Table of Contents
Keen hikers worldwide will delight in the abundant hiking trails Pennsylvania has to offer. Thanks to the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, every resident is promised a state park within 25 miles of their homes. The challenge doesn’t lie in finding a trail to hike but in choosing from the plethora of scenic routes scattered across the state.
Allow me to simplify that task for you. Based on my first-hand experience and reviews from other avid hikers, here’s a curated list of the top five Pennsylvania hiking trails worth lacing up your boots for.
1. Pine Creek Gorge: A Fairyland for Hikers
Pine Creek Gorge, with its enchanting landscape, is nothing short of a hiker’s paradise. Fondly referred to as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, this trail offers panoramic views best experienced from either Leonard Harrison or Colton Point State Parks – or both!
During the rainy season, water levels rise to create an ideal setting for canoeing or kayaking down Pine Creek. In the fall, the gorge erupts in a vibrant burst of foliage, making the hike an unforgettable experience. Add the numerous cascading waterfalls along the trails, and you might find it hard to leave this fairyland.
2. Bushkill Falls: The Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Trails
Bushkill Falls presents four exciting trails to explore. The Green Trail, the shortest among them, offers a leisurely 15-minute stroll leading straight to the main falls – sans the steps.
Craving a more extended adventure? The Yellow Trail, a 45-minute hike, offers views of the main falls, Lower Gorge Falls, Upper Canyon, and Laurel Glen.
If an hour-long hike suits you better, the Blue Trail leads to Pennell Falls. For those seeking a longer walk, the Red Trail offers a two-mile trek through the beautiful Bridal Veil Drop and other captivating falls.
3. Cherry Springs State Park: The Hiker’s and Stargazer’s Dream
Cherry Springs State Park serves a double treat for hikers and stargazers alike. Here, you stand a chance to witness the mesmerizing spectacle of the northern lights. The park is free from light pollution, offering a pristine view of the Milky Way and a star-studded sky.
4. The Shawmut Trail at Kinzua Bridge State Park
Kinzua Bridge State Park, originally built as a viaduct in 1882, holds the historical record for the world’s longest viaduct upon completion. In 2009, the abandoned and partially destroyed bridge was transformed into a pedestrian walkway, now known as the Kinzua Sky Walk.
As you tread the Sky Walk, you can peek through the partial glass bottom at the remains of the collapsed bridge. The park also hosts other trails, with the two-mile-long Shawmut Trail standing out. For a shorter hike, try the Bluebird Trail, accessible for handicapped individuals and those needing walking assistance.
5. Lehigh Gorge State Park: A Kaleidoscope of Fall Foliage
Are you drawn to the rich hues of fall foliage? Then Lehigh Gorge State Park is your go-to destination. The park’s Glen Onoko Falls trail is a popular choice among enthusiastic hikers.
It takes you on an exciting climb amidst rocks and fallen trees, leading to three main waterfalls and countless smaller ones along the way. Remember to put on appropriate footwear; the trail can be a little slick!
Conclusion On The Best Pennsylvania Hiking Trails
Pennsylvania is indeed a treasure trove of excellent hiking trails. These top five picks cater to both novice and experienced hikers, ensuring a fantastic outdoor adventure.
Do you know of any other noteworthy hiking trails in Pennsylvania that aren’t on this list? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below. Let’s help each other discover more of what the great Pennsylvania outdoors has to offer!