Writer J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Not all who wander are lost.” Wandering can lead to wonder, though, and it is quite wonderful to be lost in the wonders of nature.
You’ve likely heard of Harrisburg’s vibrant downtown or Hershey’s roaring coasters. Beyond the city streets and the chocolate treats, you’ll also find a treasure trove of nature trails tucked within expansive parks and wooded areas. Family hikes can follow level loops and beginner trails. More experienced hikers can find more difficult footpaths with challenging inclines that pay off with breathtaking views. We hope you’ll come and wander a bit with us!
Just north of the city of Harrisburg, this 1,025-acre conservation area offers a natural setting for passive recreation, like hiking, without an abundance of development and improvements to alter the landscape. Boyd Big Tree Preserve has an extensive 12-mile trail system ranging from easy to difficult hiking. Each of the trails connects to at least one other trail, so find a trek that suits your skill level!
Enjoy this 5-mile, secluded loop with an elevation gain of about 1,400 feet. Located near Dauphin, PA just north of Harrisburg, the trail is rated as moderate with some narrow and rocky areas.
Explore nearly seven miles of trails on 411 acres of Dauphin County’s largest park. The trails are moderate, with both easy loops and more challenging treks. From meadows and streams to mature deciduous forests, there are a variety of ecosystems to explore.
A shorter hike with an incredible scenic payoff, Hawk Rock via Appalachian Trail is a 2.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail just north of Harrisburg. Hikers will see beautiful wildflowers and share the trail with both day hikers and serious hikers traversing the length of the famed Appalachian Trail.
This 4.2 mile loop follows a section of the famed Appalachian Trail. Located north of Harrisburg near Halifax, Pa, the heavily-trafficked, moderate trail has an elevation gain of 1,200 feet.
North of Harrisburg near Millersburg, Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art features approximately 10 miles of trails that vary from .3 miles to 1.5 miles. The trails wind through 500 acres of mature hardwood forest and sprawling meadowlands. Some trails are also ideal for biking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing. After a hike, visit their art gallery featuring the nature-inspired works of its namesake, the late Ned Smith.
Wildwood Park is a jewel for nature and wildlife lovers looking for a serene stroll. It’s just minutes from downtown Harrisburg, but tucked discretely away from the fast pace of the city. On a beautiful morning, you’ll see couples jogging, solo cyclists, families out for a walk, nature photographers, and lots of dogs getting their exercise!