Did you know that September is National Pennsylvania Trails Month? Wow, a whole month to celebrate the amazing trails in the beautiful state that I call home! I have traveled around the USA a bit and seen some lovely places, but I still think that Pennsylvania ranks at the top of the list for natural beauty.
September is an apt month to celebrate too since we should start seeing some autumn foliage toward the end of the month. We can also get in our last few warm weather activities before the trail is blanketed in snow.
PA has some amazing mountain biking. Allegheny National Forest-Brush Hollow XC Ski Trail has five starts for mountain biking on TrailLink. The 7.7 mile trail features a variety of surfaces such as dirt, grass, and gravel. This is not a groomed trail for those adventurers who are looking for that backwoods feeling. However, the trailhead on SR 948 does have parking and bathrooms. Some amenities you don’t want to leave behind.
If you want a shorter trail, visit Capoolong Creek Wildlife Management Area. This trail straddles the Pennsylvania and New Jersey border. This trail parallels the creek and also has a varied surface. Because this is a wildlife management area, you are likely to get a glimpse of deer, birds, and other forest animals. Trail access is not far off of I-78.
I’d be remiss in my duties as a good Pennsylvania to not mention Ricketts Glen State Park on a list of places to hike. In this 13,000 acre forest that covers three counties you will find no less than 22 named waterfalls. The sites are breathtaking.
There are two trails. The Falls Tail is 7.2 miles. It can be an intense hike, but I know lots of kids who have done it with no problem. But you can also see most of the falls on a shorter 3.2 mile hike by taking a few side trails making a shorter loop.
The great thing about most Rail Trails is that they are so multi-purpose. With gentle grades and good surfaces, they are usually perfect for walking or biking. The D&H Rail Trail boasts 38 miles of trails covering three counties. The largest trailhead is in Forest City featuring a paved parking lot, port-a-lavs, and wi-fi.
The D&H is a great trail for seeing bridges and vestiges of the old railroad along the trail. If you are into history, this trail has loads of heritage! There are signs with all the history along the way.
Most of us would probably be surprised to find that the rail trails system has many trails open to horseback riding. However, almost anywhere that you can do other trail activities, you can take your horse too.
The Allegheny River Trail is the top rated trail in Pennsylvania for horseback riding on TrailLink with five stars. The trail has 30 miles where you will see wildlife, cross bridges, and go through tunnels.
Three are several trail access points so you can choose where you would like to park and get on the trail. I’ve mentioned the TrailLink app a few times already. It is one of the best resources for rail trail information for the whole county. Just download the app or go to TrailLink.com.
So as summer gives way to fall here in Pennsylvania, don’t call it quits just yet on trail activities. There are still so many things to do before we get out the snowshoes, skis, and snowmobiles. Enjoy the autumn. In my opinion, this is prime trail time!