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Best Hiking Trails in Pennsylvania With Gorgeous Views

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10 Best Hiking Trails You Must See in Pennsylvania

If you’re itching to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania, you’ve come to the right place. The Keystone State has an amazing variety of hiking trails with views you definitely have to see to believe.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner looking to dip your toes into the world of outdoor adventure, Pennsylvania has something for everyone. From the rugged peaks of the Pocono Mountains to the serene beauty of the Alleghenies, I’ll guide you through some of my personal favorites, share some insider tips, and get you ready for an unforgettable hiking experience.

So, grab your backpack, pack some snacks, and let’s dive into the wilderness of Pennsylvania together!

1. Ohiopyle State Park

Waterfall at Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle State Park is a true gem in the Pennsylvania wilderness. Nestled in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania, Ohiopyle offers some of the most breathtaking natural beauty in the state.

One of the standout trails in Ohiopyle is the Ferncliff Trail. Although it’s just over a mile, it’s still considered a more challenging trail. It hugs the edge of the peninsula near the Youghiogheny River’s edge and passes Ohiopyle Falls, Washington’s Overlook, and Lovers Leap.

If you’re looking for an easy trail that’s good for every skill level, check out the Jonathan Run Trail. The trailhead starts on Holland Hill Road and crisscrosses the scenic Jonathan Run before connecting to the Great Allegheny Passage. You’ll be able to see several small waterfalls along the trail.

Related: Where to Find the Best Hiking Trails in Maryland

However, perhaps the crown jewel of Ohiopyle’s hiking scene is the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. While the entire trail stretches over 70 miles, 6.3 miles of it is in the park. The park also serves as the southern terminus of the trail.

The trail takes you on an extended adventure through the lush Laurel Highlands. As you explore it, prepare for stunning vistas, serene forests, and the satisfaction of conquering this challenging but incredibly rewarding trail.

2. Ricketts Glen State Park

Stone staircase and waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park is like nature’s secret garden tucked away in the heart of Pennsylvania. If you’re on the hunt for waterfalls and a hiking experience that feels like something out of a fairy tale, then this place should be on your radar.

It’s home to the Glens Natural Area, which is a National Natural Landmark. There are 26 miles of trails in the park that vary from easy to challenging.

The Falls Trail in Ricketts Glen is hands down the star of the show. It’s a roughly 7.2-mile loop that takes you past a mind-boggling 21 waterfalls. Yes, you read that right, 21!

Each cascade has its own unique charm, and you’ll be itching to whip out your camera at every turn. But do be prepared, because some parts of the trail can be steep and rocky, and the steps can be a bit slippery. However, the effort is entirely worth it.

One of the standout waterfalls along the trail is Ganoga Falls, the tallest in the park, plummeting a staggering 94 feet. When you’re standing at the base, the sheer force of the water will leave you in awe.

If you’re interested in scenic views, the 1.9-mile Laurel View Trail is a fantastic option. This loop trail follows the Fire Tower access road to the top of Red Rock Mountain, which is the highest elevation in the park.

3. Worlds End State Park

Worlds End State Park, nestled in the rugged terrain of Loyalsock State Forest, is a hiker’s dream come true. If you’re on the hunt for a slice of wilderness that feels like it’s straight out of a storybook, you’ve got to put this park on your hiking bucket list.

Canyon Vista Trail is the crown jewel of Worlds End, and for good reason. This moderately challenging 4-mile loop takes you through enchanting forests, up rocky outcrops, and rewards you with a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the Loyalsock Creek Gorge.

Trust me, this vista is worth every step of the climb. It’s especially stunning during the fall when the foliage transforms the landscape into a tapestry of reds and golds.

For those who want a shorter but equally picturesque hike, check out the High Rock Trail. Although it’s a 1-mile hike to High Rock Vista, this is still considered a very challenging trail because you’ll be gaining several hundred feet in elevation.

Once you climb upward through the maze of rocks and boulders to the top, you’ll be treated to an amazing view of the surrounding valleys and hills. It’s the perfect place to take a breather, snap some photos, and soak in the beauty of nature.

