Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Walk About: 6 Scenic Water View Trails in Eastern PA

Now that this extended rainy season has seemingly passed (although, as I type this it literally started raining!), we're taking every opportunity we can to get outdoors. One of our favorite things to do - especially after a long day at work - is to hit the local hiking trails, particularly those with a water view. We've been making an effort to find and explore more trails in our area, so I thought I'd share some of our favorites:

1. Sand Island. Bethlehem, PA.

As part of the Lehigh River Water Trail, this path extends for a number of miles in both directions, making it perfect for a long walk or bike ride. The trail is a well-maintained, gravel surface with views of the Lehigh River on one side and the canal on the other. If you follow the trail east towards Freemansburg, you will pass by the new Sands casino at the site of the former Bethlehem Steel. Venture westward for a more natural experience (except for the noise from the rail cars that pass through from time to time). http://bit.ly/fF34N

2. Northampton Canal Park. Northampton, PA.

This one-mile paved walkway is perfect for a leisurely stroll along the Lehigh Canal in the borough of Northampton. The area was recently updated to create an idyllic park setting, complete with picnic pavilions, park benches and baseball diamonds. If you're looking for a longer walk, the southern end of the path connects to a dirt trail that leads you through the woods to the Hokendauqua Creek. If you venture out in the hotter months, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the local children perched on the wooden platforms high up in the trees, waiting for their turn to soar through the air on their rope tree swing and plunge into the water below. http://bit.ly/FxtFc

3. Lakeside Trail. Tobyhanna, PA.
Follow the blue blazes for a 5.1 mile hike around the lake at Tobyhanna State Park. Not only will you enjoy numerous views of the pristine lake, but charming streams will surprise you every now and then, adding the meditative sound of trickling water to the chorus of chirping birds and rustling leaves. For the most part, the path is gravel and fairly level, however you will come across some patches that are uneven and rocky. You will also encounter some macadam, sand and grass surfaces as well. http://bit.ly/2jsN5C

4. Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. New Hope, PA.
Riverside trails can be accessed from the PA side (west bank) or the NJ side (east bank). Our favorite stretch is the Lumberville - New Hope, PA/Bull's Island - Lambertiville, NJ portion. However, as part of a 70-mile trail system, there is no shortage of pathways for bikers, hikers and joggers alike. Much of the trail is considered a wildlife corridor and contains over 150 species of birds. The trail is a well-maintained, flat, gravel path with various access points that offer up plenty of opportunities to stop for a bite to eat or a bathroom break. http://bit.ly/SuJCg

5. Tekening Trail. Martin's Creek, PA.

Follow the blue blazes for the Scenic River Trail, a 2.1 mile hike along the Delaware River in Martin's Creek. The Tekening Trail is a 5-mile network of pathways in Martin's Creek Preserve. Though there are three other trails to choose from, the Scenic River Trail has the most to see and is the only one with river views. It is a dirt hiking path through the woods with many uneven surfaces and obstacles. Be sure to wear hiking boots or very sturdy sneakers. The trail is great for hiking or mountain biking and there are several scenic overlooks along the way. The only downfall is the din of electricity being generated at PPL's nearby power plant. Luckily, you only hear it for a few minutes in the beginning of your hike and by the time you reach the river views, the sound is long forgotten. http://bit.ly/K6vwI

6. Bushkill Falls. Bushkill, PA.
Also known as the "Niagra of Pennsylvania", Bushkill Falls features a network of hiking trails that wind through the woods and past eight spectacular waterfalls. The trails are rugged (hiking boots recommended) and require a good deal of climbing. This area is more commercialized than some of the other trails and tends to get crowded on weekends and holidays. Plus, unlike the other trails on this list, Bushkill Falls charges an admission fee ($10/adult; $6/child). However when you're standing at the base of Bridal Veil Falls, you'll agree that the price is totally worth it. http://bit.ly/MEjgf