Five Great Walks / Hikes in Lancaster County

May 22, 2020

Worried that there might not be anything to do in Lancaster County in a post-Covid-19 world?  NEVER FEAR!  Lancaster County has some great natural beauty and there’s no better way to enjoy it than getting out of your car for a leisurely walk or moderate hike!  We’ve got everything from scenic overlooks and rolling hills & farmland to rail trails and craggy rock hikes.  No matter what your speed or fitness level, we can help you enjoy our fresh air & sunshine.  And the best part is that this is the ultimate ‘social distancing’ way to spend your free time… out in nature, soaking in medicine for your soul!  

Scenic Overlook: Chickie’s Rock

The parking area for Chickies Rock is located along Route 441 just north of Columbia. Here are the coordinates: 40.051511, -76.516860 Chickies Rock Overlook Trail is a 1.4 kilometer popular loop trail located near Columbia, Pennsylvania that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels.  As its name implies, hikers on the Chickies Rock Overlook Trail will be rewarded with a beautiful vista at the end of their walk, enjoying the spectacular view of the river and, in the distance, rural landscapes and the surrounding communities of Marietta, Columbia, and Wrightsville. While You’re There:
  • If you have the time, another great nearby walk is the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail!
  • Before you return home, grab a bite at Cookies & Cream. Located at 101 N. Front St., Columbia.  They offer a variety of coffee drinks as well as ice cream and pastries, wraps, salads and sandwiches.  Tell the owners, Megan & Jim that we sent you!
winters leadership memorial
Winters Leadership Memorial along the Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail

Rail Trail: Warwick-Ephrata Rail Trail

229 Railroad Ave, Ephrata, PA 17522 This trails is a popular trail that connects two cute northern Lancaster County small towns, Lititz and Ephrata.  The trail is 7 miles long, so great for a leisurely bike ride or an ambitious walk/run.  There are lots of sights along the way including murals, Nibble McGibbles’ Gnome Village, the Cocalico Creek and rolling farmland. While You’re There:
  • Just a stone’s throw off the trail is Reiff’s Market, an Amish-owned farmers market. Stop in to buy homegrown fruits and vegetables, fresh baked breads and treats or homemade jams & preserves… plus other locally made items.
  • At either end of the trail you’ll find plenty of terrific dining, shopping or drinking options where you can soak in the atmosphere and ‘recover’ for your return trip.
   

Hidden Gem: Landis Woods Trails

2369 Lititz Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601 Landis Woods is a nearly 70 acre park in Manheim Township, making it one of the area’s largest tracts of natural undeveloped land.  The park has three well marked trails with different lengths and difficulties.  Grab a trail map at the Boettcher House and explore the natural beauty and wildlife in the maze of trails.  The blue trail is a 1.5 mile loop, yellow is a 1 mile loop. While You’re There:
  • Check out the Boettcher House, built in 1920 and previously known as Napolitan House. The cozy, cabinlike structure with a patio contains the archives of Manheim township history, but Its main use is as a nature education center. A taxidermy display allows visitors to see brown bear cubs, a snowy owl, a variety of birds and foxes found in Lancaster County.
  • When you’re done with your hike, take 501 into downtown Lititz and enjoy a bite to eat & cup of coffee at the famous Tomato Pie Café, situated right across the street from Lititz Spring Park & next door to the Wilbur Chocolate Shop!
   

Rock Outcrops & Forest: Governor Dick Observation Tower

Parking for the trailhead is along Pinch Road at the following coordinates: 40.244086, -76.463109 The Park at Governor Dick has 14 miles of trails where visitors like to hike, bike and rock climb.  The most popular hike is the trail to the Governor Dick Observation Tower. The hike to the Tower is roughly 1.5 miles one way. It offers a wide variety of terrain, from wide and flat to narrow and steep. While a nice walk through the woods, the trails aren’t especially interesting, it’s what’s at the end that’s the real treat… the Observation Tower.  Climb ladders to the top of the 66 ft structure and on a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with views of five counties: Lebanon, Lancaster, Dauphin, Berks, and York.. While You’re There:
  • Head into Mt. Gretna for some delicious ice cream at the Jigger Shop
  • Head into Cornwall for a drink and/or food at the historic Blue Bird Inn where they have a great outdoor deck.
   

Views & Ice Cream: Horseshoe Trail

2224 Furnace Hills Pike, Newmanstown, PA 17073 This is an ‘out-n-back’ hike and if you do the whole thing it’ll be 8 miles.  The grade is moderate & the trail can be narrow in parts.  Wear good hiking shoes.  Park your car at the Pretzel Hut and walk through the petting zoo to hike your way up to Eagles Rock Overlook for a panoramic view of Lancaster County farmland.  From there you follow the well-market trail and descend through the woods to the main road (322).  Keep an eye out for birds and wild life along the way. While You’re There:
  • Despite the name, the Pretzel Hut is actually well known for their great Ice Cream, we highly recommend you give it a try!
  • The PA Wolf Sanctuary is just a few miles from this trail. This family-owned wolf refuge has regular tours and special events, check out their website for times and details.
    Walking / hiking any of these magnificent trails will leave you refreshed and planning your next trip back. After experiencing some of Lancaster’s best scenery, you may just contemplate moving here so you can see these sights all the time.       Visiting Lancaster County this summer? Book a stay at the Historic Smithton Inn, a historic-hip bed and breakfast in Ephrata, PA.