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4.29.2018

Standing Stone Trail: Hiking to the Throne Room Scenic Overlook in Huntingdon County

One of my favorite hikes in the state is the Standing Stone Trail, especially around the Thousand Steps, and the Throne Room/Hall of the Mountain. The Standing Stone trail traverses ridges in the rugged Alleghenies, providing tremendous vistas, rigorous elevation changes, and an overall rocky landscape. 
This landscape is seriously rocky and exciting to hike. The Standing Stone Trail runs 80 miles and connects the Mid-State Trail to the Tuscarora Trail. The Throne Room gives a tremendous view of the rugged Alleghenies from an impressive boulder field at the top of a ridge. If you are a distance hiker, the trail starts in Cowans Gap State Park, and ends just beyond Greenwood Furnace State Park. If you are a day hiker or looking for a shorter hike, trailheads can be found at www.standingstonetrail.org
Looking up the vigorous climb towards the Throne Room from the trail, just north of the Throne Room.
Looking up at the throne.
I love the way lichen looks on rocks.
Our first glimpse of the view.
The views from this vista are magnificent. 
A look at the throne. This is a great place to sit and have a picnic lunch and soak in the views.
You can see across multiple ridges from this point. It is just shy of the highest point on the trail, Butler Knob, which stands at 2320 feet. We will reach that point later in this hike.
Approaching the Throne Room from the south. We will head back this way in a little bit.
We now approach the "Hall of the Mountain King" a boulder field that covers a large portion of the ridge top. 

Once you pass the "Hall of the Mountain King," you traverse the ridge through a nice forest as you ascend to Butler Knob. Once you reach this point, you find the abandoned Jacks Mountain Firetower, which you cannot climb up, but you see a nice view off of the side of the mountain. 

Heading back to the Throne Room, "King's Quarters," and the "Hall of the Mountain King." This stretch of trail is simply beautiful.
From this direction, you can see the elevation change as you head across the ridge top. After the Throne Room to the north, the trail has serious elevation change at it approaches Mapleton. If you hike in from Mapleton/Points North, you will have a nice and challenging hike. 

The "Hall of the Mountain King"
Almost to the Throne Room.
Such an incredible view.

If you are not catching this area on a thru hike, are coming in by car, and looking for a shorter hike, you are better off approaching from the south. I was hiking for the elevation change and approached from the area of Silver Mine Knob, which I do not recommend unless you have a vehicle with high wheel clearance. If you do approach from the north, you should start in Mapleton and head south. If you do opt to drive in at a point south of the Throne Room, park at Jacks Mountain Firetower, where there is a nice parking area and well maintained roads. Overall, we highly recommend this hike. The views are about as great as you can see within the state. 

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