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10 Best Poconos Hiking Trails (Wildlife & Waterfalls!)

Explore the top 10 Poconos hiking trails for breathtaking wildlife and waterfalls. Ideal for travelers seeking scenic views and outdoor activities.

Tobi Miles
July 20, 2022
10 Best Poconos Hiking Trails (Wildlife & Waterfalls!)

Poconos has been a widely destined spot for many people, dating back to the 1940s. This area was perfect for those on their honeymoon, as it offered plenty of seclusion with a romantic atmosphere. However, it was not a place only for newlyweds. It was and still is a spectacular place for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

With so many outdoor activities that Poconos offers, there will be something for everyone. One outdoor activity that entices many to visit is the stunning hiking trails. The Pocono Mountains hiking trails cover over 200 miles of beautiful nature and scenery.

Poconos hiking trails will give you a chance to explore waterfalls, rare plants, animals and more. There is so much to see here that no matter what difficulty the trail is, it will be worth it.

1. Mount Minsi via Appalachian Trail

Credit: Nicholas_T / Flickr

The Appalachian Trail is perfect for those seeking a trail with an abundance of opportunities. Filled with history, wildlife, and spectacular views, this trail has it all.

The full Appalachian Trail takes you from Georgia to Maine. In Georgia, you will start at Springer Mountain. Taking the full hike will lead you into Baxter State Park, landing you inside the state of Maine.

The trail is very lengthy, but it is not needed to hike the whole Appalachian trail. You can opt for some shorter paths such as Mount Minsi trail.

Mount Minsi gives you beautiful views of the Delaware River, Mount Tammany and the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. With forested mountains and many waterfalls to explore, this trail is perfect!

You will need to keep in mind that it is important to wear sturdy shoes as the trail is rocky. This trail is beautiful to hike all year round, autumn being the best for the foliage. Do take caution,  as this trail passes through registered hunting grounds.

Difficulty: ModerateDistance: 5.0 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 1,049 feet

2. Bushkill Falls Red Trail

Bushkill Falls is a beautiful area with four different hikes to choose from. Each of these trails will give you a stunning, picturesque view of various waterfalls.

Bushkill Falls is home to eight different waterfalls! With over two miles of bridges, trails and walkways, there will always be something to see.

If you become overwhelmed with which of the four trail to choose, the Red Trail will offer you splendid views of all eight waterfalls.

Bushkill Falls is open from April through October and charges an $18 fee per person. This trail is kid-friendly and leashed dogs are allowed!

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1.4 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 354 feet

Related Read: 16 Best Romantic Getaways in Pennsylvania

3. Wallenpaupack Lake Trail

Credit: Doug Kerr / Flickr

The Wallenpaupack Lake Trail is a beautiful trail giving you views of the lake. Perfect for those who want to walk along a trail and later have a picnic.

There is a picnic area and a park on this trail where you can rest and eat. This trail is kid-friendly, although you will need to leave your dog at home while you hike this trail.

There are lots of wildlife all around this trail, so be attentive to your surroundings. You will not want to miss the beautiful wildlife. Many chipmunks, ducklings, and birds consider this area their home.

For those that want a longer hike, you can continue onto Wallenpaupack Creek Trail. It is simple to find this trailhead at the park's visitor center.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.6 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 95 feet

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

The Mount Tammany Red Dot Trail is perfect for those wanting some strenuous exercise. The hike will lead up 1,200 feet to the summit of Mount Tammany.

The Delaware River cuts through a large part of the Appalachian Mountains. Which make it a truly remarkable sight to see.

The loop is possible to do in either direction. Though, it is more commonly done counter-clockwise as it is a little easier. This is because there is a section with some rough terrain towards the end.

Once you have reached the summit, you will get marvelous views of Mount Minsi. On the other side, you will be able to take in some views of the Delaware River Gap.

Make sure to note that you will want to arrive to the site early in the morning, as the parking areas typically fill up quickly.

Difficulty: ChallengingDistance: 3.6 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 1,243 feet

Related Read: 10 Best Places for Snowtubing in Pennsylvania

5. Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge Overlook Trail

This trail is perfect for those wanting a difficult hike. It requires scrambling, but will also give you some beautiful views of the waterfalls.

While this is in a state park, there is tons of history in it. The park used to be a site for a mining operation! The park's forests almost became destroyed because of overdevelopment in 1791.

You will need proper hiking shoes and gear as it is very challenging. Another important note is that the route can get confusing. It is recommended that you download a map ahead of time.

