Fun Outdoor Adventure Activities in Lancaster County
Planning to visit the Lancaster County area? Then you should prepare yourself, as there are so many things to do. Especially if you are a fan of outdoor activities. All around Lancaster Country, whether you are an adventurous spirit or not, take a pick on the list below and start planning your next adventures.
We have gathered all you need, from Covered Bridge Tours to visiting the Natural Preserves in this area, enrolling in some bike tours, even the most interesting hiking routes. Check all of them and see which one attracts you the most.
Outdoor Adventure: Covered Bridge Tour Lancaster
Do you miss the calm, charm, and romantic atmosphere of the sigh of covered bridges? Well, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, you can have this unique experience.
The more popular name of the covered bridges is “the kissing bridges”, as there were so many couples who have visited them along with the history. Their architectural beauty is unique, so you don’t want to miss them.
As such, there are more than simple love stories, but also architectural masterpieces to admire, each of them with its own story.
There are many agencies that will offer the visitors different driving tours of the covered bridges all along with Lancaster County.
Each tour is special, so the guide will explain to you the historic site of the covered bridges, but you will also have plenty of activities to do on the way.
For instance, you can visit the Lancaster County towns, the villages, as well as the galleries, shops, and other attractions on the way.
It’s important to know that there are some thrills during the driving that won’t be available to take using the car. As such, you might need to enjoy the guided covered bridge tour by a 50cc scooter.
The experience will be as interesting as you will visit the 19th century covered bridges by such fun vehicles. You will have an experienced guide, so there is no worry you won’t have a very good time.
The tour of Covered Bridges will offer some breathtaking views of the countryside, of the Amish farms and also the Amish schoolhouses. There are some special tours that will take you 30+ miles of Amish country back roads, so be ready to explore them and finally get in touch with the historic side of Pennsylvania.
The general activities during this tour will include:
- Visiting and having a history guided tour of some of Lancaster’s oldest covered bridges;
- An expert introduction to the local Amish community;
- Driving through the most outstanding, still undeveloped countryside;
- Lots of surprises organized by your guides.
Outdoor Adventure: Nature Preserves Lancaster
There is nothing more breathtaking than seeing what nature has been creating for millions of years. One of the main testimonies is the natural preserves, which are still protected by law all along with Lancaster County.
It’s a pity not to visit at least one of them, so here they are:
Pinnacle Scenic Overlook Nature Preserve
This unique natural preserve will offer its tourists some spectacular views from a scenic overlook. There are both difficult hiking trails, and also moderate ones, all along the 2,76 miles.
As such, if you are passionate about nature but still want to do some hiking, enjoy the in-and-back, loop, or short day loop hiking trails. They have varying lengths, so both children and adults can take advantage of them.
Once reaching this area, you will be able to see the renowned Pinnacle Scenic Overlook, as well as the rock outcrops which offer an outstanding view of the lower Susquehanna River Valley.
Another beautiful place to be is the Wilton Meadows. It has lots of hiking opportunities, so whoever is willing for a “hike in” nature preserve, well, these from Wilton are very accessible. You can hike down from High Point Scenic Vista Country Park, or, if you want to try something else, start from Wrightsville’s Riverfront Park along the MDTS.
If you are looking for shorter hiking trails, while also enjoying the green experiences of woods and meadows, then you can start the hiking from High Point Scenic Vista. Don’t worry about the parking, as there are enough of them, as well as some seasonal restrooms.
Falmouth Forest Garden Day Use Area
First designed to be a floodplain forest, the Falmouth Forest Garden is now a 5-acre floodplain restoration project. The project is a successful one, and it is honoring the productive alluvial soils.
What the managers do is to start reintroducing some old species of trees, like black walnut, swamp white oak, shagbark hickory, pawpaw, or serviceberry and elderberry. Everyone who wants to see the wildlife in this region, without having to go out of civilization, then they should enjoy the 14 miles long Northwest River Trails.
You can also take the Climbers Run, so you can enjoy a nice picnic lunch eight at the historic barn. Or, if you want to spend more time in this area, you can stay in the meadow by the cabins, and explore one or multiple hiking trails.
Don’t forget to admire everything around you, such as the birds, the bluebirds, the skunk cabbage, all the wild turkeys, as well as the diversity of wildlife all around you. If you want to reflect on nature, and also show you children the beauties of it, in a very nice context, then go to the Falmouth Forest Garden.
Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve
One of the few remaining natural areas is the Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve, this is a great area of wooded slopes and also lots of rock outcroppings. This area is a wonderful place to admire the biodiversity in Lancaster County, as such, you will see a land full of beautiful plants and interesting animal life.
A unique aspect in this area is the poor sub-oils, which make the canopy trees look much younger than they actually are. Especially if we consider their height and large stands. Why is this natural preserve unique?
Well, because of its wild azaleas, wildflowers, low-bush blueberries, but also the variety of large flushes of mushrooms. These are contributing to the integrity of the humus layer atop the soil.
Outdoor Adventure: Hiking Lancaster County
Lancaster County is such a rich place when it comes to hiking trails. Just for you to have an overview of these hiking possibilities, here are some great places to see for any hiking enthusiast. These trails are special, and each of them has something unique to offer. Let’s go.
Chickies Rock County Park
If you are going with your children and want hiking trails much easier for them, then take this short walk with huge rewards. All the trails at Chickies Rock County Park will lead to two different overlooks.
It does not matter which one you will take, the beautiful view over the Susquehanna River will be the same. The trails are also numerous, and they have somewhere around 14-miles.
Climbers Run Nature Preserve
The Climbers Run Nature Preserve will offer its visitors two miles of hiking trails, some fishing locations, as well as a pollinator garden. These are a few of the things you will get the chance to see once going into this nature preserve.
