The trees have sprouted leaves, the songbirds are serenading, and the wildflowers are blooming – time to get out and enjoy nature’s beauty in Pennsylvania! With countless destinations from which to choose your next outdoor adventure, check out these moderate hiking trails perfect for those looking for a bit of a challenge and possibly a touch of rocky terrain.
1. Ridley Creek Full White Trail Loop
Length: 4 miles
Ridley Creek State Park has more than 2,600 acres of woodlands and meadows with Ridley Creek meandering right through the middle. There are both paved and unpaved trails suitable for walking, running, biking, and hiking. The Full White Trail Loop is a popular path for visitors who enjoy hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching. The park is a great place to get some fresh air any time of year!
2. Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area
Length: 3.1 miles
While the majority of Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) trails are for off-roading enthusiasts, there is also a 3.1-mile walking trail with exercise stations and scenic outlooks for moderate hikers. The trail is open to the public year-round and winds through the wooded campground and across bridges over the swales. A bench and picnic table at Sunset Ridge are perfect for an evening picnic with breath-taking views.
3. Ewing Park Nature Trail
Length: 4.3 miles
The Ewing Park Nature Trail is a 4.3-mile hike which meanders along the Connoquenessing Creek. There are plenty of covered benches along the way so you can rest, relax in solitude, and enjoy the sounds of rushing waters while reflecting upon the inspiring scenery.
4. Core Creek Park Trail
Length: 4.4 miles
The Core Creek Park Trail is a perfect choice for the moderate hiker! At 4.4 miles, the trail loops next to Lake Luxembourg and is surrounded by shady trees. Not feeling the hike or craving some more outdoor fun? The park also offers a tennis court, horseback riding, and If you want to get out on the water, boats are available for rental at Core Creek Park’s boathouse.
5. Grove Run Trail Linn Run State Park
Length: 4 miles
There are a few hiking trails at Linn Runn State Park, but the best for moderate hikers is the Grove Run Trail. This 4-mile loop starts with a gentle slope behind the Grove Run Picnic Area and becomes progressively steeper. With changing elevations, streams, rocks, leaves, mud, moss, and downed trees, you’ll experience various landscapes throughout the loop. You’ll may even spot some of the forest-dwelling creatures along the way.
6. West Park Nature Center Trail
Length: 3 miles
Don’t have time for a long hike? You can still get out and enjoy the outdoors at the West Park Nature Center. The nature center’s shorter, one-mile trail features an observation deck with a magical view of the wetlands, while the two-mile Park Harbor Trail is a single-track mountain bike/cross country running/hiking trail. Be sure to visit the wildlife sanctuary containing blue bird nesting boxes and an arboretum.
7. Blazing Star Trail & Prairie Loop Trail
Length: 5 miles
The Blazing Star Trail and Prairie Loop Trail intersect one another within the prairie at Jennings Environmental Education Center. Jennings features a unique combination of forest and prairie – the only protected prairie in Pennsylvania. While you can enjoy hiking their 5-mile trail system any time of year, be sure to visit in in late July and early August when the beautiful, thistle-like Blazing Star wildflower turns the prairie into a gorgeous purple vista.
8. Lehigh-New England Rail Trail
Length: 3 miles
The beautiful Lehigh and New England Trail is a flat, crushed stone trail along the former Lehigh and New England Railroad corridor. Ideal for biking, running, and even hiking with your pets, the trail features a lush tree canopy that separates the trail from nearby SR 309. Complete with mile markers, the trail combines the natural outdoors and railroad heritage of northeastern Pennsylvania with the remnants of the Shellhamer Ice Dam, a former recreation and entertainment complex that almost a century ago boasted a 70’x130’ public swimming pool with its unique 12-foot diameter circular water treadmill.
9. Ernst Trail
Length: 5 miles
Along the rail line of the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad Co., the Ernst Trail passes through the lush bottom lands of French Creek Valley. The 5-mile trail extends from the creek to a variety of landscapes and varied environments of meadow and marsh, hardwood stands and hemlock thickets – each its own, unique habitat. Along the trail, you can see glacial debris left from the last ice age. Be sure to keep your ears open for the call of bald eagles soaring nearby.
10. Greene River Trail
Length: 5.2 miles
A smooth and well-maintained rail-trail, the Greene River Trail parallels the Monongahela River, winding through the once booming coal mining region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Along the 5.2-mile trail you'll encounter many sweeping views of the mighty Monongahela River, glimpses of the beautiful nature and peaceful surroundings through stretches of woodlands, and remnants of Greene County's coal heritage. Bring your bikes or hiking shoes and enjoy a few hours in the great outdoors!
Soon to be known as the Trail State, find even more hiking trails in PA by checking out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.