It is also important that you watch for various warning postage, as certain areas of these trails are considerd very dangerous.

Be aware of that part of this route leading to Glen Onoko Falls has a partial closure. Regardless, you will still be able to access the upper part of the falls.

Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 3.3 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 987 feet

6. Loyalsock Trail

Credit: Ruhrfisch

The Loyalsock Trail passes through forested mountains and valleys of the Loyalsock State Forest. With many opportunities to see rivers and waterfalls, this place is amazing to hike.

For those who want to bring their dog with them on a trail, this would be it. It is dog friendly and you may allow your dog off-leash in certain areas.

Take caution on this trail. There have been many sightings of bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. There have also been mentions of ticks on this trail.

With all things considered, it is an exceptional trail to see at any time of the year. It is very popular for backpacking, camping, and hiking.

Difficulty: ModerateDistance: 56.4 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 10,449 feet

7. Ricketts Glen Falls Loop

Credit: Gene Krasko / Flickr

This loop will take you through both Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh, observing 21 different waterfalls along the way!

There are two ways that you can start this trail. Either by the Evergreen Parking Area on the south side of the highway or by the picnic area. Those at the Evergreen Parking Area will walk across the highway to reach Falls Trail.

Springtime will especially be beautiful to visit this trail. It's the perfect time of the year to view dogwood trees and wildflowers.

Those who start at the picnic area will take a short connector trail. The connector trail will take you across a bridge over Kitchen Creek to join the main Falls Trail.

The first part of the main trail follows an old roadbed along Kitchen Creek, surrounded by a hardwood forest.

Further in, there will be a clear split in the trail. Either trail that you choose will reunite at the first waterfall. Each additional waterfall that you come across will have a sign posted of their names.

You will see two other waterfalls until you reach the major trail junction at Waters Meet. The trail will split again. The Ganoga Glen Trail will continue straight up the west bank of Kitchen Creek; Whereas the Glen Leigh Trail will cross a bridge leading into Glen Leigh.

The trail will become steeper and more narrow as you climb up the glen. Eventually you will encounter the wooden bridge to the Mohican Falls.

With all of the different and unique waterfalls that you can see on this hike, consider acquiring a map to keep your location known.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 8.0 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,102 feet

Related Read: 20 Best Waterfalls in Pennsylvania

8. Tank Hollow Trail

Credit: John Brandauer / Flickr

Tank Hollow Trail is perfect for those looking for a easier, shorter, family-friendly hike. You will also be able to bring your leashed dog on this adventure.

This trail is very popular with bird watchers. There is a variety of wildlife that you will be able to observe. Watch out though, as many people have seen snakes and bears on this trail!

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 3.4 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 223 feet

9. Christman, Falls, and Cove Ridge Trails

Credit: adeans

These three trails are well known to do together because of how quick they are to hike. Giving a total hike of about an hour and a half, this will be perfect for a quick afternoon excursion.

The Christman, Falls, and Cove Ridge Trails are located in Beltzville State Park. These trails are popular for cross-country skiing, fishing, and birding. If you want a more secluded trail, this may not be the proper choice for you.

Christman is relatively flat and follows down a ravine. While those that want a trail with a little more difficulty can hike along Falls and Cove Ridge.. Both these trails will provide some rocky terrain with a steep climb.

Those visiting in the spring and early summer will want to wear boots. As it can get muddy in some areas. This trail is also subject to seasonal closure. Therefore, it must be remembered to plan your trip ahead of time.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4.5 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 311 feet

Related Read: 20 BEST Restaurants in New Hope, PA

10. Pulpit Rock and Pinnacle Loop

Credit: Nstannik

The Pulpit Rock and Pinnacle Loop will give you spectacular views of Lehigh Valley, along with the surrounding ridges. This is a great trail for intermediate hikers. Experienced hikers can also get some joy from this hike as it offers plenty of beauty.

Furthermore, this trail will also offer you many chances to see wildlife. Many have reported about the variety of birds seen here as well! Perfect for those who enjoy bird-watching.

You will want to make sure that you have sturdy shoes as the trail can get rocky. This area is well known for backpacking, hiking, and camping. You may bring your dog, but they will need to be on a leash.

A nice part about this trail is that it can be completed in either direction. However, many prefer to hike it counter-clockwise. For the best possible views, you will want to visit this trail anytime from May through October.

Difficulty: ModerateDistance: 9.0 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 1,250 feet

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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