Pennsylvania rocks – genuinely! Our many unique and rocky destinations will make any outdoor adventurer or challenge seeker’s heart pump. This summer grab your hiking shoes and check out these 14 rocky spots.
1. Columcille Megalith Park
Located in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, Columcille Megalith Park is rooted in Celtic spirituality, providing an outdoor sanctuary for quiet meditation. The park offers more than 19 acres of paths to explore megalith (large stone) settings featuring a trilithon, a menhir, a dolmen, and a chapel, and bell tower of uncut stone. Set into the side of Blue Mountain and surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Upper Lehigh Valley, Columcille is perfect for side trips or day-long explorations.
2. Famous Reading Outdoors
With more than 20,000 acres to explore, this treasured off-roading destination offers miles and miles of Pennsylvania smiles. With ATV trails, off-roading, hunting/game lands, mountain biking trails, and off-road training, Famous Reading Outdoors is a perfect location for a rocky challenge! Afterwards, enjoy beautiful foliage at nearby Locust Lake and Tuscarora State Park, golfing at Mountain Valley Golf Course in Barnesville, or historical and geological adventure at Ashland’s Pioneer Tunnel & Coal Mine.
3. Beartown Rocks
Beartown Rocks with its massive boulders is “a rock city with a view” and the best kept secret of Clear Creek State Forest. With terrain created by glaciers, breathtaking scenic views, and miles of hiking trails, the park’s 1,900+ acres definitely rock! Enjoy hiking and fishing along the Clarion River and spend a night or two in one of the park’s rustic cabins or yurts after a day filled with outdoor adventures.
4. Umbrella Rocks
Formed by wind and water over millions of years, Umbrella Rocks is just one of the incredible and massive geological formations you’ll find in State Game Lands 44. After visiting this massive umbrella-shaped boulder, explore nearby Devils Den and its equally amazing rock formations, if you dare! Afterwards, be sure to stop by Ridgway and the Lily of the Valley National Historic Register District’s “Millionaires Row” with its 730 or so beautifully restored homes, businesses, and churches with many dating back to the mid-1800s.
5. Marilla Rocks
Outdoor adventurers looking for a bit of a rocky challenge, hike the Marilla Rock Trail, which features a spectacular rock city with enormous boulders and beautiful moss and ferns. Blue diamonds mark the trail, accessible from Rt. 346, that will lead you to the must-see stop. Afterwards, enjoy the scenic view and cool off by the 20-acre Marilla (Celtic for “Shining Sea”) Reservoir with its stone dam and spruce trees.
6. High Rocks
Up for an adrenaline-pumping adventure? The High Rocks Climbing Area at Ralph Stover State Park offers experienced rock climbers close to 100 climbing routes ranging from 30 to 150 feet in height and extending about ¾ mile. Or take a bit less heart-pounding hike to the High Rock Vista with its stunning views of the Tohickon Creek Gorge and surrounding forest. Afterwards, treat yourself to some delicious fare at the Plumsteadville Inn, OwowCow Creamery, Sand Castle Winery, or the Historic Piper Tavern.
7. Boulder Field
Relatively unchanged for more than 20,000 years with boulders as far as the eye can see, the Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park is a National Natural Landmark and State Park Natural Area. Jump from boulder to boulder, take amazing photos, and enjoy this natural, rocky formation. When your exploring is complete, go to downtown Jim Thorpe and stop by the Inn at Jim Thorpe, Marion Hose Bar, or Molly Maguire's Pub & Steakhouse for a meal that rocks!
8. Scripture Rocks Heritage Park
Over 100 years ago, Douglas M. Stahlman entered the forestland of nearby Brookville and began inscribing hundreds of rocks and boulders — some as small as a child’s wagon and others as large as a house — with biblical verses and inspirational words as part of his personal religious calling. Almost 70 of these engraved boulders can still be seen on a forested hillside in Scripture Rocks Heritage Park. Afterward, feel the warmth of a different spirit at nearby Blackbird Distillery for some moonshine made the primitive way — by hand, on site, with no machines from start to finish!
9. White Cliffs of Conoy
The White Cliffs of Conoy is a nod to the White Cliffs of Dover in England and a terrific option for those looking for a unique outdoor activity in the Harrisburg/Lancaster area. The cliffs are the result of a limestone quarry that once existed up the hill from the cliffs. Once pulled from the ground, the limestone and dolomite were crushed and burned to create a variety of products for local farms and businesses.
10. Birdsboro Climbing Quarry
For the truly adventurous, Birdsboro Climbing Quarry offers serious thrills. For more than 20 years, the abandoned quarry turned sport-climbing area has challenged climbers from New York to Virginia with nearly 150 routes ranging in difficulty from 5.0 to 5.14, including dozens of bolted sport routes, as well as multi-pitch slab climbs.
11. Oil Creek State Park
Geology fans, be sure to check out Oil Creek State Park with its abundance of natural geologic features, including waterfalls, boulder fields, and glacial deposits. Get an up-close view of large glacial boulders and some scenic views along the 1-mile Geology Trail. Be sure to explore the 0.25-mile Oil History Trail, 0.5-mile Blood Farm Interpretive Trail, and 0.5-mile Petroleum Centre Walking Tour to learn about PA’s early petroleum industry and the oil boomtowns, oil wells, and early transportation that briefly transformed this area into a thriving industrial center.
12. Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area
The Coal Township location says it all, the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area is an extensive, family-oriented off-road trail system in Central Pennsylvania. Riders of ATVs, SxS, dirt bikes, and full-size vehicles enjoy the diversity of the trail system on 8,000 acres of wooded land that provide many experiences to keep riders coming back for more.
13. Swatara State Park
Swatara State Park provides an excellent outdoor classroom illustrating how different types of rock can impact and determine an area’s geography. Download the park’s Trail of Geology Guide to learn the fascinating story of this area and how Swatara Gap, one of the most outstanding of Pennsylvania’s water gaps passing through the Blue Mountain, was formed. Visit the Swatara Gap and Suedberg Fossil Sites where you just might spy ancient marine fossils from hundreds of millions of years ago when this area was under the waters of an ancient sea.
14. BILGER’S ROCKS
With gorgeous rock carvings dating back to the Paleo-Indian time period, Bigler’s Rocks is a 300 million-year-old geological phenomenon, discreetly burrowed in central Pennsylvania’s mountainous region. As you explore this hidden world of mazes, paths, and caves that lead to these towering boulders, you will discover nearby forests and fields of wildflowers that have landed its designation as a Wild Plant Sanctuary by the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources.
To learn about more hiking adventures in Pennsylvania, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, 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.