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12 Best Hikes in Poconos for All Ages with Jaw-Dropping Views

By SometimeSquad

Updated on

Are you looking for the best hikes in Poconos to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature? If so, you are in luck because the Poconos region is home to some of the most scenic and diverse trails in Pennsylvania. Whether you are a beginner or an expert hiker, you will find something to suit your taste and challenge your skills. From waterfalls and lakes to forests and mountains, the Poconos offer a variety of landscapes and views that will take your breath away. 

In this blog, we will share with you the 12 best hikes in Poconos that you should take advantage of these hikes range from easy to strenuous and from short to long, so you can choose the ones that fit your schedule and preference. No matter which hike you pick, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable experience and a deeper appreciation of nature. So, grab your hiking boots and get ready to explore the best hikes in Poconos!

Here is the List of 12 Best Hikes in Poconos for All Ages

Discover the best hikes in Poconos, but how do you choose the right one for your level of experience and fitness? In this section, we will introduce you to the 12 best hikes in Poconos, divided into three categories: easy, moderate, and difficult. Each category will feature excellent trails. Whether you are looking for a relaxing stroll, a challenging climb, or something in between, you will find the perfect hike for you in Poconos.

Easy Hikes in Poconos

1. Wallenpaupack Lake Trail

Length: 2.6 miles out-and-back

Elevation Gain: approx. 91 feet

Trail Type: Packed gravel

Parking: Wallenpaupack Creek Trail

Special Features: Lake Wallenpaupack, woods, wildlife

Explore one of the best hikes in Poconos along the picturesque shoreline of Lake Wallenpaupack, the region’s largest lake. Marvel at the shimmering water, lush greenery, and vibrant foliage during fall. Keep an eye out for diverse wildlife like birds, fish, and other creatures. This leisurely trail is perfect for a calming stroll, a delightful picnic, or a refreshing bike ride.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or seeking tranquility, the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center provides additional insights about the lake and its surroundings. This trail offers an idyllic escape amidst the beauty of the Poconos.

2. Shohola Falls Trail

Length: 0.6 miles round-trip

Elevation Gain: approx. 62 feet

Trail Type: Slick, rocky creekside

Parking: Shohola Falls Trails End

Special Features: Shohola Falls, woods, creek

This short hike in Poconos takes you to the base of Shohola Falls, a breathtaking waterfall cascading over rocks. The trail, albeit rocky and slippery, promises an exhilarating journey, so don sturdy shoes for safety. Your efforts will unveil a mesmerizing close-up of the falls, accompanied by the soothing symphony of rushing water. Offering stunning scenery, this trail is a splendid choice for a swift hike amidst Poconos’ natural splendor. Take the chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of this picturesque landscape, making memories of the serene beauty that defines hiking in Poconos.

3. McDade Recreational Trail

Length: 37 miles 

Elevation Gain: Varies

Trail Type: Packed gravel with some sturdy bridges and a few steep hills

Parking: McDade Recreational Trail

Special Features: Delaware River, woods, wildlife, historical sites

If you’re craving an adventure in the Poconos, delve into the beauty of the best hikes in Poconos with the McDade Recreational Trail. This long trail parallels the Delaware River from Milford to Shawnee on Delaware, offering a perfect blend of nature and history. Whether opting for the entire trek or a chosen section, hikers can revel in scenic views of the river, lush woods, and lively wildlife along the way.

Take the chance to spot historical landmarks like old farmhouses, mills, and bridges along the McDade Recreational Trail, adding a cultural touch to your journey through the Poconos. Immerse yourself in the rich natural and cultural heritage of the region, crafting lasting memories amidst the breathtaking landscapes of this remarkable hiking trail in the Poconos.

Moderate Hikes in Poconos

4. Bushkill Falls Red Trail

Length: 1.3 to 2 miles loop

Elevation Gain: approx. 354 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, stairs, bridges

Parking: Bushkill Falls

Special Features: Eight waterfalls, woods, creek

Experience one of the most challenging and best hikes in Poconos at Bushkill Falls, a private park boasting eight breathtaking waterfalls. This trail, the longest and most challenging among the four, grants access to all waterfalls ranging from 20 to 100 feet in height. Traverse through enchanting woods, crossing creeks on sturdy bridges along the well-marked path. 

Be ready for a workout as you navigate numerous stairs and steep sections. Despite the challenges, the trail offers rewarding views and a memorable adventure amidst Poconos’ natural beauty. Keep in mind that there’s an entrance fee to access the park, ensuring the maintenance of this pristine hiking destination.

