Pennsylvania's 20 Most Popular State Park Hiking Trails

Ricketts Glen State Park
Ricketts Glen State Park

Pennsylvania is home to a diverse range of hiking trails, catering to hikers of all skill levels. These trails meander through lush forests, pristine lakes and streams, and offer breathtaking vistas of the Keystone state's natural beauty. Whether you're seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging backpacking adventure, Pennsylvania's hiking trails provide opportunities to connect with nature, spot wildlife, and appreciate the rich landscapes and outdoor heritage of the state.

1. Ricketts Glen State Park - Falls Trail

Ricketts Glen State Park's Falls Trail is a must-visit for waterfall enthusiasts. This captivating 7.2-mile loop takes hikers on a journey past 21 breathtaking waterfalls, some of which plunge over 90 feet. As you wind through lush woodlands, the trail immerses you in the beauty of cascading waters and vibrant rhododendron thickets, making it a picturesque and invigorating experience.

2. Ohiopyle State Park - Ferncliff Peninsula Trail

The Ferncliff Peninsula Trail in Ohiopyle State Park is a delightful 1.6-mile loop that follows the Youghiogheny River, offering stunning river views and the chance to explore fascinating rock formations. Hikers of all levels will appreciate its scenic beauty and accessibility, making it a favorite for those seeking a tranquil and picturesque hike.

3. Delaware Canal State Park - Delaware Canal Towpath

The Delaware Canal Towpath in Delaware Canal State Park spans an impressive 60 miles, inviting hikers and bikers to traverse the historic Delaware Canal. Along the way, you'll pass charming canal towns and gain insights into Pennsylvania's industrial heritage. This trail offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration.

4. Pine Grove Furnace State Park - Pole Steeple Trail

Pine Grove Furnace State Park's Pole Steeple Trail may be short, at just 0.75 miles, but it packs a punch in terms of natural beauty. The trail leads to a rocky overlook that rewards hikers with sweeping views, including a serene vista of Laurel Lake below. It's a perfect choice for those seeking a brief yet exhilarating hike.

5. Hickory Run State Park - Boulder Field Trail

Hickory Run State Park is home to a natural wonder, and the Boulder Field Trail allows visitors to explore this unique landscape. The trail leads to a massive area of glacially deposited boulders, creating a fascinating and otherworldly terrain that you won't find elsewhere in the state.

6. Raccoon Creek State Park - Wildflower Reserve Trail

Raccoon Creek State Park's Wildflower Reserve Trail is a tranquil 1.5-mile loop that immerses hikers in a botanical wonderland. Wildflowers and native plants flourish in this serene woodland setting, offering a peaceful escape and opportunities for nature enthusiasts to appreciate the park's diverse flora.

7. French Creek State Park - Scotts Run Lake Trail

The Scotts Run Lake Trail in French Creek State Park is a delightful 1.5-mile loop that encircles the picturesque Scotts Run Lake. This leisurely hike provides opportunities for birdwatching, picnicking by the water's edge, and a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature.

8. Cook Forest State Park - Seneca Trail

Cook Forest State Park's Seneca Trail is a family-friendly 1.3-mile hike that winds through a magnificent old-growth hemlock forest. Towering trees and lush surroundings create a serene atmosphere, making it an ideal hike for those looking to connect with Pennsylvania's natural heritage.

9. Colton Point State Park - Turkey Path Trail

Colton Point State Park's Turkey Path Trail is a thrilling 1.8-mile descent into the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, where hikers are rewarded with awe-inspiring views of Pine Creek Gorge and the park's unique rock formations. The trail combines challenging terrain with the opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of this natural wonder.

10. Presque Isle State Park - Gull Point Trail

The Gull Point Trail in Presque Isle State Park is a delightful 1.5-mile loop that guides hikers through diverse ecosystems, including sandy beaches, wetlands, and woodlands. This trail offers excellent birdwatching opportunities and provides a serene escape within the park's coastal environment.

11. Worlds End State Park - Loyalsock Trail

Worlds End State Park serves as a gateway to the extensive Loyalsock Trail, which beckons backpackers to explore rugged woodlands, pristine streams, and scenic vistas. With its challenging terrain and breathtaking landscapes, this trail is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts seeking an adventurous journey.

12. Kinney Run Trail - Ole Bull State Park

Ole Bull State Park's Kinney Run Trail is a peaceful 1.5-mile loop that meanders through a serene forested setting, following the course of Kinney Run. Hikers can enjoy the soothing sounds of the creek and find moments of solitude in this tranquil woodland escape.

13. Swatara State Park - Swatara Rail-Trail

Swatara State Park's Swatara Rail-Trail offers a 10-mile adventure through picturesque landscapes and cultural heritage along a historic railroad corridor. Whether you prefer hiking or biking, this trail provides opportunities to explore the region's scenic beauty and history.

14. Promised Land State Park - Bruce Lake Trail

Promised Land State Park's Bruce Lake Trail is a picturesque 3.5-mile loop around serene Bruce Lake. Hikers can take in the tranquility of the forest, indulge in picnicking by the lake, and even try their hand at fishing in this idyllic natural setting.

15. Mount Pisgah State Park - Mount Pisgah Trail

The Mount Pisgah Trail in Mount Pisgah State Park is a moderately challenging 1.5-mile hike leading to the summit, where panoramic views of the Endless Mountains region await. This trail offers a rewarding experience for hikers seeking scenic vistas and a sense of accomplishment.

16. Little Buffalo State Park - Little Buffalo Loop Trail

The Little Buffalo Loop Trail in Little Buffalo State Park encompasses Holman Lake, offering picturesque lake views and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. With its serene surroundings, this 3.3-mile circuit is an ideal escape for nature enthusiasts.

17. Moraine State Park - North Country Trail

Moraine State Park features a section of the North Country Trail, allowing hikers to explore miles of scenic woodlands, diverse ecosystems, and the park's serene lakeside beauty. This trail provides a taste of the vast network of the North Country Trail and its immersive outdoor experiences.

18. Cherry Springs State Park - Cherry Springs Vista Trail

Cherry Springs State Park's Cherry Springs Vista Trail is a short but incredible 0.5-mile hike to an overlook offering unparalleled views of the night sky. As a premier stargazing destination, this trail allows visitors to marvel at the celestial wonders above, creating a unique and awe-inspiring experience.

19. Sizerville State Park - Sizerville Nature Trail

The Sizerville Nature Trail in Sizerville State Park is a leisurely 1.5-mile loop that guides hikers through lush woodlands and along the serene Sizerville Creek. It provides a peaceful escape in the heart of Pennsylvania's Elk Country, offering moments of solitude and relaxation in a beautiful natural setting.

20. Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center - Henry's Woods Loop Trail

Henry's Woods Loop Trail in Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center is a 2.1-mile circuit that leads hikers through scenic woodlands and past historic remnants. It offers a peaceful escape in the Lehigh Valley, allowing visitors to connect with nature while exploring the park's rich cultural heritage.

These 20 state park trails in Pennsylvania encompass a wide range of natural beauty and outdoor experiences, from waterfalls and rock formations to serene lakes and old-growth forests. Whether you're an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat in the heart of Pennsylvania's stunning landscapes, these trails have something to offer every outdoor adventurer.