There's more to Pennsylvania than the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, as the state offers hikers the chance to explore diverse terrains including mixed woodland forests, mountain ranges, and rocky outcroppings. To help you decide on some of the best hiking trails in the Keystone State, we've highlighted five based on recommendations from Trails.com and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – enjoy!
Appalachian Trail (PA Portion)
The Pennsylvania portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT) gives hikers a chance to see historic sites, fall foliage, trees in bloom, and hawk migrations as they traverse the long, flat, ridges that dominate the landscape. You can take day hikes of ranging difficulty through parts of southeastern Pennsylvania or complete the 229-mile portion of the AT in about a month.
The Lookout Trail to the North Lookout on Hawk Mountain, an internationally recognized sanctuary for migrating hawks, falcons, and eagles, is a mile long and rises 300 feet in elevation. From the rock overlook you'll enjoy clear panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and folded mountains, including the Dan's Pulpit, the Ridge-and-Valley Province, and the Kittatinny, as you keep an eye out for your favorite raptors.
Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail
The 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail spans five counties and is recognized as one of the best long-distance nature hikes in the state, offering views of wildflower meadows, sandstone and limestone outcroppings, the Youghiogheny River, and the Conemaugh Gorge. You'll find this trail, which is part of the larger Potomac Heritage Trail, accommodates hikers of all experience levels and travels through mixed woodlands of the Laurel Ridge State Park, which are known to be teeming with native wildlife.
The Susquehannock Trail System
The 85-mile loop through Clinton and Potter Counties called the Susquehannock Trail System is a series of 63 hiking trails through one of Pennsylvania's oldest forests. You'll pass through a 10-mile stretch of the state's largest wilderness, the Hammersley Wild Area, to get a glimpse of Pennsylvania's most secluded, untouched area.
Tohickon Valley Trail
Near Philadelphia is a great 7.3-mile hike called the Tohickon Valley Trail that passes through the High Rocks Area of Ralph Stover State Park and Tohickon Valley Park. You'll pass north canyon walls, overlooks, and access points of the Tohickon Creek and enjoy scenes of forest wildflowers or fall foliage, depending on the season