The Great Outdoors in the Pocono Mountains
As a park ranger and a long-time resident of the Pocono Mountains, I know first-hand this is a special place for nature lovers.
Local, state and national parks and forests provide ample opportunities to get outside and hike, bike or paddle in warmer weather and to snowshoe or cross-country ski once the snow starts to fall. You can hike to the top of a mountain and enjoy stunning views or take a meandering walk along a creek to one of many waterfalls, including the tallest (Raymondskill Falls at 50 metres) and second tallest (Dingmans Falls at 40 metres) in Pennsylvania. If paddling is more to your liking, the Delaware River is ideal for canoeing and kayaking. It’s a wonderful river for beginners with few rapids and a gentle flow – and it’s also one of the best places to observe bald eagles thriving in their natural habitat. Campsites are available near the river for those who want to extend their experience in nature.
Here are some of my family’s favorite things to do in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania:
- Kayaking on the Delaware River: The peace and quiet of the free-flowing water, the amazing scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities (and a great upper-body workout!) make every day on the river a day to remember.
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail: Hiking the “AT” to the top of Mount Minsi (427 metres) offers a moderately difficult hike on the famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail and rewards those that put in the effort with panoramic views of the river and the valley below. It’s a 6.4-kilometre loop hike that takes a few hours to complete.
- Cooling off near a waterfall: Hiking to a waterfall to “chill out” in a cool ravine shaded by towering evergreens is a great way to spend a warm summer day. Visit after a rain to see the falls at their most powerful. Dingmans, Raymondskill and Bushkill Falls are easy to get to and are among the tallest waterfalls in the state.
- Making Tracks in the Snow: Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails in state and national parks, including the McDade Recreational Trail in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, provide ways to enjoy the serenity of winter.
– Kathleen Sandt
Kathleen Sandt is a former U.S. Park Ranger currently serving as a Public Affairs Specialist with the National Park Service at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. She lives in Canadensis, Pennsylvania, with her husband and daughter and loves spending time outdoors with her family and sharing her love of the natural world with others.