At the beginning of the Fall season, we asked our Facebook and Instagram followers: Which Pennsylvania hiking trails are best for the fall?
Here’s what they said:
Standing Stone Trail
The Standing Stone Trail (SST) connects the Mid State and Tuscarora Trails and traverses the Blue Mountain and Seven Mountains Regions. The 76-mile trail is orange-blazed and maintained by Standing Stone Trail Club. The new name derives from a tradition among the Native Americans of what is now south-central Pennsylvania to maintain tribal genealogies on a “standing stone” displayed in each village, inspiring early settlers to use the term as a general name for the region.
Learn more: Standing Stone Trail Club
Mid State Trail
The Mid State Trail is known as the longest and wildest footpath in Pennsylvania. Over 500 kilometers in length, the Mid State Trail stretches from the Mason-Dixon Line meeting a path through Maryland’s Green Ridge State Forest, near the Buchanan State Forest and traverses through the center of the state to end at the New York State line just north of Cowanesque Lake meeting Crystal Hills Trail, a branch of NY’s longest footpath, Finger Lakes Trail. The Mid State Trail is broken into four distinct regions. Hiking from south to north you will pass through the Everett Region, State College Region, Woolrich Region and the Tioga Region. The system also features several lengthy side trails. The main route of the Mid State Trail is marked by 5-by-15-centimeter rectangular orange blazes.
Learn more: Mid State Trail Club
North Pocono Trails Association Crosscut & Lumberjack Trails
“With over 10 miles of hiking, biking and running trails, there is something for all levels. Enjoy the woodland trails and mountain streams within the beautiful northern Pocono Mountain region of PA.”
Learn more: North Pocono Trails
1000 Steps (Standing Stone Trail)
“A large historical sign, located at the base of the steps, indicates that this area was known as the "Silica Brick Capital of the World" because of the bricks made from the abundant Tuscarora sandstone found in these narrows. These manufactured bricks were very heat resistant and crucial parts in the major industries of the time including steel, iron, glass, and the railroad industries. Miles of dinkey railroad track was used to bring the silica down from the mountainside quarries and the workers would ride along up on the trains. Soon trucks began to replace some of the trains, so more and more workers had to make the climb instead of riding the trains to the quarries. In 1936 there was a flood the wiped out the bridge across the river to Mount Union and the brick factories, idling the workers. As the bridge was being replaced, the workers were set to a new task of building steps into the mountainside to make the climb up and back easier. Thus the Thousand Steps were formed.”
Learn More: PA Hike's 1000 Steps Article
Black Forest Trail
This spectacular long-distance loop trail leads through and above the west side of Pine Creek Gorge in the northwest corner of Lycoming County. This very rugged trail charges into and out of the chasm several times, with many very steep ascents and descents, before leveling out on top of the plateau around PA 44. The trail features many outstanding vistas in all directions, with views over Morris Run, Big Dam Hollow, Young Woman’s Creek, Baldwin Branch, Callahan Run, Naval Run, Little Slate Run, and Pine Creek. The Black Forest Trail system was constructed by the Bureau of Forestry.
Learn More: Black Forest Trail
Golden Eagle Trail
A rugged and very beautiful loop trail, with a short entrance trail, the Golden Eagle Trail starts in the east side of Pine Creek Gorge and features a strenuous climb to pristine mountaintop streams and several outstanding vistas.
Learn More: Golden Eagle Trail
Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (LHHT) is one of the finest natural trails in Pennsylvania. In winter, the trail supports cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, both of which can be combined with winter backpacking. Some portions of the trail, especially near the southern end, are quite rugged, and provisions have been made to keep the trail as primitive as possible. Hikers are also encouraged to create in-and-out day hikes on the trail, given its diverse character and scenery. In particular, wildflowers are widespread in the spring, and the views off the mountain are enhanced in the winter. The ridge provides several natural vistas overlooking the nearby valleys and a huge expanse of uninterrupted forest.
Learn More: Go Laurel Highlands
The scenic and challenging Loyalsock Trail (LT) runs roughly parallel to its namesake creek. The LT frequently climbs up and down ridges and mountaintops, passing many waterfalls, lakes, ponds, and historic places. The trail is known for its many fine vistas.
Learn More: Alpine Club of Williamsport
Ricketts Glen Falls Trail
“Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania. This large park is comprised of 13,193 acres in Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia counties. Ricketts Glen harbors the Glens Natural Area -- a National Natural Landmark. Hike the Falls Trail System to explore the glens, which boasts a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of 22 named waterfalls. Old growth timber and diverse wildlife add to the beauty.”
Learn More: DCNR
Hiking along backroads in Delaware and Maryland takes you past beautiful old homes, farms, and rural scenery. In York County, the river bluffs rise about 800 feet above the Susquehanna, providing spectacular views as well as aerobic exercise
Learn More: Mason-Dixon Trail Club
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Keystone Trails Association