Becoming one with nature, getting your cardio workout — it’s all just that much more pleasant in Upstate PA and the Pocono Mountains, where the outdoors is your instant friend. Whatever your mode of climb, be it boot or bike, many of the trails are near the water, with tons of between-trail activities like swimming and fishing. You’ll also discover plenty of peaceful country inns and resorts, scenic byways, pristine rivers and creeks, historical sites and a rich diversity of restaurants that make this an ideal place for a memorable vacation. It’s easy to extend this two-day road trip into something longer.
Start the morning at the Falls Trail in Ricketts Glen, which corrals 21 of the park’s 22 amazing waterfalls, including the 38-foot F.L. Ricketts bridal-veil waterfall and the 94-foot wedding-cake Ganoga Falls. Start your hike at Lake Jean, just a few miles from the park entrance and head down the well-groomed path towards the first set of falls. Be sure to take in the diverse wildlife from cranes to white-tail deer.
About an hour and a half away from Ricketts Glen is Lake Wallenpaupack. This man-made lake has some serious dimensions - covering 5,700 acres, stretching 13 miles long and containing 52 miles of uninterrupted shoreline, there’s plenty to do both on land and in the water. The lake has six recreation areas and features hiking, biking and walking trails, campsites and boat slips. Take note along the way of the incredible mix of trees including chestnut, oak, white pine and red maple.
There are plenty of trails ahead, so a stop here might be a good idea. Just grab some good socks, maybe a hat. In fact, go ahead and ask for a bit of help; the store only hires outdoors enthusiasts, so you can trust their recommendations on the best hiking and biking trails in the area. They’ll also tell you where to rent bikes and the difficulty of each trail, and provide maps that’ll keep you on all the right trails.
A short thirty-minute drive takes you to Bushkill Falls — a hiker’s dream. The gorgeous, noisy series of eight waterfalls — the Main Falls are 100 feet high — plays soundtrack to the network of trails and bridges that wind throughout the Pocono Mountains. These trails match all levels of difficulty, from the easy ambling of Green Trail to the more difficult two-hour Red Trail that passes all eight falls.