Get Back on the Trails This Spring
As much as we love the serene, snowy trails of winter, there’s nothing quite like those first spring hikes. Filled with chatter from squirrels and chipmunks and songs from birds in the budding trees, NEPA forests are coming back to life. You’re going to want to be there to witness it.
Get out of hibernation mode and explore rushing waterfalls and awe-inspiring vistas at some of NEPA’s favorite parks and preserves. From popular paths to hidden trails, we’ve rounded up a few must-do springtime adventures.
Spring Hiking Spots in NEPA:
Bear Creek Preserve
Bear Creek, PA
Between the spring songbirds and the scenic overlook, you’ll want to pack your binoculars for this hike. The preserve also boasts several waterfalls, which are even more magnificent after a spring rain shower.
Beltzville State Park
In the middle of the Pocono Mountains, Beltzville State Park is known for its picturesque scenery. The park’s 15 miles of trails provide views of historical sites, including remains of a gristmill and a slate quarry, and breathtaking waterfalls.
Big Wapwallopen Creek Trail
Wright Twp., PA
Take a quick, peaceful walk along this roadside trail. Scout out a fishing spot while you’re there, because the creek is a designated Class A Wild Trout Water.
Davis Crossing Preserve
The short, easy trails at this nature preserve are perfect for spotting wildlife. A viewing stand overlooks the pond, where you can watch the busy beavers and beautiful birds.
Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary
At nearly 600 acres, this historic property encompasses meadows, forests and ponds. Take one of their short, gentle walking trails, or connect them together to make a loop of the entire preserve.
Dunmore Reservoir #1 Nature Trail
This family-friendly trail will guide you along the peaceful shoreline of the reservoir, with views of Little Roaring Brook and the dam along the way. The trail is just a quick drive outside the city, but it offers all the peace and quiet of nature.
George and Lillian Picton Wildlife Preserve
Foster Twp., PA
North Branch Land Trust protects NEPA’s native species at this tranquil nature preserve. The two ponds and surrounding wetlands are perfect for watching turtles, frogs, salamanders, birds and more. Keep in mind: Picton North is appointment only, while Picton South is open to the public from dusk until dawn.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Late April and early May are the peak times for the spring raptor migration, where as many as 300 osprey, eagles and other birds of prey soar over Hawk Mountain. The North Lookout is one of the best places to watch, complete with a 70-mile view of the valley. Be sure to purchase a pass before hitting the trails.
Lake Ariel, PA
Discover the untamed beauty of the Northern Poconos at Lacawac Sanctuary. The wetlands, meadows, forests and ponds are home to plenty of interesting plants and animals. With trails varying in length and difficulty, this sanctuary has a trail for hikers of all ages and abilities.
Lackawanna State Park
North Abington Twp., PA
About 18 miles of trails will guide you through the forest and fields. Take the Lakeshore Trail for the best views of the water, or check out the flowing dam at the base of Frost Hollow Trail.
Locust Lake State Park
With three hiking trails of various lengths, visitors to this state park are sure to find their perfect path. No matter which you choose, each has its own unique views of the park’s beautiful streams and forests.
Hike the 2.8-mile trail along the riverbank at this relaxing property. Keep an eye out for wildlife, because the Pennsylvania Audubon Society has designated the Riverlands as an “important bird area.”
Promised Land State Park
For a twist on traditional hiking, Conservation Island in the center of Promised Land Lake features a 1.2-mile trail. Birdwatchers, keep an eye out for the park’s famous bald eagles who call the park home.
Ricketts Glen State Park
When all 22 waterfalls are roaring from rain showers, it’s time to hit the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen. To explore off the beaten path, check out the vistas on the Valley View and Grand View trails before the leaves grow in. Note: the Glen Lehigh side of the trail is closed, meaning a full loop hike is not currently possible.
Salt Springs State Park
Take a refreshing walk by the water on the Gorge Trail or Fall Brook Trail. Additional trails will lead you through the rustic farmland and dense forests of the Endless Mountains.
Sugar Notch Ridgetop Trail
Hanover Twp., PA
This three-mile, out-and-back trail follows the ridgeline of Wilkes-Barre Mountain. The route is fairly easy and includes an old railroad bridge and an overlook of the Wyoming Valley below.
Thomas Darling Preserve
Explore the marshes at this 2,500-acre preserve in the Poconos. The 2.2-mile trail winds through some of Pennsylvania’s largest spruce forests. Don’t worry—the boardwalks will keep you high and dry during the hike.
Tuscarora State Park
This 1,618-acre park contains miles of trails across many habitats. Various species live throughout Tuscarora’s forests and meadows, so be sure to keep your eyes open for furry and feathery friends.
Article Updated from its Original Version Published on 04/07/2021.