Pennsylvania is home to some of the most spectacular hiking trails on the East Coast. The Keystone State offers boundless options for adventure, regardless of your skill level.
If you’re looking to spend more time in nature, check out these exceptional & the best hiking in Pennsylvania for impressive views and memorable treks.
What Do Diverse Landscapes and Trails Across Pennsylvania Offer Hikers?
Hiking in Pennsylvania allows you to bask in the beauty and serenity of nature across various landscapes. Traversing over rolling hills blanketed with lush forests, strolling next to rivers and streams, and climbing to breathtaking vistas are some of the highlights.
Pennsylvania hiking encompasses a huge diversity of terrain, difficulty levels, and length, from leisurely 30-minute strolls over even paths to strenuous multi-day backpacking treks covering dozens of miles.
Multiple long-distance trails also run through the state, including the iconic Appalachian Trail and Loyalsock Trail.
With over 120 state parks featuring thousands of miles of trails, Pennsylvania is a top-tier hiking destination in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Best Hiking in Pennsylvania
While Pennsylvania has no shortage of exceptional hiking spots, a few stand above the rest for their breathtaking scenery, memorable settings, and diverse features that exemplify the best hiking in Pennsylvania. Here are four of the top hiking trails that need to be on your list.
Glen Onoko Falls Trail
Located in Lehigh Gorge State Park, the dramatic Glen Onoko Falls Trail showcases some of the most spectacular waterfalls not just in Pennsylvania, but the entire eastern U.S. This moderately challenging 7.5-mile loop navigates through sloping, rocky terrain surrounded by lush forest next to Bushkill Creek.
The highlight of this trail is the majestic waterfalls that appear around almost every bend, including the gorgeous 70-foot Glen Onoko Falls. Be prepared to climb plenty of wet, uneven stones along cascading waterways, and bring your camera to photograph these postcard-perfect natural attractions.
Golden Eagle Trail
Situated in the Tiadaghton State Forest, the Golden Eagle Trail is widely considered Pennsylvania’s most scenic vista hiking path. This 4.3-mile loop brings you to a breathtaking overlook 1,800 feet above sea level showcasing unobstructed panoramic views of mountain ridges blanketed in green stretching for miles into the distance.
The gradual uphill trail surface is relatively mild, making this view-centric hike perfect for most skill levels. For those up for a longer adventure, the 175-mile Old Loggers Path long-distance trail also passes through the overlook.
McCalls Dam Trail
Nestled along the Delaware River in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the moderately challenging 10.5-mile McCalls Dam loop serves up stunning riverside views.
Traverse over gently rolling hills through hardwood forests, passing remnants of old farmsteads and a rare glimpse of the former McCalls Dam site.
Several lookouts allow you to take in wide views of the sparkling Delaware River set against a backdrop of wooded ridges flushed in autumn colors. With over 70 miles of trails, the Delaware Water Gap area offers plenty more options for scenic Pennsylvania hiking along the river.
Stretching 60 miles through Loyalsock State Forest, this demanding trail is revered by experienced Pennsylvania hikers for its remoteness and incredible vistas.
The Loyalsock traverses thick woodlands over extremely rocky terrain past unique rock formations, crosses refreshing streams, and leads to breathtaking overlooks showcasing endless mountain ridges coated in green.
With its changing elevation covering various landscapes, the abundance of spring wildflowers, waterfalls, and peaceful solitude, the Loyalsock Trail exemplifies some of the most stunning and diverse Pennsylvania hiking.
Hiking in Pennsylvania with Waterfalls
From impressive networks of hiking trails running along rivers to spectacular standalone waterfalls tucked into valleys, Pennsylvania serves up bountiful opportunities to explore cascading waterways on foot.
Here are three top hiking destinations to discover some of the state’s most picturesque falling water attractions.
Ricketts Glen State Park
Home to the incredible Falls Trail system covering over 13 miles with 24 named waterfalls, Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the top spots for hiking in Pennsylvania with waterfalls.
The 7.2-mile Falls Loop allows you to experience many of the tallest falls in the park, including the stunning 94-foot Ganoga Falls.
Prepare to traverse slippery rocks and wooden bridges surrounded by lush ancient old-growth forests. With options from moderate to difficult in length and terrain, Ricketts Glen offers waterfall hikes suitable for varying abilities.
Known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”, Bushkill Falls is one of the most famous waterfall destinations in the state. Eight different falls cascade down into a forest glen along Bushkill Creek. Easy paved paths and wooden bridges make seeing these waterfalls accessible for most visitors.
For a more challenging option, take on the 8-mile moderate Loop Trail that navigates over steep, rocky terrain while passing by all the main falls in the park from new perspectives.
Ohiopyle State Park
Ohiopyle lies in the heart of the Laurel Highlands region along the gorgeous Youghiogheny River.
The popular moderately difficult Falls Trail passes directly by the park’s iconic 14-foot tall cascade, Ohiopyle Falls, allowing visitors to walk behind the curtain of water.
Several other shorter trails in the park also lead to lovely fall viewpoints. From family-friendly options to overnight backpacking trips, Ohiopyle offers stunning waterfall scenery paired with the state’s iconic rugged natural beauty.