Top-Rated Hiking Trails in Pennsylvania: Thinking of hiking in the Keystone State? Hiking trails in Pennsylvania vary from beginner-friendly rail trails to rugged paths that make for multi-day treks.
The state is home to more than 120 state parks that offer varied terrain to explore.
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From walking amidst lush forests to going through river crossings and waterfalls, hiking in Pennsylvania offers a host of enchanting experiences.
Wondering where to begin your hiking adventure?
We’ve got you covered with our list of the 07 top-rated hiking trails in Pennsylvania: –
Montour Trail #1
Running for 63 miles, this flat trail offers the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate your senses amidst beautiful natural surroundings.
It traverses through Allegheny County and Washington County, Pennsylvania, and is ADA-accessible. You can walk, run or bike. Various outdoor events are also organized here frequently.
The trail connects Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. with its entire length being around 330 miles.
It’s also well-connected to several other trails. You can find multiple trailheads at short distances and various sections that are perfect for one-day hikes.
Heritage Rail Trail County Park #2
Explore the state’s rich past as you hike the 21-mile Heritage Rail Trail Country Park.
Stretching along an operating rail track, the trail allows hikers to witness seven historical railroad structures on the way. There are around 24 sections, making it easier for hikers to choose which part to explore.
Just get ‘The Trailblazer’ brochure from the York County Department of Parks and Recreation to familiarize yourself with the divisions and pick the area you’d like to explore.
You can also get on a tourism train that will take you for a fun 10-mile ride. The trail runs from York to Maryland’s border.
Kinzua Skywalk #3
Soak in breath-taking views of mountains, railroads, valleys, and historical sites from the 301-foot-tall Kinzua Bridge.
The Kinzua Viaduct was once the world’s tallest railroad structure. In 2003, a tornado damaged it.
Today, it draws many hikers and history buffs to take in the stunning views and learn more about the area’s intriguing past.
The walkway also features a glass bottom section at the end, which is sure to get your adrenaline up.
Schuylkill River Trail #4
Running for around 120 miles between Frackville in Schuylkill County to Pennsylvania, this multi-use trail allows hikers & bikers to explore numerous places of historical importance.
It’s named after the Schuylkill River, which has a rich history connected to the American, Industrial, and Environmental revolutions.
You’ll find a variety of landscapes here ranging from rural to suburban, industrial, and urban.
From sites used for quarrying limestone and iron ore to canal navigation, there are several historically significant places to explore along the way.
One of the popular sections for bikers is the 20-mile path to Hamburg and a beautiful seven-mile stretch to Auburn from there.
Appalachian Trail #5
This impressive Appalachian Trail runs for 2,190 miles, going through 14 states.
Its Pennsylvania section has 1,760 feet of elevation change and offers mesmerizing views while traversing through diverse terrain. It also features many historical landmarks.
If you’re a beginner, you can go for the Cumberland Valley section which has a relatively flat terrain.
If you’re a pro looking for adventure, go for the complete section that runs from Waynesboro northeast to the Delaware Water Gap.
Whether you’re looking for a single-day or multi-day trek, this scenic trail won’t disappoint. Keep in mind that it’s best not to go during early spring since the trail can get muddy due to heavy rainfall.
Standing Stone Trail #6
Enjoy an adrenaline-soaked adventure as you hike this beautiful trail that takes you through steep ridges and valleys in the central part of the state.
It runs for around 84 miles and is a part of the larger 1,600-mile Great Eastern Trail that stretches from Alabama to New York.
If you’re looking for a shorter hike, there are numerous sections of the trail that offer a thrilling experience.
One of the most popular sections is the 4.4-mile Stone Valley Vista Loop near Greenwood Furnace State Park which offers sublime views.
Hikers can easily identify the routes since all trails are marked in orange. However, owing to its challenging route, the trail is mostly preferred by experienced hikers.
Great Allegheny Passage #7
While this trail stretched for 156 miles from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, it offers various shorter hikes, suited to different skill levels.
From bridges to railroad tunnels, it has various interesting features.
It connects numerous towns, and you can pick the section that links specific towns of your choice for hiking.
It also traverses through the Ohiopyle State Park, offering hikers to explore the scenic area while enjoying a long hike within the park.
There are many trailheads, making it easier to get on and off the trail. This multi-use trail is also well-marked and draws cyclists and hikers alike.
So, get your hiking shoes out and get ready for an unforgettable trek in this beautiful state.
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Q. What are the different types of hiking trails in Pennsylvania?
There is a range of hiking trails in Pennsylvania including short hikes in state parks, beginner-friendly rail trails, and long hikes in state forest areas.
Q. What is the most popular and difficult trail in Pennsylvania?
Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge Overlook Trail is considered the most difficult and popular trail in Pennsylvania. This 5.3-mile long hike has an elevation gain of 301 meters and features various challenging sections that require scrambling.