There are a few items that should be on every Philadelphian’s fall bucket list: Squeeze in one last Yoga on the Pier session before it’s too late; soak in one last sunset at Bok Bar before it’s too brisk; and get in at least one breezy fall hike. At least one. Because before you know it, you won’t want to walk to the corner store without 18 layers of clothing, let alone a couple of miles.
Below, five Philadelphia-area hiking spots worth crossing off your bucket list this fall, whether you’re in it for a workout or a waterfall view.
For a serious burn: Delaware Water Gap
If your main priority is making sure you get a serious burn in your quads during your hike, this 70,000-acre park along the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania has you covered. This vast green oasis boasts dozens of trails ranging in difficulty, from the short and easy-on-the-calves Pond Loop to the 31-mile-long and leg-shake-inducing McDade Recreation trail.
If you need a little extra motivation to reach your destination, many of the trails come with scenic views, including a couple of waterfalls.
For the carless city hiker: Wissahickon Valley Park
I have many reasons to rave about the Wissahickon (and I have done so here), but perhaps one of its best features is the fact that the 1,800-acre gorge — boasting a whopping 57 miles of trail — is within city limits and accessible by public transportation. So, all my fellow carless city friends, this is the spot for you.
For jawdropper waterfalls: Ricketts Glen State Park
If your primary objective is to see some impressive waterfalls — and a LOT of them — this 13,000-acre park should be the first spot on your bucket list. With 22 named waterfalls (the highest, Ganoga Falls, clocking in at 94 feet), you won’t be disappointed. At 7.2s mile, the Falls Trail hike shows you 21 of the park’s 22 waterfalls.
For Instagram-worthy fall foliage views: Black Run Preserve
The flat and winding trails throughout this New Jersey preserve, a quick escape from Philly, serve up some seriously breathtaking views of changing leaves come peak fall-foliage season. Don’t expect the greatest workout of your life, but do bring your camera.
For a weekend getaway: Jim Thorpe
If you and your S.O. are basically human versions of flannel shirts (outdoorsy AF, that is), Jim Thorpe will undoubtedly serve as a great weekend getaway for you. The Poconos town boasts the popular Glen Onoko Falls hike in Lehigh Gorge State Park (a difficult 3.7-mile loop with waterfall views that make the sweating worth it), along with plenty of other outdoorsy activities: bike rentals to take to the D&L trail, white-water rafting on the Lehigh River, swimming in Mauch Chunk Lake Park, and more.
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