When the snow flies, a whole new world of opportunity opens up outdoors. The summer crowds disperse and winter beauty abounds in state parks and forests, which remain open year-round. Schuss on in to enjoy the fields and forests, hills and lakes transformed by ice and snow.
Get your motors running on thousands of miles of roads, trails and fields open for snowmobiling in our state forests, state parks, state gamelands, federal forest lands and private facilities. Opportunities range from scenic trails through the woods, to wide-open spaces, to straightaway runs on closed-to-cars roadways. Most trails are open from mid-December to April 1, but dates and rules vary. Since it takes so much work to prep the trails for ideal riding, the PA State Snowmobiling Association offers Groomer Operator Training—a great way to meet other snowmobilers.
Cross-country skiing reigns at Laurel Ridge State Park, with wide-open groomed trails, warming huts and a ski touring concession. More experienced skiers might enjoy the backcountry trails, but this park is also a great choice for beginners. Several organizations offer lessons and group outings.
The completely flat Presque Isle State Park is a Nordic paradise, with summer time trails and beaches converted to pristine cross-country ski zones.
Combining sailing, ice skating and sledding, ice boating is the ideal winter sport for extreme recreation enthusiasts. Essentially sailboats with sled rails, iceboats glide across the frozen surface sailors call "hard water." The iceboats hold one or two sailors at a time and can glide up to 70 miles per hour on bare ice. Visitors can iceboat at Codorus, Beltzville and Presque Isle state parks.
Ice Fishing and Ice Skating
Our state's many lakes freeze up thick, so ice fishing enjoys a rich tradition. Formerly used to make consumer ice, Tobyhanna Lake at Tobyhanna State Park is a hot pick for ice fishing and ice skating.
Hills Creek State Park, nestled in the northeastern section of the PA Wilds, hides schools of yellow perch, bluegill and an occasional walleye under the ice, making it a prime spot for ice fishing.
Snowboarding and Skiing
For a mix of trails ranging from bunny to double black diamond slopes, beginners and experts head for Seven Springs. If you'd rather streak down the mountain on one board, or even grind a stair rail on twin-tip skis, head for one of Seven Springs’ seven terrain parks. Snowboarders and skiers flock to the wallrides and Olympic-sized half-pipe.
Whitetail Resort has a terrain park for acrobatic skiing/boarding as well, but is famous for its excellent snow tubing offerings. Book a tubing party or purchase 1-to-2-hour blocks of time for riders aged 2 to 92. The resort features a designated tubing hill for young children.
If you'd rather ride slowly through the winter wonderland, you can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Pocono Mountains. Pocono Country Carriages even put jingle bells on the horses.
Ever want to know what it's like to race a sled down a twisting, icy shoot? Check out the bobsledding or luge run at Blue Mountain Ski Area in the Pocono Mountains. The 2,000-foot-long course offers lessons, so you can start your path toward the Winter Games.
Show off your paintball skills all winter long at Skirmish USA, in Albrightsville. Challenge your friends to a game on one of 50 playing fields offering a variety of game types.