Best 7 Hiking Trails in Pennsylvania

What are the best hiking trails in Pennsylvania

Hiking is an excellent way to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression; and improve your memory. The smells, sounds, and sights of mother nature, together with the relaxing sensation of snow or dirt grinding under your canyoneering shoes, are worth the effort. Even so, what are the best hiking trails in Pennsylvania?

With over 2000 trails and 121 state parks within Pennsylvania, there are many trails to choose from.  Here are the best hiking trails in PA.

  • The Appalachian Trail
  • The Montour Trail
  • Turkey Path Trail
  • Kinzua Skywalk
  • Hawk Mountain Lookout Trail
  • Thousand Steps Trails
  • Trails at Bushkill Falls

In this post, we’ll tell you about the best hiking trails in PA.  We’ll also cover which ones are best for hiking, leisurely walk or site seeing.  Keep reading, as you’re definitely not going to want to miss this!

Best Seven Hiking Trails in Pennsylvania

Here are the best seven hiking trails in Pennsylvania.

1. The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is the longest footpath set aside for hiking only in the world. Its length is about 2 190 miles, roughly. It covers fourteen US states, starting from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Maine. In Pennsylvania, it covers 369 kilometers (229 miles).

Most of the trail in Pennsylvania contains ridges but also features flat and rocky arteries. You can take a leisure walk along the southern part as it is the easiest part of the trail, but the northern parts bestow tricky descents.

The most challenging part of the trail comprises what we describe as rocks upon rocks. Hikers use their hands for a long time when climbing. They also have to make dangerous leaps and hops, so it’s not suitable for people who fear heights and are not physically fit.

Check Out Our Hiking Equipment Guide for Beginners before you hit the trails in Pennsylvania! 

2. The Montour Trail

Montour trail is the nation’s tardiest sub-urban rail trail.  Its main line measures forty-seven miles, but its branches extend its length to above sixty miles. The reasonably smooth course extends from Coraopolis to Clairton.

The trail is excellent for:

  • Cross -country skiing,
  • Running,
  • Dog walking
  • Bicycling

You can encounter raspy, washouts, and troughs spots. Litter left behind brings about a filthy and unattractive mess.  Following heavy rains and the winter thaw, the trails’ terrain may be soft, affecting bike handling. You’ll come across downed trees all year round.

3. The Kinzua Skywalk

Built-in May 1882, the Kinzua skywalk presents a passageway with a set of railway lanes leading to the bypass’s end. Measuring 2,503 feet long and 301 feet high,  it was once the longest and highest bridge globally.  Although a tornado destroyed the 339- acre bridge in McKean County, the government reinvented it in 2011 as a pedestrian walkway.

Visitors wander 600 feet out on the existing support towers, and peep many miles out into the Kinzua valley, and peer down through the attached glass platform at the end of the bridge. Picnicking and trail opportunities are accessible.

If you choose to go near the bridge’s wreckage, exercise utmost caution. You can encounter sharp rusty metal, and you may be severely injured.


4. Turkey Path Trail

Measuring 1.7 miles, Turkey path is a significantly trafficked back and long trail situated close to Gaines, Pennsylvania. It features a waterfall and is moderately rated. The course is friendly to kids. The activities you can do are:

  • Nature trips
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Bird watching
  • Forest river views
  • Foliage viewing around March and October

The track has two waterfalls that you can stop at and hang around, particularly during summer. You will come across the Pine Creek Gorge at the bottom of the trail. Here you can regroup and relax before trekking back up the trail. During Autumn, the leaves’ colors are phenomenal.

You’ll be taking a 1.7 miles trip down to the bottom of the valley and back up again. The trail can be a bit steep, and you’ll encounter rocky topography and can be slippery.

5. Hawk Mountain Lookout Trail

Hawk Mountain Lookout trail is 3. 1 Km long and back pathway nearby Kempton Pennsylvania. It’s heavily trafficked and is friendly to kids.

It presents several activity choices and is accessible throughout the year.

The activities you can do are:

  • Hiking
  • Taking Nature trips
  • Walking
  • Bird Watching
  • Running
  • Forest View
  • Watching wildlife and wildflowers

Adults must pay $10 while kids pay $6 to access the trail.  Some trails can be rocky and rough. Also, there are many unmarked trails, so be cautious and follow the red blazes.

6. Thousand Steps Trails

A thousand steps is a 2.4 Km long and back pathway situated near Millcreek. It is heavily trafficked and presents a river. It’s moderately rated.

You can go with your dog, but you must keep it on a leash.  The activities you can engage in are:

  • Running
  • Nature trips
  • Hiking
  • Rock climbing

Climbing up the 1,000 steps is challenging. Prepare yourself well by carrying a lot of water and snacks. Ensure you are wearing comfortable and robust hiking boots.

7. Trails at Bushkill Falls

The 1.4 mile Bushkill trail is a heavily trafficked arc trail situated close to Bushkill, Pennsylvania. The track is moderately rated and presents a waterfall. It’s accessible throughout the year.

You can do activities such as

  • Nature trips
  • Hiking
  • Walking

You can bring your dog with you, but you must keep it on the leash always. Some trails, such as the red trail, is an extreme challenge. The paths are slippery and rocky, and incorrectly marked. The seven steps leading up the mountain are very steep, and the handrails are unsteady and unsafe. You can easily fall down the hill to your death.

Hiking Trails in Pennsylvania Summary

That’s it! These are the best hiking trails in Pennsylvania that you can try visiting at least once in your lifetime.  Hiking can make you happy because nature is your habitat. Nothing can give you serenity, quietness, and peace, like being closed off to the crazy world in a mountainside tarn or a valley.

When Hiking, you see things that you didn’t know were achievable. You can see a waterfall that flows upstream because the wind is so mighty. You can even see icicles that are bigger than humans.

Only when hiking can you stand on top of cloudless mountains and have a 360-degree view.  You are actually on top of the world. Hiking pushes you beyond your limits. Though there’s a price to pay,  the memories will stay with you for a lifetime.

Need Help Preparing for a Hike or Backpacking Trip?

Check out our Hiking Equipment Guide for Beginners.  It’s a complete list of gear that every beginner should have!

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Lee G.

I love the outdoors! Everything from hiking, climbing, rappelling, and caving.

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