Black Forest Trail Backpacking

Challenge Level: moderate to strenuous

The Black Forest Trail is a 43-mile loop trail located near Slate Run, a must-see area of Pennsylvania that attracts visitors from neighboring states. The trail features steep hill climbs, rocky descents, beautiful views, and forests full of ferns, creeks and dense trees. Regarded by many as one of the most remote parts of the state, this trail has no shortage of opportunities to feel like you are in a true wilderness area. During this multi-day experience you will challenge yourself, build community, develop your outdoor skills and take part in a truly special adventure.

Learn more about the Black Forest Trail

How to Prepare

You do not need to be an experienced backpacker to participate. There will be up to 12 people in your group, which will be led by trip leaders who have experience and training in backpacking. With a group of this size, the carried load will be distributed among your team. With this, we would heavily encourage anyone participating in this trip to plan for and have comfort hiking up to 10–12 miles per day, over several days, over uneven trail surfaces on sometimes steep uphill/downhill terrain, while carrying a 25- to 40-pound pack. This trip will take place on what is approximately a 28-mile loop section of the whole Black Forest Trail with about 6,900 ft. of vertical gain. The mileage and vertical gain/descent will be split over the course of three full days, making for an average of 9.5 miles and 2,300 feet of elevation gain each day.

Expedition Itinerary

The experience below is only an example. Trips are subject to change based on weather, local conditions and other circumstances.

Day 1

7 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Move into your residence hall. Breakfast and lunch on your own.

12:15 p.m. In a duffel bag, bring your equipment from the packing list to a storage area.

12:30 p.m. Meet with the associate dean, the director of Outdoor Education & Leadership and BuckWild student trip leaders in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts.

1:30 p.m. Family goodbyes.

1:45 p.m. Report to Malesardi Quad to meet with your BuckWild student trip leaders.

2 p.m. Families meet with the president, provost and dean of students in the Weis Center.

2:30 p.m. Families depart campus or attend a social hour in the Weis Center lobby until 3:30 p.m.

Day 2

Wake up, pack up equipment and depart campus! Hike to the first backcountry camp. Set up camp. Enjoy fun daily activities prepared by BuckWild student trip leaders.

Day 3

Wake up, break down camp and spend the day hiking. Set up camp. Enjoy fun evening activities prepared by BuckWild trip leaders.

Day 4

Wake up, break down camp and spend the day hiking. Set up camp. Enjoy fun evening activities prepared by BuckWild trip leaders.

Day 5

Wake up, break down camp, enjoy morning activities before departing for campus. Unpack from trip. Meet with your BuckWild leaders and enjoy a celebratory dinner with all BuckWild participants. Go back to your residence hall to shower and sleep.

Day 6

Breakfast at 8:15 a.m. in Larison Dining Hall. Your BuckWild trip leaders will talk about the New Student Orientation schedule and you’ll watch a slideshow displaying each of the BuckWild trip experiences. New Student Orientation begins just before lunch.

Contact Details

Outdoor Education & Leadership


Tustin Hall, Room 151