Lace Up Your Snow Boots & Start 2022 Off on the Right Foot
The New Year is all about fresh starts, and there’s no better way to celebrate than spending the day outside in the brisk mountain air. NEPA’s hiking trails are stunning all year round, but the snowy, tranquil forests are even more peaceful and picturesque in the winter. And while everyone else is holed up indoors, you often have the whole trail to yourself.
Hiking has become a New Year’s tradition thanks to “First Day Hikes,” a program where state parks across America lead guided hikes on January 1. Several NEPA parks are hosting First Day events to welcome 2022.
Guided First Day Hikes:
Lackawanna State Park
January 1 at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. & 2 p.m.
Lackawanna State Park is hosting three hikes for all levels. The early bird hike at 9 a.m. will guide you on a 2.5-mile loop through the park and Quarry Ridge Preserve. The 1 p.m. session features a half-mile kids hike on the Pine Trail. Then at 2 p.m., join for a gentle, paved walk at the Day Use Area.
Nescopeck State Park
January 1 at 9 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Nescopeck State Park in Drums will host a moderate two-mile hike on the Nescopeck, Red Rock and Woodland Way trails. You’ll pass the beaver pond and Nescopeck Creek along the way. Two sessions are available, and registration is required.
Or Embark on Your Own Adventure
If you can’t make it to an event, you can still take a hike at any of our local parks, nature preserves or trails. Just make sure to bundle up, check the trail conditions and pack the appropriate gear before heading out.
Put on a that huge, puffy parka, because the snowy views are definitely worth braving the chilly weather. From mountaintop vistas to family-friendly walks, we put together a list of awe-inspiring winter hiking spots.
NEPA Winter Hikes:
Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area
This nature preserve features three pristine hiking trails. Take the shorter Pine Trail for an easy stroll through the Pocono forests, or explore the Highland Trail and Creek Trail for views of Tobyhanna Falls.
The D&H Rail-Trail stretches 38 miles from Simpson to the New York border. Named Pennsylvania’s 2021 Trail of the Year, this quiet, gentle trail is perfect for winter walks, or even cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Dick & Nancy Eales Preserve
The Eales Preserve spans 2,250 acres along the top of Moosic Mountain. In the winter, the trails guide you through the wild, secluded beauty of the heath barrens and offer sweeping views of the Valley.
Frances Slocum State Park
Under a thick blanket of snow, this state park becomes a winter wonderland. Follow the Lakeshore Trail for views along the water, or discover the endless rows of towering evergreens on the Larch Tree Trail.
Francis E. Walter Dam
White Haven, PA
Hiking trails surround this 80-acre reservoir, which serves as a water source for the Lehigh River. Take a winter walk along the creek and climb to the top of the vista for a view of the rolling Pocono Mountains.
Gouldsboro State Park
Enjoy the sound of snow crunching beneath your boots at Gouldsboro State Park. The Old Route 611 Trail is flat and wide for a relaxing walk through the snow.
Hickory Run State Park
White Haven, PA
With 44 miles of trails, this park offers so much to explore. Try the easy Hickory Run Trail through the frozen fields and forests, or take on the more challenging Fireline Trail, which leads you to an overlook of the Lehigh River.
Lake Scranton Walking Trail
This smooth, easy trail will take you on a 3.5-mile loop around the lake. Located just a few minutes from downtown Scranton, it’s a convenient spot to spend a quiet afternoon reconnecting with nature.
Lehigh Gorge Trail
White Haven, PA
The Lehigh Gorge Trail stretches 26 miles along the Lehigh River from White Haven to Jim Thorpe. This rail trail has a smooth, gentle grade with historic ruins, rushing waterfalls and dense Pocono forests along the way.
Mauch Chunk Lake Park
Jim Thorpe, PA
Mauch Chunk Lake is a go-to spot during summer vacation, but the winter is just as awe-inspiring. The park is nestled along the mountain ridge with trails all around the shore and dam.
Promised Land State Park
Between Promised Land and the surrounding Delaware State Forest, there’s over 50 miles of trails to explore. Take a loop around the Conservation Island Nature Trail or enjoy an short and simple waterfall hike on the Little Falls Trail.
Thomas Darling Preserve
The 2,500-acre Thomas Darling Preserve is home to one of Pennsylvania’s largest native spruce forests. Take the loop trail to see the rich evergreen groves and frosty wetlands.
Article Updated from its Original Version Published on 12/30/2020.