Every weekend (weather permitting), we find some awesome "under 3 hours out of the city" destination for a day or weekend trip. We seek out places with running water, be it streams, creeks, or waterfalls. We pick the day's destination, pack a backpack with water, some snacks, bug spray, & sunscreen. We load Balto into the Subaru, and we're off!
In honor of the weekend coming upon us, I have compiled a list of five of our all-time favorite hikes that are a day-trip's proximity from Philadelphia. This weekend we're talking 100 plus degrees in the weather forecast, so it's definitely a great weekend to go mountain hiking (it's usually about 10 degrees cooler than the city, even in the peak of the afternoon!).
#5. Nockamixon State Park, Quakertown PA (1.4 hours, 35 miles from Philadelphia)
A huge park situated around the 1,450 acre Lake Nockamixon. Forest trails crossing creeks and streams, giant trees. You'll usually see quite a few people kayaking, canoeing, and fishing on the lake which is abound with aquatic wildlife.
5 miles out and back with a slight climb of 400 feet. It's a minimally strenuous forest/lake hike with great views of the lake.
#4: White Clay Creek Preserve Newark, DE (1.25 hours, 38 miles from Philadelphia)
Forest hike with streams, walking bridges, and rivers broken up by paved trail ways, climbing rocks, and an old paper mill site.
Easy-moderate difficulty; 8 miles out and back. Medium incline of under 500 feet.
#3: Glen Onoko Trail, Jim Thorpe PA (1.9 hours— 71 miles from Philadelphia)
Large river with trails that run along the river and the old railroad tracks. A beautiful but it's a pretty big park with a lot of trails from each parking lot. On our first attempt to visit here, we wound up at the adjoining Buttermilk Falls trail; both Glen Onoko and Buttermilk Falls are part of the Lehigh River Gorge State Park system. Both trails are well maintained and beautiful. The area near Buttermilk Falls has trails that are marked just a bit better than those at Glen Onoko.
The Hike: Glen Onoko:
4.1 mile loop with moderate-heavy difficulty climbing 987 feet.
#2: Delaware Water Gap, Bushkill, PA (2.5 hours — 79 miles)
Well, you start at the bottom of the Mountain. If you park in the Turtle Lake lot, the trail entrance beginning with a good deal of stairs is your Mt. Tammany entrance. The trail that begins adjacent to the creek is your AT section. Tammany has a ton of beautiful vistas on the way up overlooking the Delaware River. The AT side is more of a forest hike adjacent to and crossing over the stream.
there are two depending on what type of hike you're feeling that day.
Option A: Mount Tammany:Technically in Columbia NJ, This loop trail hike is very difficult; although short at 3.2 miles, it climbs an elevation of 1145 feet and takes a average of 5 hours to complete. Ken and I didn't realize what we were getting into when we did this one. We had no water and I also wore my Clark's 3" heeled booties! We survived, but it kind of felt like Macchu Picchu at the time 😂
Be sure to wear proper shoes (I.e. Sneakers) for this hike as much of it is on uneven rocky terrain)
Option B: Appalachian Trail, PA Section @ Delaware Water Gap
This trail is a much less strenuous hike. Out and back trail clocking in a 6 miles. Climbs 1056 feet and although much less difficult than the adjacent Mount Tammany, there are some steep points to this hike.
#1: Rickett's Glen State Park, Benton PA (2.6 hours— 112 miles from Philadelphia)
It's # 1 because it holds a really special place in hour ❤️s!
The Scene: If you're up for a challenge, take Falls Trail. A beautiful mountain hike surrounded by 20+ beautiful waterfalls as tall as 96 feet and the sound of running water as your soundtrack for much of the hike. The forest portion at the mountains top is complete with Boulder crevices which make for amazing lookouts on the Lehigh Vallley.
Falls Trail loop is 7.2 miles and is a difficult hike with steep elevations and slippery rocks. The trail really does run along the river and falls the whoe way, offering the best views. For an alternate hike to the highest waterfall, Ganoga Falls, follow Ganoga View Trail. This trail is less strenuous with much less of an incline and a distance of 2.8 miles.