The Thousand Steps hiking trail is not only one of the most famous trails in the region, but the entire state. It is smaller section of the Standing Stone hiking trail which is accessed from Route 22 near Mount Union.
This trail has plenty of history, all starting with Mount Union being once known as the Silica Brick Capital of the World. There were many quarries that were opened on the side of the mountain. At first a dinkey railroad system was used to move the stone to the refractory. There are still some railroad beds visible to this day and at the top of the mountain there is still the remnants of the dinkey shed.
In the early 1900s, trucks started to replace the railroad, but a massive flood in 1936 caused the Harbison-Walker employees to form the trail for their workday commute. While this is known as the Thousands Steps hike there are actually more than 1,000 steps to get to the top of the mountain. But if you make it to the top, you will make it to a breathtaking view at the Ledge Quarry that overlooks the Juniata River and Mapleton.
In all, our hike was 2.2 miles in length with an elevation gain of almost 1000 feet. We did the hike in about one and a half hours.
This is a hike that is a little more difficult for someone who does not hike much. And while you may think the way down is easy, it’s far from that. Keep in mind that the stairs are a bit steep, so a hiking stick is suggested.