directly to Indian Wells Overlook if you’re looking for a quick out-and-back hike.

Indian Wells Overlook along the Mid State Trail in Centre County
Indian Wells Overlook along the Mid State Trail in Centre County

Indian Wells Overlook is located along the Mid State Trail at GPS coordinates 40.73023, -77.78235.


Scenic Overlooks in Eastern Centre County

Bell’s Majestic View

Bell’s Majestic View lives up to its name!

Bells Majestic View sign along Siglerville-Millheim Pike in the Bald Eagle State Forest
Bells Majestic View sign along Siglerville-Millheim Pike in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

This roadside attraction in the Bald Eagle State Forest can be found at GPS coordinates 40.82967, -77.50880.

A map to the best roadside scenic overlooks in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
A map to the best roadside scenic overlooks in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

Bell’s Majestic View is particularly “majestic” in the fall.

Bells Majestic View in the Bald Eagle State Forest on an October morning.
Bells Majestic View in the Bald Eagle State Forest on an October morning.

Penns View

Penns View offers a remarkable roadside view of Penns Creek and the village of Coburn along its banks.

Penns View in the Bald Eagle State Forest on an October morning.
Penns View in the Bald Eagle State Forest on an October morning.

Penns View is located along Poe Paddy Drive at GPS coordinates 40.84247, -77.45271.

Penns View overlooking Penns Creek in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Penns View overlooking Penns Creek in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

Ingleby View

Ingleby View is located along Poe Paddy Drive, just minutes from Penns View, at GPS coordinates 40.84435, -77.43404.

Ingelby View in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Ingleby View in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

Chocolate Drop Vista

Chocolate Drop Vista is located along Pine Swamp Road in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

Chocolate Drop Vista sign along Pine Swamp Road in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Chocolate Drop Vista sign along Pine Swamp Road in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

This roadside overlook is located at GPS coordinates 40.83228, -77.45111, not far from Poe Valley State Park.

Chocolate Drop Vista along Pine Swamp Road in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Chocolate Drop Vista along Pine Swamp Road in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

Ravens Knob Vistas

Ravens Knob Vistas is really two vistas in one.

Ravens Knob Vistas sign along Poe Paddy Drive in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Ravens Knob Vistas sign along Poe Paddy Drive in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

To the east the view is in the direction of Penns Creek and Sawmill Knob.

Ravens Knob East Vista in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Ravens Knob East Vista in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

To the west, the view is of the Big Poe Creek Valley.

Ravens Knob West Vista in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Ravens Knob West Vista in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

So there you have it – 13 of the best scenic overlooks in Centre County!

Bells Majestic View in the Bald Eagle State Forest on a summer afternoon.
Bells Majestic View in the Bald Eagle State Forest on a summer afternoon.

And while this list is by no means all-inclusive, it gives you a solid overview of some of the sights that await you when you begin to explore the scenic overlooks of Centre County.

Beaver Stadium as viewed from the MIke Lynch Overlook.
Beaver Stadium as viewed from the MIke Lynch Overlook.

Nearby Attractions

“The 5 Best State Parks Near State College” will introduce you to a number of excellent state parks in Centre County.

Sunset over Black Moshannon Lake
Sunset at Black Moshannon State Park in Centre County.

“The 12 Best Scenic Overlooks in Huntingdon County” will introduce you to a dozen impressive vistas in neighboring Huntingdon County.

The Ledges Trail Overlook in Huntingdon County at Trough Creek State Park.
The author at the Ledges Trail Overlook in Huntingdon County.

Chimney Rocks Park offers a trio of great scenic overlooks in neighboring Blair County.

Fall foliage at Chimney Rocks Park in Blair County.

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