4. Black Moshannon State Park

Located in Central Pennsylvania, the 3,394-acre Black Moshannon State Park offers a unique mix of wetlands, forests, and pristine lakes that make for some unforgettable hiking experiences. The park is also surrounded by more than 43,000 acres of the Moshannon State Forest, which helps create a remote and untouched setting.

One of the standout trails here is the Moss-Hanne Trail, a 7.7-mile trail that takes you on a journey through the park’s diverse ecosystems. You’ll wander through lush forests, boardwalks over wetlands, and enjoy serene lake views.

This moderately challenging trail is especially magical during the spring and summer when the wildflowers are in full bloom, and the wildlife is bustling about. It’s a good idea to bring along waterproof footwear since some parts of the trail are often wet.

If you’re looking for a short hike that’s still rewarding, the Star Mill Trail is your ticket. This 2.1-mile loop winds through the forest and offers great views of Black Moshannon Lake. It’s an excellent choice for an easy hike with plenty of opportunities to stop and soak in the natural beauty.

5. Kinzua Bridge State Park

The Kinzua Bridge Skywalk at Kinzua Bridge State Park

If you’re seeking a hike that combines stunning vistas with a touch of history, look no further than Kinzua Bridge State Park in northwestern Pennsylvania. This park is home to one of the most remarkable engineering feats turned hiking destinations in the state: the Kinzua Skywalk.

The Kinzua Bridge Skywalk was once the Kinzua Viaduct, which was the longest and tallest railroad structure. However, it was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003.

In 2011, it was reinvented as a pedestrian walkway. Today, the star of the show in this park is undoubtedly the Kinzua Skywalk Trail. You can stroll 600 feet out on the support towers and peer into the Kinzua Gorge.

Walking on this steel structure suspended high above the valley floor is an experience you won’t soon forget. Plus, the transparent section at the end of the walkway gives you a thrilling bird’s-eye view of the forest below.

But that’s not all. Kinzua Bridge State Park is also home to the General Kane Trail. This loop trail is a little over a mile in length. It begins and ends in the overflow parking lot and winds through hardwood forests of black cherry and maple trees.

You can also check out the Kinzua Creek Trail. This challenging 0.8-mile out-and-back trail takes you to the bottom of the gorge for another unique perspective of the structure.

6. Michaux State Forest

Tucked away in the southern part of the state, Michaux State Forest is a haven for anyone looking to enjoy some outdoor recreation and offers a variety of trails that cater to all levels of hikers. It also provides access to the 37 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

If you’re into backpacking, you can consider tackling some of this iconic long-distance trail. Even though it’s only a small section, it still offers a taste of the AT experience with rocky terrain and lush woodlands.

Another must-try hike here is the Rocky Knob Trail, a 4-mile journey that takes you through a dense forest and rewards you with nice views of Rocky Knob and Long Pine Run Reservoir. It’s an easy to moderate hike with some elevation gain, but the scenery is totally worth the effort.

Sunset Rocks Trail, also known as Little Rocky Ridge, is another popular hike in the area because it offers some of the best views of the surrounding area. It also takes you to the ruins of a top-secret World War II POW camp.

7. Mount Davis

If you’re looking to conquer the highest point in Pennsylvania, lace up those hiking boots and head to Mount Davis. This peak, standing tall at 3,213 feet, offers not only bragging rights but also some stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Your journey begins at the Mount Davis Trail, an easy and short walk of less than 100 yards that starts at the Mount Davis parking area. Since this is a well-maintained path with a gradual incline, it’s a hike that’s great for all levels, including young kids.

There’s an informational kiosk at the parking lot where you can usually find trail maps. It also has some interesting information about the area.

At the summit, you’ll find an observation tower, which is a fantastic spot to catch your breath and soak in the panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see for miles, taking in the rolling hills and valleys of the Laurel Highlands.

If you finish taking in the views from the summit and you want to explore the area more, there are around 10 miles of additional trails that crisscross Mount Davis.

8. Pine Creek Gorge

A view of Pine Creek Gorge from Colton Point State Park

Pine Creek Gorge is a stunning natural wonder that’s often called the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.” It’s a hiker’s paradise with a wide range of trails catering to different skill levels and preferences.