5.  Irving Cliff Trail

Length: 1-mile out-and-back

Elevation Gain: 300 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, rocks

Parking: Irving Cliff, Gibbons Park

Special Features: Irving Cliff, downtown Honesdale, woods

The Irving Cliff Hike in the Poconos offers a thrilling adventure to its summit, boasting stunning views of downtown Honesdale, the winding Lackawaxen River, and the rolling hills. This short yet challenging trail features steep inclines and rocky terrain, providing an exhilarating experience for hikers exploring the best hikes in Poconos.

At the peak, a statue of a Native American chief pays homage to the region’s early settlers, adding a cultural touch to the journey. Whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall, this hike is a fantastic choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the natural beauty of the Poconos throughout the year.

6. Mount Minsi via Appalachian Trail

Length: 4.8 miles out-and-back

Elevation Gain: 1,461 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, rocks

Parking: Mt Minsi

Special Features: Appalachian Trail, Mount Minsi, Delaware River, Mount Tammany, woods

Explore the allure of the Poconos with a hike along the Appalachian Trail, renowned as one of the best hikes in Poconos. This scenic trail meanders through picturesque landscapes, offering stunning vistas of Mount Minsi, the Delaware River, and the rolling hills of New Jersey. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the woods as you encounter native wildlife along the way. With its diverse terrain and breathtaking views, this trail promises an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts seeking the best hikes in Poconos.

Difficult Hikes in Poconos

7. Mount Tammany: Red Dot and Blue Dot Loop Trail

Length: 3 miles loop

Elevation Gain: 1,250 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, rocks, scrambles

Parking: Mt Tammany Red Dot Trail

Special Features: Mount Tammany, Delaware Water Gap, Dunnfield Creek, woods

This trail offers a stimulating challenge, making it a standout among the best hikes in Poconos. The path winds around Mount Tammany, the apex of the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap. Ascending steeply along the Red Dot Trail, hikers encounter thrilling rock scrambles and exposed segments. 

At the summit of Mount Tammany, a panoramic vista unfolds, showcasing the majesty of the Delaware River, Mount Minsi, and the encircling peaks. The descent on the Blue Dot Trail is gentler, tracing Dunnfield Creek and passing picturesque waterfalls. This trail beckons to the adventurous souls seeking a formidable yet immensely rewarding hike in the Poconos.

8. Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge Overlook Trail

Length: 3.3 miles loop

Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, rocks, scrambles, stairs

Parking: Lehigh Gorge State Park

Special Features: Glen Onoko Falls, Lehigh Gorge, Lehigh River, woods

This challenging trail stands out as one of the most picturesque and demanding hikes in the Poconos, earning its spot among the best hikes in Poconos in the region. The journey commences at the Glen Onoko parking lot, leading adventurers along a steep and slippery path tracing the mesmerizing Glen Onoko Falls – a cascade of waterfalls offering a unique allure. 

Navigate through the trail’s obstacles, involving scrambling, climbing, and balancing, with no railings or signs for guidance. Upon reaching the falls’ zenith, revel in a stunning vista of the Lehigh River and the Lehigh Gorge. The trail completes a loop around the gorge, providing a rewarding experience for seasoned hikers exploring the best hikes in Poconos.

9. Loyalsock Trail

Length: 59 miles point-to-point

Elevation Gain: 10,000 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, rocks, bridges, scramble

Parking: Loyalsock Trailhead

Special Features: Loyalsock Creek, waterfalls, vistas, woods, wildlife

The Loyalsock Trail stands out as one of the most extended and diverse hikes in Poconos. Spanning from Williamsport to Dushore, this trail traces the picturesque Loyalsock Creek as it winds through the mountains. Along the way, hikers are treated to a rich tapestry of natural wonders, including numerous waterfalls, scenic vistas, dense woodlands, and abundant wildlife. 

The trail presents a variety of challenges, from navigating bridges to scrambling over rocks and ascending steep hills. Despite its difficulty, this trail offers an advantageous experience for seasoned and adventurous hikers seeking to explore the diverse landscapes of the Poconos.

10. Thunder Swamp Trail

Length: 31.7 miles loop

Elevation Gain: 2,486 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, rocks, mud, water

Parking: Thunder Swamp Trail Junction

Special Features: Thunder Swamp, waterfalls, ponds, woods, wildlife

For those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure in the Poconos, look no further than this remote and rugged trail that loops around Thunder Swamp. As one of the most challenging best hikes in the Poconos, this trail immerses hikers in the pristine wilderness of a wetland area bustling With diverse plants and animals. Along the way, hikers navigate numerous streams, some requiring wading or even swimming, adding an extra layer of excitement to hikes in Poconos. 

The trail also unveils hidden waterfalls, serene ponds, and dense woodlands. However, be prepared for a rough journey as the trail is poorly marked and maintained, featuring many muddy and rocky sections. This hike is not for the inexperienced, but it offers a thrilling adventure for those craving solitude and an actual test of their hiking skills in the Poconos.

