Brrrr….don’t let the chill of winter have you burrito-bound in your house this season. Get outside and experience thrilling and adventurous winter activities in PA’s greater-than-great state and national parks.
1. Greenwood Furnace State Park
On Jan. 21, dive (literally) into Greenwood Furnace State Park during Snowfest and Polar Plunge. At the park’s Annual Snow Fest, the brave bolt in and out of the lake for charity. Other activities include a trail run, ice skating, broomball, snowshoeing, a Visit with Smokey Bear, Music by Matt Marsden & Friends, a bonfire on the beach, and educational programs.
2. Little Buffalo State Park
Enjoy thousands of lights and educational displays located along a quarter mile trail during Light Up Little Buffalo! Meet Santa, cook marshmallows over an open fire, and support the local 4H club with purchases of delicious hot chocolate and cookies, select nights Dec. 17-23. In the spirit of the season, you might want to make a donation to help restore the park’s historic train car so it can once again be a fun addition to Little Buffalo State Park’s holiday trail.
3. Valley Forge National Historical Park
King of Prussia
On Dec. 17, celebrate General George Washington’s historic “March In” at Valley Forge National Historical Park. This event ensures a fun day filled with special activities. Then on Christmas Day, relive history with the annual reenactment of George Washington’s daring Delaware River Crossing (weather permitting).
4. Prince Gallitzin State Park
For a royally good time there’s Prince Gallitzin State Park which offers 20 miles of marked snowmobile trails, seven miles for cross-country skiing, and ice fishing on the 1,635-acre Glendale Lake.
5. Hills Creek State Park
Who doesn’t love a winter festival? Join in the family fun at the Hills Creek State Park for their annual Winterfest on Jan. 21. Experience XC skiing, try your hand at snowshoeing, ice skating, and ice fishing. There will be guided hikes and snowshoe excursions as well as sledding and kids crafts for the little ones. Free hot chocolate and hots dogs will be available. Don’t forget to bring your sled!
6. Allegheny National Forest & Kinzua Bridge State Park
Bradford & Mount Jewett
Enjoy the refreshing cool winter air while exploring the Allegheny National Forest. Strap on your cross-country skiis, grab your sturdy boots to go winter hiking, or rev your snowmobile along the Knox and Kane Trail at nearby Kinzua Bridge State Park.
7. Lehigh Gorge State Park
Snowmobile your way through a 15-mile stretch of the scenic Lehigh Gorge Trail while you’re exploring the Lehigh Gorge State Park! Near the west side of the Lehigh River, you’ll catch the stunning views when you go cross-country skiing between White Haven and Glen Onoko.
8. Beltzville State Park
Beltzville State Park is a well-known destination for boaters and anglers, but come wintertime, it becomes an excellent place for ice fishing too! The 949-acre Beltzville Lake is stocked with warm-water and cold-water game fish and panfish. Common species include trout, bass, walleye, and perch. The park also has many open, rolling fields and nine miles of trails suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
9. Moraine State Park
At Moraine State Park, visitors can enjoy activities such as sledding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and hiking. On New Year’s Day, kick off 2023 with the First Day Hike. Then on Feb. 4 enjoy the Winterfest celebration which includes snowy and cold weather activities, demonstrations, entertainment and vendors.
10. Presque Isle State Park
In the winter Presque Isle State Park features impressive dunes formed by ice from the lake accumulating onshore and freezing together. There's also cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and wind skating. A walk along the beach may treat you to some animal footprints you can follow.
11. Ohiopyle State Park
Prepare yourself for a 100-yard hike on the Great Gorge Trail to the 30-foot tall Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park. Hit the trail to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing or make your way to the Sugarloaf Snowmobile and Mountain Bike area to go sledding. No matter what you decide, embrace the crisp air and take a winter hike to experience gorgeous views.
12. Ricketts Glen State Park
Experience a winter weekend at Ricketts Glen State Park in one of the park’s modern cabins. While you’re there, plan to snowmobile, cross-country ski, or snowshoe. During the winter, the 94-foot Ganoga Falls freezes and forms a castle of ice flows and icicles. Take some precaution because the Falls trail is only open to the most experienced ice climbers and hikers with required ice gear in the winter.
To find even more winter fun in Pennsylvania, check out the visitPA website. If you are interested in finding more winter activities in our state parks, visit the DCNR Story Map for more ideas. 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.