Finally, summer is knocking. It’s time to pack up your scarves and mittens and instead start doing some warm-weather planning. Lucky for you, Pennsylvania has myriad state parks, forests, and hiking trails from which to choose. Below we’ve chosen ten of the most beautiful.
1. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Albany Township
Hawk Mountain has many look-out points that offer dramatic views of the surrounding land. During migratory season, hundreds of hawks can be seen passing through on any given day. The sanctuary also acts as a rehabilitation center for injured birds.
2. Glen Onoko Falls, Jim Thorpe
Be careful if you decide to hike Glen Onoko-- the trail is steep and unmarked with many slippery rocks along the way to trip you up. It is well-worth the challenge, however; you will encounter one waterfall after another on your way up. Pictured above are the Chameleon Falls.
3. Susquehannock State Forest
The Susquehannock Trail System is an 85-mile loop trail found in Clinton and Potter counties. In it is an area of about 10 square miles that has no roads-- and one of the oldest forests in the state. Pictured is the Twin Sisters Trail.
4. Golden Eagle Trail, just north of Cammal
Coming in at just under ten miles, this hike is great if you want to dedicate an entire day to an adventure.
5. Raccoon Creek State Park, Beaver County
You can enjoy almost any outdoor activity you might desire here, at what is one of Pennsylvania's most popular state parks. Besides a network of hiking trails and rivers, the park includes Raccoon Lake where visitors swim, fish, and boat.
6. Jacobsburg State Park, Northampton County
Jacobsburg State Park is home to the only remaining old-growth forest in the area.
7. Alan Seeger Natural Area, Rothrock State Forest, Huntingdon County
The Alan Seeger Natural Area is a leisurely trail, less than a mile long but with a variety of beautiful natural wonders along the way. There are numerous other hiking trails in Rothrock State Forest, like the Pennsylvania Mid-State Trail, if you would like to explore the area further.
8. Top Mountain Trail, Naked Mountain, Union County
From the summit of Naked Mountain, you can see Nittany Mountain to the right and distinguish the flow of White Deer Creek in the valley.
9. Dingmans Ferry Creek Trail, Pike County
The Dingmans Ferry Creek Trail is only half a mile long one-way, but along that half-mile you will pass underneath a dense hemlock canopy, admire a thin-ribbon-like waterfall, and find yourself standing at the foot of the second-tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania.
10. Promised Land State Park, Pike County
Promised Land State Park has slightly different wildlife than many other Pennsylvania parks because of its nutrient-poor soil. As a result, some types of animals are more common here than others... such as black bears.
We’re just barely scratching at the surface of what Pennsylvania has to offer for the adventure-minded. What are your favorite hiking spots in the state?