Fall in Happy Valley is near perfect. The weather is cool, comfortable and generally beautiful in every sense of the word most weekends. So don’t stay cooped up inside, check out these eight activities in and around State College while in town.

Hike Mt. Nittany

Heading to the top of Mt. Nittany is the cherry on top of any visit to State College. Climb Mt. Nittany and gaze over downtown State College and the Penn State campus, via the Mike Lynch Overlook. It’s a 0.6 mile hike to the overlook and takes roughly 25-30 minutes to climb, but it’s well worth it once you get to the top. There are many different trails to choose from on the mountain. Mt Nittany’s blue trail is approximately 4.6 miles round trip, while the white trail is 3.5 miles. The base of Mt. Nittany is located in Lemont, just minutes from State College. Click here for directions to the mountain and to view trail maps.

Spend a day at Whipple Dam

Serenity reigns supreme at Whipple Dam, just 12 miles from State College. The 300-foot sand beach is open until mid-September, but after it closes, there’s still plenty of ways to relax including having a picnic or bird watching. There is also a fun and relatively easy hiking trail that surrounds the lake. 

Tussey Mountain

There are plenty of family fun activities at Tussey Mountain. Put the pedal to the metal at their go-kart track, or enjoy a friendly, but competitive game of Mini Golf. You can also work on your golf game with their nine-hole par-3 course and driving range. For those that are looking for an activity that’s more laid back, Tussey has a pond which you can catch a variety of fish. The pond is stocked with trout, bass, catfish, carp and more! It’s free to fish at the pond, but those over 18 need a valid fishing license.

Fishing at Spring Creek

In addition to Tussey Mountain and Whipple Dam, there are plenty of streams and other places to fish around State College. Fly fisherman will want to visit Spring Creek (a famed fly fisherman’s paradise), which begins at the base of Tussey Mountain in Boalsburg. Cast a line for brown trout and brookies (the Pennsylvania state fish) that reside in the creek. For those looking for last-minute fishing supplies, check out TCO Fly Fishing.       (map)

Penn’s Cave Wildlife Park

Enjoy a 90-minute tour of the expansive wildlife park that goes through 1,500 acres of Penn’s Cave farm grounds. Get up close to animals such as wolves, bears and mountain lions and educate yourself about the wildlife of the Centre county region.


Plenty of trails in the area can help you get a good workout or just the relaxing ride you crave. Two low-key options include the Bellefonte Bike Trail (1.3 miles) and the Park Hills Bike Path Loop (5.3 miles).

Also, don’t miss the many hilly roads encircling State College. We recommend the roads directly south of town that lead up to Mount Nittany Winery. Penn State’s cycling team trains on the lightly traveled country roads and so can you! Or, just stroll and check out area farms and the beautiful backroad scenery of the more rural side of Happy Valley. In need of cycling gear? Visit Freeze Thaw Bicycles on Allen Street or The Bicycle Shop on W. College Ave.

**Also, while it’s about 40 minutes from State College, the Raystown region has some of the best biking you can find. The Allegripis Bike Trails were designed by mountain bikers and built by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. There are 24 trails that vary in difficulty.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Take to the skies of Happy Valley and see the region like you could only once imagine! The Sky’s the Limit Ballooning offers hot air balloon rides all year round as long as the weather is appropriate. Float through the skies and gaze down at the vast tree lines, streams and other hidden gems of this rustic area. Whether the balloon takes you just above the tree lines or several thousand feet in the air, a hot air balloon ride is sure to provide you with memories for a lifetime.

Olde-Time Carriage Rides

Take a trip back in time with Dayze Gone Bye Carriage Rides for an old-fashioned carriage ride. Dayze Gone Bye provides many different types of rides. A romantic carriage ride is a great way to spend time with that special someone especially, if you’re thinking about popping the question. If you have a large group, take a tour with one of their covered wagons that can sit up to 12 people. Located in Allensville, 30 miles from State College, Dayze Gone Bye can also bring their services to you!

Stay with Lion Country Lodging at one of our six properties when you visit the great outdoors of Happy Valley. 

Visit Lion Country Lodging

Carnegie Inn & Spa - (814) 234-2424

100 Cricklewood Drive State College, PA 16803  

Days Inn Penn State - (814) 238-8454

240 S. Pugh Street State College, PA 16801 

Hilton Garden Inn - (814)-272-1221

1221 East College Avenue State College, PA 16801 

Nittany Budget Motel - (814) 238-0015

2070 Cato Avenue State College, PA 16801 

Quality Inn State College - (814) 234-1600

1274 North Atherton Street State College, PA 16803 

Super 8 - (814) 237-8005

1663 S. Atherton St State College, PA 16801