Fall Foliage Hikes In and Around Lancaster County

October 2, 2012

Sure you can drive around to see Lancaster County’s brilliant fall foliage, but it’s so much more fun to get out and EXPERIENCE it first hand.  Lancaster County offers a variety of hiking opportunities, from paved and maintained rail trails to natural trails through the woods that will put you among the trees and falling leaves.  All the better to hear the crunch of leaves under your feet, feel the crisp air blowing against your face and smell the wonderful scents of autumn!  These are great hikes practically year-round, but when fall arrives, they’re all the better for the wonderful fall colors to accompany the great views and possible eagle / hawk sightings.  Here are a few options for you to consider… all within easy driving distance of the Historic Smithton Inn.

Rail Trails:
Ephrata Linear Park (1 mile):  This trail is just a half mile from the Inn and is one mile in length.  If you’re looking for a pleasant, easy walk to start off or wind down your day, this is a great place to do it.  You can increase the distance by starting out at the Smithton, or you can park your car in the lot at the start of the trail.  Link

Lebanon Valley Rail Trail
Lebanon Valley Rail Trail (14.5 miles):  Running along the corridor of the old Cornwall-Lebanon Railroad, the 14.5-mile trail lets you experience the beauty of farmland and forest, visit landmarks of the area’s historical heritage and sample the wide array of outdoor recreation that the region has to offer.  Link

Lititz/Warwick Trailway (2.9 miles):  Built on an abandoned corridor of the Reading Railroad, this trail traverses developed and agricultural land in the township and the borough of Lititz. The trail is a walking, jogging, biking, and cross-country skiing destination for the community.  There’s talk of this trail being joined up with the Ephrata trail, our fingers are crossed!  Link

Rugged Hikes:
Conestoga Trail – Section A:  The Conestoga Trail is mapped in 4 sections, and I mention “Section A” because it’s close to the Historic Smithton Inn and particularly wooded and beautiful. 
Conestoga Trail Section A Map  and Section A Detailed Description  

Mason-Dixon Trail:  The Mason-Dixon Trail is a 191-mile trail that’s the result of the vision of one man that’s been carried out through grassroots efforts of volunteers.  The trail goes from the Brandywine Trail in Chester County, through Delaware, over to Havre de Grace Maryland, before heading back through Pennsylvania, mostly along the River Hills on the west shore of the Susquehanna River.  This particular hike is a 5 mile “shuttle” or a 10 mile round trip and is beautifully scenic… definitely worth checking out! Link
Hawk Point Overlook

Susquehannock State Park:  This wonderful park sits along the Susquehanna River south of Columbia, PA.  It offers over 5 miles of trails that vary in difficulty between easy, flat trails to difficult climbs that truly give your quads a workout!  In addition to beautiful scenery and a wonderful canopy of trees, this is a great park for spotting hawks, buzzards and yes, bald eagles!  There are several information stations in the park with great trail maps, but we also have them here at the Inn too.  Link