Exploring the Best Hiking Trails in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one of the most popular states and has a lot to its credit. It’s the fifth most populous state and the sixth largest economy among all US states.

PA is also home to the nation’s first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo.

The state may be lagging when it comes to revolutionary new trends like the cannabis movement. As of May 2023, you can only access weed in the state if you’re a patient under the medical marijuana program.

Still, Pennsylvania has a lot to offer and should be on your bucket list, especially if you love the outdoors and everything that comes with it, like camping and hiking.

In this post, we explore some of the best hiking trails that will make you fall in love with Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Perkiomen Trail

Perkiomen Trail is a multi-use, year-round trail in Montgomery County that spans 20 miles. The trail is graveled, with some portions paved, making it one of the safest in the state for all users.

The trail has much to see, with abundant greenery providing a calm experience away from the urban areas. As a multi-use trail, Perkiomen can be busy with users of all ages hiking, biking, and on horseback.

You should see some wildlife, which isn’t abundant. But the Perkiomen Creek should make for a fantastic sight for taking photos. If you’re looking for an easy trail, not too wooded and suitable for family outings, this is it.

The Pinnacle Trail

The Pinnacle is a roughly 9-mile trail near Kempton, Pennsylvania. It’s a popular spot for hikers looking for rewarding scenery after a challenging climb.

The trail is a loop route on a section of the famous Appalachian Trail that offers stunning views, from forest cover to farmlands. As you climb the 1,300 ft elevation, you will spot wildlife, especially birds like golden eagles and woodpeckers.

The loop leads to two of the most popular outlooks in Pennsylvania: the Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock. For a solitary experience of the sweeping views these rocky outcrops offer, go hiking outside the peak months of May through October.

Great Shamokin Path

The path is an old rail trail in Armstrong County, stretching 3.5 miles. It runs parallel to Cowanshannock Creek, which makes for incredible views and offers an additional 1.2-mile-long Cowanshannock Trail for a longer hike.

Much of the trail is dirt and gravel, therefore not challenging to complete, and with plenty of tree cover and wildlife, you should have a rewarding experience.

Hibernia Park Rim Trail

Hibernia County Park is a large historic site in Chester County, PA, known for its large tracts of woodland and meadows. For a hiker, the Rim Trail is definitely something to take on.

While the Rim Trail is considered an easy hike regardless of your experience, the 2.2-mile stretch offers some pretty spectacular views of the wooded area, hillside, and creek.

The Rim Trail may not be much for a hardcore hiker, but the scenery would make for a memorable experience.

Schuylkill River

The Schuylkill River Trail is an exceptionally long multi-use trail stretching 120 miles from Schuylkill County to Philadelphia and cutting through Chester and Montgomery counties.

As a diverse trail, SRT offers various landscape settings, from rural to urban, with a good section of it graveled and paved.

The stretch offers a glimpse of southeastern Pennsylvania, allowing you to enjoy breathtaking greenery, rock formations, and the Schuylkill River views.

Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge

The Lehigh Gorge State Park in Weatherly, Pennsylvania, is famed for its challenging 3-mile loop trail. For an avid hiker, this is one of the best paths to take on in Pennsylvania, as the experience is rewarding.

Varying degrees of difficulty, from graveled selections to dirt and slippery rocks, make it ideal but strenuous.

While the terrain is rough, it’s quite rewarding as you will have your fair share of waterfalls and rapids to take photos of.

The scenic views of the dense tree canopies and Lehigh River are satisfying features as you make your way up the climb.

Final Thoughts

Pennsylvania has way more hiking trails than we can cover, from the longest Tuscarora Trail to the toughest, the Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge. Additionally, the diverse landscape makes the state’s trails worth a hiker’s time.