Pennsylvania is a state that effortlessly combines natural beauty with adventure, and one of its crown jewels is Lehigh Gorge State Park. Nestled in the scenic Pocono Mountains, this park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. From thrilling activities to serene landscapes, here are some fun things to do in PA, with a special focus on the spectacular Lehigh Gorge State Park.

1. Hiking Through Scenic Trails

Lehigh Gorge State Park offers a network of trails that cater to all levels of hikers, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers.

Lehigh Gorge Trail: This 26-mile trail follows the old railroad bed along the Lehigh River. The trail is relatively flat and well-maintained, making it ideal for hiking and biking. As you traverse the trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the river, waterfalls, and dense forests.

Glen Onoko Falls Trail: Although currently closed due to safety concerns, this trail has been a favorite for its challenging terrain and rewarding views of the cascading Glen Onoko Falls. Check for updates on its status, as the beauty of the falls is truly worth the hike.

2. Thrilling Whitewater Rafting

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River is a must. The river’s rapids, ranging from Class I to Class III, provide an exhilarating experience for both beginners and seasoned rafters. Several local outfitters offer guided rafting trips, ensuring a safe and exciting adventure on the water.

3. Cycling Adventures

The Lehigh Gorge Trail is not just for hikers; it’s also a fantastic route for cyclists. The gentle grade and smooth surface make it accessible for riders of all skill levels. Bike rentals and shuttle services are available in nearby Jim Thorpe, making it easy to plan a day of cycling through the park’s stunning scenery.

4. Scenic Train Rides

If you prefer a more relaxed way to enjoy the park’s beauty, consider taking a scenic train ride. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway offers rides that wind through the heart of the park, providing spectacular views of the river, cliffs, and lush forests. This is a perfect activity for families and those who want to take in the scenery without the physical exertion of hiking or biking.

5. Picnicking and Relaxation

Lehigh Gorge State Park is dotted with numerous picnic areas, offering a peaceful setting to enjoy a meal amidst nature. Pack a picnic and choose a spot along the river or near one of the park’s scenic viewpoints. The serene environment makes it an ideal place to unwind and soak in the natural beauty.

6. Wildlife Watching and Birding

The diverse habitats within Lehigh Gorge State Park support a wide variety of wildlife. Bird watchers can look forward to spotting species such as eagles, hawks, and songbirds. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for wildlife viewing, so bring your binoculars and a field guide to enhance your experience.

7. Winter Activities

Don’t let the colder months deter you from visiting Lehigh Gorge State Park. In winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The trails take on a serene beauty when blanketed in snow, providing a unique and tranquil outdoor experience.

Exploring Nearby Jim Thorpe

Just a short drive from Lehigh Gorge State Park is the charming town of Jim Thorpe, often referred to as the “Switzerland of America.” This historic town offers additional attractions, including the Asa Packer Mansion, the Old Jail Museum, and a variety of boutique shops and restaurants. Jim Thorpe is a perfect complement to your park visit, providing a mix of history, culture, and small-town charm.

Planning Your Visit

Lehigh Gorge State Park is conveniently located near major highways, making it easily accessible for day trips or longer stays. The park offers ample parking, clean restrooms, and visitor amenities to ensure a comfortable visit. Accommodations range from cozy bed and breakfasts to modern hotels in nearby towns, catering to all preferences and budgets.

Final Thoughts

Lehigh Gorge State Park is a testament to Pennsylvania’s natural beauty and adventurous spirit. Whether you’re hiking through scenic trails, rafting down the Lehigh River, or enjoying a relaxing picnic, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in PA at this stunning park. Plan your visit today and discover why Lehigh Gorge State Park is a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

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