As summer slowly gives way to crisp autumn air, Pennsylvania’s landscape turns into a masterpiece of vibrant colors. Both the end of summer and all of autumn provide the ideal backdrop for a hiking adventure. The good news is that hiking doesn’t have to be strenuous. Here are 11 easy Pennsylvania hikes to add to your outdoor bucket list.
1. Butterfly Trail – Bald Eagle State Park
Grab glimpses of butterflies as you embark on the 1.5 mile Butterfly Trail, which starts at the trail head not far from Pavilion six. One of the easiest trails in Bald Eagle State Park, the looping Butterfly Trail passes Frog Pond and through lush green that includes wildflowers, shrubs, and plants on which the butterflies feed.
2. One Mile Trail – Cowans Gap State Park
Start this easy One Mile Trail at Aughwick Road where you'll be shaded by mountain laurels and steal glances of Tuscarora Mountain. Connect with Three Mile Trail or turn left at the Three Mile Trail marker and go back on Aughwick Road to return to your original starting point.
3. Lake Loop Trail – Black Moshannon State Park
Snap stunning photos and selfies against the backdrop of Black Moshannon Lake as you hike along the .70 mile Lake Loop Trail. The trail loops around the lower shoreline of the lake in Black Moshannon State Park. The flat trail, which winds through the beach, is also one of the easiest in the park.
4. Maple Trail – Elk State Park
Enjoy an easy hike along the half mile Maple Trail that just may give you the perfect views of wildlife – like deer and elk – and waterfowl. Begin your hike at the Army Corp of Engineers parking lot then follow the path that winds alongside East Branch Lake.
5. Lakeside Loop – Keystone State Park
Bike or stroll the 2.2 mile, relatively level Lakeside Loop, which promises picturesque scenery as you travel on paths as well as roads in the park. Keep an eye out for ducks, geese, and other wildlife around the lake.
6. Beaver Dam Trail – Pymatuning State Park
Embark on a path over a wetland as you hike the half mile Beaver Dam Trail. Stop at the observation deck, stoop down, and remain quiet. If you're lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of turtles soaking up the sun or dragonflies fluttering about.
7. Lake View Trail – Tuscarora State Park
Breathtaking views of Tuscarora Lake and several creeks await as you trek the .60 mile Lake View Trail, one of the easiest trails in Tuscarora State Park. You'll also pass through a lush hemlock forest and over a dam.
8. Oak Ridge Trail – Locust Lake State Park
Learn as you hike the .75 mile Oak Ridge Trail, which promises easy hiking and plenty of educational signs along the trail. Pass by a creek and into a forest as you discover the many types of trees that live in Locust Lake State Park.
9. Little Buffalo Creek Trail – Little Buffalo State Park
Park near the Main Picnic area at Little Buffalo State Park to start your hike along the one mile Little Buffalo Creek Trail, also a popular trail for cross-country skiers in winter. Follow the blue blazes on this easy hiking trail where you're likely to encounter a variety of wildlife.
10. Three Springs Trail – Blue Knob State Park
Follow the orange blazes as you wind your way along the two mile Three Springs Trail. Kick off your hike at Ski Access Road. The easy trail promises stunning views of the mountains. Pack lunch and have a picnic at the Willow Springs Picnic Area along the trail.
11. General Kane Trail – Kinzua Bridge State Park
At only a little over a mile, the General Kane Trail in Kinzua Bridge State Park offers easy hiking and spectacular views along the way. You'll travel through a forest, home to maple and black cherry trees, and perhaps catch a look at the Kinzua Bridge.
These 11 easy Pennsylvania hikes make hiking accessible to all Pennsylvanians and provide the perfect opportunity for outdoor adventure. Here are
10 additional hiking trails in Pennsylvania that will lead you somewhere unforgettable.