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The Great Outdoors Is Still Open

May 31, 2020 07:55PM ● By Gisele M Siebold
Social distancing during a pandemic is challenging—except when it’s not. We are fortunate to live in an area abounding in natural places and bountiful resources for rich enjoyment and appreciation of that which has always been good and will always be there when we need it.

Always follow the latest CDC guidelines when out in public and practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the health and beauty of the delicate ecology. This includes disposing of waste properly, letting nature’s sounds prevail by avoiding loud voices or music and leaving rocks, plants and other natural objects as we found them.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn says, “Take some time to connect to nature and the outdoors, and remind ourselves how fortunate we really are to live in Penn’s Woods, where we have so many resources available to us to enjoy and appreciate the Earth.”

Cumberland County

Black Gum Trail follows the contour of the mountainside near the Mansion Area in Kings Gap and offers hikers abundant views of black gum (tupelo) trees. The trail can be accessed via the Forest Heritage or Kings Gap Hollow Trails. The Forest Heritage Trail is a 1.8-mile loop connecting several prominent charcoal hearths that have been inactive for more than 100 years. The 2.8-mile Kings Gap Hollow Trail winds along the stream and follows the gap in the mountain. 

Cumberland County Biker/Hiker Trail follows the route of the South Mountain Railroad, passing along the shores of Fuller and Laurel lakes. It winds through Pine Grove Furnace State Park, the “unofficial” halfway point along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a marked hiking trail in the Eastern U.S. extending between Springer Mountain, in Georgia, and Mount Katahdin, in Maine.

The Darlington Trail stretches for 18.2 miles through Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties from the junction of the Appalachian and Tuscarora trails at its western end to Tower Road at its eastern end. The trail varies from a narrow footpath to wooded roads, with some rocky portions of trail.

Dauphin County

Capital Area Greenbelt trail is a 20-mile loop through and around Harrisburg. It passes along the Susquehanna River through Riverfront Park, including wooded areas, urban offices, residential areas, Reservoir Park and Wildwood Park. Parts of the trail share the road, but most of the loop has dedicated paths. Much of the trail is paved, but portions are gravel or crushed stone.

Fort Halifax Park has nearly four miles of hiking trails that wind through habitats such as gardens, meadows, woodlands, streams and river ecosystems. Highspire Reservoir Trail features a lake and is appropriate for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horseshoe Trail is a 140-mile unique, difficult and long trail that stretches across and has access points within five counties: Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster and Lebanon.

York County

The 1.6-mile Hollow Creek Greenway follows the creek through scenic woodlands and valleys, offering a quiet oasis in the suburbs. The 199-mile-long Mason-Dixon Trail connects the Appalachian Trail with the Brandywine Trail. It starts at Whiskey Springs on the Appalachian Trail, in Cumberland County, passes through Gifford Pinchot State Park and heads east toward the Susquehanna River. The trail then follows the west bank of the Susquehanna River south to Havre de Grace, Maryland. Red Lion Mile is a pleasant one-mile community trail that begins right at the center of Red Lion. The main trailhead is on Main Street, at the restored Maryland and Pennsylvania train station.

Perry County

Little Buffalo State Park has eight trails that offer eight miles of hiking throughout the park. Four trails are rated as easy hiking; two trails are rated most difficult; one trail is ADA-accessible and one is a fitness trail. Tuscarora Trail weaves through Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton and Perry counties, with approximately 23 miles crossing the Tuscarora State Forest. Tuscarora Trail is the northern portion of an extensive 220-mile bypass route of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

More Resources (Capital Area Greenbelt)

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