Swatara State Park Trails

11.85 Miles

Trail Description

The 3,520-acre Swatara State Park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated in the Swatara Valley, between Second and Blue Mountains. Scenic Swatara Creek meanders the length of the park and is surrounded by forests and wetlands that support a diversity of wildlife. Appalachian National Scenic Trail: Stretching from Georgia to Maine, this backpacking trail traverses two miles of the southern portion of Swatara State Park. Kittatinny Ridge, also known as Blue Mountain, has been designated by Audubon Pennsylvania, as the largest of the state’s Important Bird Areas. Overnight parking for through or section AT hikers is on SR 443 just west of SR 72. Hikers may leave an itinerary with the park for emergencies. Swatara Rail Trail: Swatara Rail Trail is ten miles in length from Lickdale Interchange (Exit 90) of I-81 to the Pine Grove Interchange (Exit 100) of I-81. The trail grade is relatively flat, with variable surfaces (stone, gravel, and pavement) requiring wide tires. Bear Hole Trail: Running along the southeastern side of Swatara State Park, Bear Hole Trail (previously Old State Road) is a wide, rolling trail for hiking and biking. An 11 mile loop can be completed by using Swatara Rail Trail and Bear Hole Trail and crossing the creek at the Waterville Bridge and the Swopes Valley Road. By using Sand Siding Trail and crossing the Swatara Creek at the Sand Siding Bridge, the loop can be divided into two smaller loops. The northeastern loop from Sand Siding to Swopes Valley Road is a 7.2 mile loop and the southwestern loop from Sand Siding to the Waterville/Appalachian Trail Bridge is a 4.6 mile loop. Mountain Biking Trails: Accessible from the State Park Lane trailhead, six trails are designed as mountain bike trails. These single track natural surface trails are a maximum 24 inches wide with log obstacles and stream crossings. They are considered most difficult by DCNR trail standards, but easy by International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) standards. Each trail loop is about 1.5 miles in length and twist through the woods and up and down hills. Horseback Riding: Horseback riding is permitted on Bear Hole Trail and Swatara Rail Trail east of the Sand Siding Trail. Cross-country Skiing: The Swatara Rail Trail is good for skiing with adequate snowfall. Trout Run Trailhead has a permanent restroom facility.

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