Searching for a new hiking trail? Schuylkill County is less than an hour drive from Allentown or Reading and less than 2 hours from Philadelphia. This rural area is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy the scenic outdoors.
Hawk Mountain – Kempton, PA
Hawk Mountain is an excellent place to spend an afternoon. With 9 trails ranging from easy to difficult, Hawk Mountain offers a hiking experience for guests of all ages and abilities. Several trails lead to lookout points with breathtaking views and opportunities to spot raptors. The challenging and difficult trails are steep and lengthy. My husband and I take backpacks with snacks and drinks on difficult trails as they take several hours to complete. The Sunset Overlook Trail is my favorite; it leads to an amazing view of Schuylkill County. If you enjoy hiking and bird watching, I highly suggest becoming a member. A family membership is just $40 dollars for a year. It includes free trail admission all year around and it helps support trail maintenance, events, and studies conducted at the sanctuary.
Locust Lake State Park – Barnesville, PA
Locust Lake State Park has three hiking trails and a paved walkway. The easiest trail is under a mile and has trees and vegetation marked with educational signs. This is a great trail for families with young children. The most difficult trail is about 4 miles long. It guides hikers through the forest and ridge. I’ve hiked all three trails and found them to be maintained with well-marked blazes. In addition to the trails, there is a 1.3 mile paved walkway that loops around the lake. This walkway is great for walking, jogging, or biking. Pets are permitted on the walkway. The trails and walkway are free of charge to guests. Additionally, Locust Lake has tent and RV campsites, playgrounds, modern bathrooms, boat rentals, and a general store. Swimming, fishing, and boats are permitted seasonally. This is a great weekend getaway destination to enjoy the great outdoors.
Lehigh & New England Trail – Tamaqua, PA
Just short of three miles in length, this trail is an old railroad bed that has been converted into a crushed stone trail. The trail runs parallel to Route 309. This trail has mixed terrain, but is mostly flat. It’s perfect for walking or bike riding. My poodle and I walk this trail almost daily in the summer because it’s mostly shaded. Mile markers are posted throughout the trail in both directions. The trail passes by the former Shellhamer Ice Dam and educational signs are posted about the one-time recreational complex. Parking is available at the south entrance to the trail across from Stonehedge Gardens . After hiking the trail, stroll through the seven acres of gardens at Stonehedge; it is absolutely breath-taking.