READ ALSO: No Time? Try these 12 Easy Section hikes of the Appalachian Trail

11. Pinchot Trail

Length: 22.1 miles loop

Elevation Gain: 2,690 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, rocks, bridges

Parking: Pinchot Trail Trailhead

Special Features: Pinchot Lake, Choke Creek, waterfalls, woods, wildlife

One of the most extended and most picturesque hikes in the Poconos, the Pinchot Trail encircles the stunning Pinchot Lake, a glacial gem nestled amidst woodlands and rolling hills. Following the tranquil course of Choke Creek, a crystal-clear stream meandering through the forest, this hike in Poconos promises serene beauty at every turn.

Discover cascading waterfalls like Choke Creek Falls and Painter Falls while traversing bridges and ascending hills along the way. Despite being well-marked and maintained, this is still a demanding and lengthy hike, underscoring the importance of thorough planning and preparation for those venturing into the heart of the Poconos’ natural splendor.

12.  Glen Leigh and Ganoga Glen Loop Trail

Length: 7.2 miles loop

Elevation Gain: 1,735 feet

Trail Type: Dirt, stairs, bridges

Parking: Ganoga Glen

Special Features: Ricketts Glen State Park, 21 waterfalls, woods, creek

If you are looking for the best hikes in Poconos that will take your breath away, you should visit Ricketts Glen State Park. This park offers one of the most captivating best hikes in the Poconos, where you can admire 21 impressive waterfalls in two glens. The trail follows the ridge between Glen Leigh and Ganoga Glen, each with its beauty and charm. 

The waterfalls will enchant you with names like Huron, Shawnee, and Ganoga, ranging from 11 to 94 feet high. You will also enjoy the serene forests and the creeks with bridges on the trail, which is well-marked and maintained. The hike is not easy, but it is worth it for the spectacular views of the falls. This is a must-see for anyone who loves nature and hikes in Poconos.

Now that you have gone through the list of best hikes in Poconos, make sure you read our tips on the best seasons, gear, and safety for your hike.

Hikes in Poconos, big pocono state park, poconos hiking

When is the Best Time to Go Hiking in the Poconos?

The Poconos is an excellent place for hiking, with trails for all seasons and skill levels. But for the best weather and views, go in fall or spring. In fall, enjoy colorful leaves and cooler temps. In spring, see blooming flowers, flowing waterfalls, and wildlife. Watch out for rain and mud in April and May. Winter and summer are also fun, but be ready for snow, ice, heat, or humidity. Wherever you go, there are lots of trails to explore in the Poconos.

What are the Must-Know Tips for Hiking in the Poconos?

Discover essential tips for hiking in the Poconos, ensuring a memorable outdoor adventure. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced hiker, these insights will elevate your best hikes in Poconos, making your journey safe and enjoyable.

  • Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly for sudden changes.
  • Select trails suitable for your skill level and consult maps or guides beforehand.
  • Respect nature by staying on marked trails and avoiding littering or disturbing wildlife.
  • Carry enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your hike.
  • Inform someone of your hiking plans and expected return time for safety.
  • Wear the right clothes and shoes for the type of ground and the weather.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and follow any posted trail regulations.
  • Always prioritize safety and be prepared with a first aid kit and emergency supplies.

VISUAL STORY: 10 Of The Quirkiest Towns in the Poconos


What are the best winter hikes in the Poconos?

Popular winter trails include the scenic McDade Recreational Trail and the challenging Glen Onoko Falls Trail, offering diverse landscapes and breathtaking views.

What are the most visited hikes in the Poconos?

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area draws crowds to trails like the Appalachian Trail and the Tammany Trail, while Bushkill Falls Trail and Glen Onoko Falls Trail are also popular choices for their stunning waterfalls and picturesque scenery.

What is considered the most beautiful waterfall in Pennsylvania?

Bushkill Falls, often dubbed the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” mesmerizes visitors with its series of eight stunning waterfalls surrounded by lush forest scenery in the heart of the Pocono Mountains.

Is it safe to hike in the Poconos with kids?

Yes, but it’s essential to choose family-friendly trails and exercise caution, ensuring children are supervised and equipped with appropriate gear for a safe outdoor adventure.

Are there bears in the Poconos Mountains?

Yes, the Poconos are home to a population of black bears, so it’s essential to take precautions such as securing food properly and being bear-aware while hiking or camping in the region.

Is a guided tour needed for hiking in the Poconos?

While not necessary, guided tours in the Poconos can provide valuable insights into the area’s ecology, history, and safety measures, enhancing the overall hiking experience for both novice and experienced adventurers.

What is the best resort for a stay in the Midwest?

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, offers a luxurious and historic retreat with stunning waterfront views, impeccable service, and a wide range of amenities, making it a top choice for an unforgettable Midwest getaway.

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