Top 10 Hiking Trails in Pennsylvania

By Dan Taylor | Jan 10, 2018

During the winter months, Pennsylvania is covered in thick coats of snow. But as soon as the temperatures start to rise, the snow melts and uncovers lush greenery and the thick forests welcome avid hikers from all over the country to explore their untamed beauty. Because Pennsylvania is so mountainous, there are plenty of beautiful hiking trails to discover and love. Here are 10 of the top hiking trails that are sure to satisfy even the most novice of hikers.

10. Mt Nittany, State College
Mt Nittany is an obligatory hike if you are a Penn State student, and rightly so. This beautiful hike is great for all levels of experience, varying in difficulty depending on the trail that you choose. The hike is heavily trafficked and clearly marked, meaning that if you are hiking alone, you will not get lost. The trail loop is 4.6 miles long and accessible year round. At the top of the mountain is a 360-degree view of State College and neighboring counties. This is also the perfect trail for those who are looking to train or increase their endurance.

9. Ringing Rocks County Park, Upper Black Eddy
This hike is perfect for those audiophiles among us. This trail was given its name for a reason - the rocks really do ring. Make sure you bring a hammer along on your hike so that you can unlock the hidden sounds. When hit with a hammer, these rocks make distinct ring-like sounds. This hike is interactive, and for that reason, is great for children as well. There is also a beautiful waterfall just a short hike from the ringing rocks which is worth the few extra minutes. Ringing Rocks is perfect for beginners, casual hikers, and children, and great for pictures as well.

8. Lehigh Gap / Superfund Trailhead
This is one of the hardest trails on the Appalachian Trail, and it is located in Pennsylvania. Whilst this hike is short - in distance- it is almost vertical and extremely rocky. This is definitely a climb for the more seasoned climbers. Once you do get to the top of the trail, you are treated to the beautiful view of the Lehigh River below. This is definitely a bucket-list trail for Pennsylvania Hikers.

7. High Rocks, Pipersville
The High Rocks, or Ralph Stover State Park as it is formally named, is the hike for rock climbing aficionados. The surrounding mountains are popular among rock climbers of every level. For those who do not want to climb, the hike is equally as enjoyable, with areas for picnics by Tohickon Creek, which runs through the area. The hike is good for every level of experience, as there are trails of all difficulty levels. The views are beautiful all year round and the trails are open for use all year. Rock climbing is not recommended during the winter months as the rocks become slippery and unstable

6. Glen Onoko Falls, Jim Thorpe
If you are searching for Instagram worthy backdrops throughout your hike, look no further than Glen Onoko Falls. This 3-mile loop offers a moderate hike with various little and bigger waterfalls along the way. It is worth noting that safety is an important consideration when making this hike. It is a steep and rocky hike, with water from the falls, therefore it is very important to ensure that you climb with sturdy and slip-resistant footwear. Although this is a difficult hike with an 1188 ft elevation, it is extremely rewarding and the pictures are absolutely worth it.

5. Bushkill Falls, Poconos
These are arguably some of the most famous falls in Pennsylvania, affectionately dubbed the Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania. This hike is perfect for all ages and there are different, well-marked trails for different experience levels. Along the hike, there are eight major waterfalls, with the tallest standing at 150 feet. The more casual trails are highly trafficked, but the traffic lessens as you reach the more challenging paths. The falls are also popular for birdwatchers, as there is an abundance of various birds and other wildlife in the area. To hike Bushkill Falls costs $13.50 per adult, and $8 per child - for a day pass.

4. Mingo Creek County Park, Finleyville
This county park has a number of beautiful trails to hike depending on the desired level of difficulty. This park is shared with horse riders and bikers, but the trails are equipped for all. There are creeks and an abundance of animals, making the trails in this park perfect for family hikes with younger children. There are loops as short as 1.4 miles which are great for novice hikers. The best time to visit the park is during the warmer months of the year, as there is no plowing done during the snow season

3. Promised Land State Park, Pike County
From hiking to camping, there is something for everyone in the Promised Land (State Park). The park boasts a 50-mile trail system, so your energy is the limit. There are trails for varying skill levels. All the hiking trails are clearly marked using the parks marking system. There are plenty of other activities to do at the state park, such as fishing, boating, horseback riding, and biking. There are also resorts nearby if you would like to make a vacation out of your visit.

2. Golden Eagle Trail, Cammal
For those who want to dedicate a whole day hiking, this is the trail for you. The Golden Eagle Trail is a well-traveled 8-mile loop that is in use all year round. Equally as beautiful in winter as it is in the warmer months, the trail is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. This is a moderately difficult trail, which is not recommended for beginners during the winter months. Along the hike, there is the chance to see an abundance of wildlife and is a favorite for avid birdwatchers as well. It is recommended that hikers wear very sturdy footwear and be aware of the various animals that are around the area.

1. Dingmans Ferry Creek Trail, Pike County
This is probably one of the easiest and shortest trails you will hike, but that does not take away from its beauty. The trail is approximately half a mile - one way. At the end of the trail, you find yourself looking at a breathtaking sight of Dingmans Falls, the second largest falls in Pennsylvania. This is a fantastic trail for those with very young children who are curious about nature, or those are just trying to find their love for hiking.

Read on for more of Travelerseek's advice, and tell us what indispensable lessons you've learned on the road in the comments below — or on Twitter with hashtag @travelerseek