The canyon stretches for approximately 47 miles with a maximum depth of 1,450 feet. It’s also home to Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks, which both have plenty of scenic overlooks with breathtaking views.

For a classic Pine Creek Gorge experience, look no further than the Turkey Path Trail in Leonard Harrison State Park. It’s a 2-mile round-trip hike that takes you from the canyon’s rim down to the creek’s edge.

The steep descent will get your heart pumping, but the reward is worth it. Along the way, you’ll encounter picturesque waterfalls and mossy rock formations that make for fantastic photo ops. You definitely want to wear sturdy hiking boots with good traction because the path can be slippery.

If you’re visiting Colton Point State Park on the opposite side of the canyon, the West Rim Trail is a great option. It has several vantage points where you can enjoy the scenery. Since the trail is only a mile long and offers an easy walk, it’s perfect for families and anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time but still wants to see the amazing views.

9. Parker Dam State Park

The 968-acre Parker Dam State Park offers a serene and tranquil escape into the wilderness. It’s a place where you can find some of the best hiking trails in Pennsylvania that begin or pass through the park before continuing into the surrounding Moshannon State Forest.

One of the standout trails here is the Beaver Dam Nature Trail. It’s a leisurely 2.2-mile total out-and-back trail that follows Mud Run through the park. This trail is family-friendly and ideal for those looking for a relaxed stroll through the woods.

If you’re interested in doing some backpacking, 1.25 miles of the 73-mile Quehanna Trail go through the park. This trail is known for its numerous vistas and for going through a wide variety of landscapes, such as open meadows, old growth forests, stream hollows, and high plateaus.

The Trail of New Giants is another unique option to consider. In the spring of 1985, one of the largest and strongest tornadoes to hit Pennsylvania roared through the park and destroyed a towering forest filled with oak, ash, beech, and sugar maple trees.

Today, the 1.2-mile Trail of New Giants cuts through this area so you can see how the forest is regenerating itself. There’s also a 1/4-mile spur trail that leads to two scenic vistas of the park and surrounding forest.

10. Bushkill Falls

Bushkill Falls is an enchanting spot in the Pocono Mountains nicknamed the “Niagara of Pennsylvania.” Although the falls are located on private property and you have to pay an admission to enter, the fee is worth it to see the waterfalls.

There are four color-coded trails in the park. The Green Trail is the easiest. It takes about 15 minutes to walk, and you’ll be able to see the Main Falls from this trail.

From the Yellow Trail, you can see the Main Falls, Lower Gorge Falls, Laurel Glen, and Upper Canyon. It takes about 45 minutes to complete. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to walk the Blue Trail and view the Pennell Falls.

Related: Beautiful Hikes in Upstate New York to Add to Your Bucket List

If you’re an avid hiker and want to make the most of your time at Bushkill Falls, you should do the Red Trail. While this trail covers almost 2 miles and will take you approximately 2 hours to complete, it includes views of all eight waterfalls.

No matter which trails you decide to tackle, you’ll navigate a network of wooden walkways and bridges that make the hikes accessible for hikers of all levels.

Keep in mind that Bushkill Falls can get quite busy, especially during the summer months. So, try to visit early in the day or during the week to beat the crowds.

The Best Hikes You Can Only Find in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is an absolute goldmine for hikers. From the rugged wilderness of Pine Creek Gorge to the serene beauty of Parker Dam State Park, and the waterfall wonderland of Bushkill Falls to the summit triumph of Mount Davis, this state offers a diverse range of hiking experiences that cater to all levels and interests.

As you check out these best hiking trails in Pennsylvania, always remember the essentials: sturdy boots, plenty of water, a sense of adventure, and a touch of respect for Mother Nature. Take your time, savor the moments, and leave no trace behind to ensure that these magnificent landscapes remain preserved for generations to come.

So, whether you’re a newbie eager to dip your toes into the hiking world or an experienced trekker seeking new challenges, Pennsylvania has a trail with your name on it. Lace up those boots, embrace the great outdoors, and let the beauty of the Keystone State inspire you to explore, discover, and experience the magic of hiking in Pennsylvania.

More Helpful Hiking Tips

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