Whether you’re up for a trek through a crystalline cave, a stunning waterfall hike, or a walk through a forest, Pennsylvania is home to many of the best and most sought-after outdoor landscapes.
With so much natural beauty, it's not surprising that one of Pennsylvania's many hiking trails made it onto Travel + Leisure's list of the Most Beautiful Places in Each U.S. State. The list included treks through canyons in Arizona, shorelines in New England, and a Pennsylvania hike that passes by some of the state's most scenic beauty, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
From the south, the Appalachian Trail begins in Pennsylvania near Pen Mar in Franklin County and proceeds northward for about 85 miles before crossing the Susquehanna River north of Harrisburg. From there, the trail heads east toward New Jersey, leaving Pennsylvania near the Delaware Water Gap. The trail actually runs through much of the eastern United States, however, the portion that's located in Pennsylvania plays an important role in showcasing America’s heritage and landscape, passing historic landmarks and ascending to incredibly scenic heights along Kittatinny Ridge and Mount Minsi.
The Appalachian Trail, commonly shortened to the A.T., is famed for its rocky terrain, especially on the long, flat ridges north of the Susquehanna River. The southern part of the state offers some of the gentlest and easiest to navigate pathways of the entire A.T., which can be found in the Cumberland Valley.
Additional highlights are the Appalachian Trail Museum in Pine Grove State Park, a historic building that's dedicated to honoring people who have made exceptional and positive contributions to the Appalachian Trail over the years.
If you want some truly unforgettable views, head to the Mt. Minsi Trailhead in the Delaware Water Gap. This route will take you past waterfalls, rock tunnels, and the gorgeous Lake Lenape before leading you to the top of the mountain where you'll be able to take in sweeping views of the Delaware Water Gap area and Mount Tammany.
This trail loop is 5 miles in total length and is generally considered a moderately challenging route making it rigorous yet rewarding for all skillsets. If you hike only one trail in Pennsylvania, make it this one.