Who says you can’t experience the great outdoors while living out your big city dreams? Pennsylvania’s urban trails are waiting, and it’s time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life on your next visit!
1. THREE RIVERS HERITAGE TRAIL
See Pittsburgh from an entirely new perspective while enjoying the great outdoors on the aptly named, 33-mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail system. With segments on both banks of each of the city’s three rivers, the trail offers great views of the city’s skyline and access to many of the major cultural venues, historical sites, and most well-known neighborhoods and parks.
Frontier Park is the perfect place to enjoy Erie’s great outdoors! Take a leisurely stroll or a brisk run along the park’s many trails. Join your pals for a friendly matchup on the soccer fields or tennis courts or soak up the scenery while volunteering and giving back to nature at the Lake Erie Arboretum.
3. JIM MAYER RIVERWALKS TRAIL
Enjoy stunning views of Johnstown’s Stonycreek River, Buttermilk Falls, and wildlife along the 3.1-mile Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail. This delightful, nearly level, well-groomed trail follows the river, offering the perfect, peaceful escape to the outdoors.
4. HOOVER-MASON TRESTLE
Experience one of the most unique rail trails you’re ever likely to find at the Hoover-Mason Trestle! Transformed into a 2,000-foot-long, 46-feet high park and pedestrian walkway, this former rail line once transported iron-making ingredients to the blast furnaces of Bethlehem Steel. Now, it provides an up-close view of the old steelworks.
5. GREATER READING TRAILS SYSTEM
Looking for some great biking? The Greater Reading Trails System (GRTS) has 125 miles of trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to some of the most technical trails anywhere. An International Mountain Biking Association Bronze Level Ride Center – a designation held by only 40 places worldwide – the GRTS is unique in its links to Reading’s urban center and all its amenities.
6. SCHUYLKILL RIVER TRAIL
Whether you’re looking for a brief respite from urban life or a longer excursion into the wonders of nature, the Schuylkill River Trail offers a welcome respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. When completed, the trail will span 120 miles from Pottsville to Philadelphia. This completed section traverses the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk and its four scenic overlooks and beautiful views of The City of Brotherly Love.
7. FAIRMOUNT PARK
With more than 2,000 acres of hills, gentle trails, woodlands, and landmarks, including the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Fairmount Water Works, and the Philadelphia Zoo, Fairmount Park provides a wonderful outdoor respite. The park has miles of trails with the Wissahickon Valley Park Trail (a.k.a., Forbidden Drive) traversing the entire length of the park.
8. JOHN HEINZ NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AT TINICUM
Escape from downtown Philadelphia to America’s first urban refuge – The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum! Strap on your walking shoes to explore more than 10 miles of trails or get out your canoe or kayak to paddle the 4.5-mile tidal segment of Darby Creek, which winds through the refuge and the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania.
9. NAY AUG PARK
While there’s a ton of fun to be had in Nay Aug Park – from swimming pools to the Everhart Museum, picnic areas, and playgrounds – the hiking trails through Nay Aug Gorge to the stunning Nay Aug Falls are a definite must! Another of the park’s must-see attractions is the David Wenzel Tree House – handicap accessible and providing stunning views of the gorge from 150 feet above!
10. FRICK PARK
Frick Park is known as Pittsburgh’s “woodland park” for good reason with 17 miles of trails throughout the park’s nearly 644 acres of steep valleys and wooded slopes! The Tranquil Trail is an easy 2.6 miles out and back experience between the northern and southern parts of the park. Looking for more of a challenge? Check out the 4.9-mile Frick Park Tour Loop Trail that features a great forest setting and is also a favorite of mountain bikers.
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.