It does not matter if you are just passionate about scenic escapes or if you really are a wildlife enthusiast. The Climbers Run is the perfect place to be and to reconnect with nature.
Conestoga Greenway Trail
Also known as a “great starter trail”, the Conestoga Greenway Trail is the perfect place to be, whether you are going to take a simple walk, or going by bicycle. Moreover, the trail is so easy and friendly, and it is also wheelchair accessible.
State-Line Serpentine Barrens
Do you love the long serpentines? Then the State-Line Serpentine Barrens has high levels of nickel, chromium, and other metals right inside the thin soils. The scenery is wonderful, and the animals that are living here have adapted to different harsh conditions.
The hiking trails in these barrens have around eight miles, while you can admire the rock formations, the very rare flowers, plants, as well as the abandoned quarries.
Northwest Lancaster County River Trail
If you are looking for a longer hiking trail, then you should consider this 13-mile trail, which stretches all along the Susquehanna River. If you are going with your kids, then you can take several different shorter paths.
Most of them are featuring historical Lancaster County treasures. As such, you will have the chance to see abandoned canal locks, as well as some outstanding iron furnaces.
For those who are beginners in the habit of hiking, then they should take this smaller trail. The Lake Grubb Nature Park is actually the former site of a very old iron mine. The view is spectacular, and also a good place to hike, fish, and grill. The total length of this trail is one mile, and it is very accessible.
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
This outdoor activity is well-known for its snow geese migration, but it is still a very pleasant hiking trail to take. This Conservation Trail, right in the middle of nature, is about 1.5 miles long and it has such scenic views over wildflowers, wetlands, and trees.
Kelly Run Nature Preserve
This is a large environmental area, right in southern Lancaster County, and it offers several rock climbing experiences. You can also have just a small walk if you want just to relax in the middle of nature.
You can also visit the Pollinator Park, which is located right within the preserve, and it is the best place that preserves the plants and sustains the local fauna and flora. In terms of difficulty, the trails are medium-difficult, and they are a great spot for both novice and experienced hikers.
Shiprock Woods Nature Preserve
If you are looking for a ~1-mile trail and also have a nice view of the different fauna and flora, then you should go to Shiprock Woods. Here there are two unnamed tributaries of the Pequea Creek, and you have all the chances to see foxes, deers, and many more animals.
Conewago Recreation Trail
This is the only rail-trail through Lancaster County, and it spans all along the Cornwall-Lebanon rail line. In the end, it eventually connects to the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail. This trail takes five miles and offers mesmerizing views of farmlands. You can also admire Conewago Creek once being here.
Outdoor Adventure: Biking Lancaster County
There is nothing new that all along with Lancaster County there are many roads that may not be ideal for very large vehicles.
However, this region is by far a bicyclist’s dream. It does not matter exactly where you are and where it happens for you to live, as there are lots of trails to ride using your bike. Here is a list of our favorite local bike rides. Which is your favorite one?
Covered Bridge Metric Century
This trail starts right from Landis Valley Museum, and it is ideal for those who will ride it using a hybrid bike. The total distance is a 61-mile loop, and consider that it might take you a whole day to cross. During this route, you will get to see the covered bridges, the farmlands, and many other beautiful views.
Blue Marsh Lake Loop
The trail begins from Blue Marsh Lake-State Hill Boat Launch, and it is ideal for those who are using a mountain bike. The total distance is 30 miles loop, but the main advantage of this route is that it has multiple riding types.
As such, you will never get bored, but enjoy a constant change of scenery. You don’t even have to ride the whole loop, as there are some miles who are circling back to the parking area. You can have lots of fun trying so many different sections of trails.
Lebanon Valley & Conewago Rail Trail
This is an ideal trail for hybrid or mountain biking. It starts from Lebanon and Northern Lancaster Counties and has a distance of 20 miles. You have rail-to trails, and they are great places to ride. However, there are some hard-packed riding surfaces, so make sure you are not a beginner in biking.
Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center
Needless to say that everyone is looking forward to trying some outdoor activities. And doing this in the safest way is a nowaday priority. Luckily, the Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center made sure you will have some private experiences.
Whether you are going alone, with friends, family, or children, you can enjoy the fresh air and the safe environment while also doing some fun activities.
Have you ever tried the ziplines? You can start exploring the 3 year-round courses and try from 2 to 7 zipline courses. These activities are good for ages 5 and all up.
- Elevated Obstacle Courses
Do you have the courage to handle the 22 elevated obstacles? This fun trial, also known as the EOC was designed for individuals and families alike. It combines both the challenge and the fun part.
- Wildlife Center
Children will love this activity. So hand-on fun! While taking the Wildlife Center, you can admire from snakes to lizards, birds, or turtles. Kids will love this interactive activity, while also meeting some of the fauna in Lancaster County.
- Escape Rooms at Refreshing Mountain
Yes, you heard it right. You can now have an Escape Room experience right at the Refreshing Mountain. This type of indoor entertainment happens for groups, and it is nicely themed, designed, and built by the staff here.
- Farm Animal Program
This type of program wants to change the regular “petting zoo” activity and instead, offer the chance to children and adults to meet animals hands-on, and also have an interactive opportunity. People learn how to protect animals, to care for them, and to respect their wild lives.
- Refreshing Mountain Cabin Suites
These are perfect for families, whether they are small and numerous ones. You can rent one of the Refreshing Mountain Cabin Suites and enjoy their comfort, quietness, and the relaxing atmosphere. They are clean and come with modern amenities too.
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Whether you will have a walk in the natural preserves, do some hiking, or enjoy a biking trail, Lancaster County has so many outdoor activities to offer. We hope you will enjoy at least one from those enumerated today.
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