Why Every Hiker Should Visit Pennsylvania (Part 2)
If you read my previous post all about Pennsylvania hiking, then you have probably figured out by now that I love my state along with every tree, rock, and rattlesnake in it. With that being said, I will be the first to admit that PA is my least favorite state so far on the AT. Not only does the trail go through one of the least dramatic sections of the state, but those rocks are like meat tenderizers for your feet and it seems like every view is full of farm land as compared to endless views of mountains along other sections of the trail.
I swear to you though that Pennsylvania gets a lot better than the rocks, snakes, and seemingly always dry water sources that the AT offers. With one of the largest state park systems in the country, the Pennsylvania DCNR has a goal to have a state park within 25 miles of every resident. So, it almost goes without saying that we have ample options when it comes to parks, as well as vast sections of state forest and state game land.
If the Pennsylvania section of the AT didn’t quite suite your fancy, then be sure to explore this beautiful state by checking out these little spots next time you’re in the PA area!
Pine Creek Gorge
Better known as The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Pine Creek Gorge is one of the most spectacular spots in the state. Both Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks offer breathtaking views and ample hiking in and around the canyon. During the wet season, the water gets high enough to canoe and kayak down the beautiful Pine Creek, but most visitors stick to hanging out under the area’s multiple waterfalls, or climbing to one of the countless overlooks of the “canyon”. This place is also a must see in the autumn as it is considered one of the best places to view fall foliage in PA!
Ohiopyle State Park
Nestled towards the bottom of PA, Ohiopyle State Park is home to beautiful forests and crystal clear streams. The most notable aspect of the park is easily Cucumber Falls, a breathtaking waterfall sitting on Cucumber run right before it huts the Youghiogheny River. Hiking, camping, and rafting are all abundant in this beautiful little corner of the state.
The Pinnacle @ Kelly’s Run
You may know of The Pinnacle Overlook in Hamburg, PA which just so happens to be on the AT. However, many people don’t know that there are not one, but two Pinnacle Overlooks in PA and they are both equally deserving of a visit. The Pinnacle at Kelly’s Run in located in Lancaster County and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Susquehanna River in the area. There is parking lot right at the top of the overlook, but if you’re in for an adventure, take the 5 mile loop through Kelly’s Run to see a little bit of every type of terrain in the area.
Cherry Springs State Park
When you think of seeing the northern lights Pennsylvania probably isn’t the first place to come to mind. Visit this little state park on the right night though and you may just get lucky and catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, in addition to perfectly clear views of the milky way and thousands of the stars in our solar systems. Cherry Springs an International Dark Sky Zone which means that there is little to no light pollution at this park. It’s the perfect place for amateur and experienced stargazers alike to admire our ever disappearing views of the night sky.
Lehigh Gorge State Park
Known as another one of the best spots to see fall foliage in PA, Lehigh Gorge State Park is home to biking, hiking, rafting, and more! Hands down one of the best trails in this park is the unmaintained falls trail, known as Glen Onoko Falls. Climb over rocks and fallen trees to reach three named falls as well as over a dozen smaller ones on the way up. Proper footwear should be worn as this trail is unmaintained and often slippery due to the falls. Many have fallen and sustained injury or even death along this trail, but it’s totally worth the risk as these falls are a must see in PA!
Did I miss one of your favorite PA hiking spots? Tell me where I should visit next in the comments below!
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