Pennsylvania State Parks to Visit This Summer

Hiking is something I’ve always enjoyed doing and finding interesting places to visit is always a plus. Luckily, Pennsylvania has a plethora of state parks to visit! Some parks in this list I’ve already been to but others are places I’ve yet to see, despite living in PA my whole life.

  1. 1. Kinzua Bridge State Park

    Located in McKean County, Kinzua Bridge was built in 1882. What stands out about the bridge is that it used to be a whole bridge, until it collapsed due to a tornado in 2003. In 2011, a skywalk was made so that visitors can walk out 600 feet to what’s left of the support towers and look down at the Kinzua Gorge. As this park is located high up north west in PA, this will be a full day excursion for me to travel to, but it’s high on my must-visit list.

  2. 2. Abandoned PA Turnpike

    The Abandoned PA Turnpike was created by the rerouting of the highway in 1968, but it caused backups due to the road going from four lanes to one lane as you enter the tunnel. As a result, the highway was abandoned. While it is officially closed to the public, it’s not a no-trespassing zone. It does warn visitors to proceed at their own risk. This is not necessarily a hiking trail, but may be great for biking. I intend on bringing a bike and exploring the area. Located near Breezewood, PA, it’ll definitely be an interesting place to explore.

  3. 3. Ricketts Glen State Park

    This park I’ve visited before and it’s one of my favorites. Located in three counties, Luzerne, Colombia, and Sullivan, it has a rich history with Native Americans having lived there. Now it’s a gorgeous state park with lots of waterfalls, and since I only live an hour away, it’s a must-do on my list.

  4. 4. Valley Forge National Historical Park

    I enjoy historical locations and this place is no different. You can walk along trails and the park grounds, but due to COVID-19 public buildings are closed. Even so, I want to visit this place because I’ve never been and I enjoy walking through history.

I could go on and on but these are some neat starts to my hiking journey this summer. One place worthy of an honorable mention is a local state park called Glen Onoko in Jim Thorpe. It has gorgeous waterfalls and has a challenging hike that I enjoyed, but it closed to the public two years ago due to safety concerns and continuous rescues occurring. It’s illegal to visit now and trespassers can be fined.

Another interesting place to visit was Centralia’s graffiti highway but due to mass amounts of people visiting and causing trouble in the beginnings of COVID-19, the short stretch of abandoned highway was covered with dirt, after living on for so many years. I take comfort in knowing that I visited the highway one last time just weeks before it was closed off and buried.

Despite the sad end to some of my favorite locations, I’m excited to explore the ones I’ve listed and spend a lot of time outdoors.