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Backpacking through Pennsylvania

The beauty of backpacking through Pennsylvania

If you are unfamiliar with the natural beauty of Pennsylvania, I have to say I think you're missing out! Yes, there's Pittsburgh and Philadelphia if you like the cities, but there are also rivers, trout streams, and state parks. The Appalachian Trail winds through our state along gorgeous mountain ranges, there are historical sites begging to be explored, and in the fall the trees are an explosion of color. If you're a backpacker or “bikepacker”, there are so many sights to see – these are just a few. Bring your bug spray (deer ticks can be a problem in the region) and come on an adventure!

Are you a history buff? Gettysburg has a number of campsites surrounding the battlefields, and lots of walking trails to take you over high points of interest in the Gettysburg National Military Park. Walk through the museums on site, and some campsites are close enough for you to hike back to camp in the evening.

The Appalachian Trail winds along the mountain ridges in Pennsylvania, and is a great getaway for a day hike, a weekend trip, or a stop along the way for a through-hiker on the AT. Though this segment of the Trail is noted for being very rocky, it also boasts beautiful views and has some fascinating stops along the way. For example, the Doyle Hotel and Bar in Duncannon (a small town north of Harrisburg) is one of the grand old Anheuser Busch hotels, first built in the 1890's, and is a popular stop for AT hikers.

There's also the Midstate Trail, offering 325 miles of adventure through Black Moshannon and part of Maryland. Known as “the wildest trail in the state”, it offers the illusion of being very remote, while in fact you're never more than 2 kilometers from a road – very helpful in case of emergencies! Actually, it's the first established US trail that used metric as its measure.

If these hikes are a bit too advanced for you, but you want to see some beautiful views, there are several trails through Rickets Glen that boast gorgeous waterfalls. The Lake Rose loop in particular is a moderately difficult trail only 3.4 miles long, making it a great day hike. This trail is terrific to introduce older kids to hiking, as it offers great sights without wearing them out entirely. :)

If you live in PA or are visiting, check out the many awesome trails, and make sure to share your experiences on wikibackpacker.com!
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