Today's guest blogger is Heather Manning who lives in Bethlehem, Pa. with her partner and their sons, Lucas and Miles. Together they hike, paddle, run, swim, visit farms, and attend festivals throughout the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley area. Her blog originally appeared on Kids Outdoors Philadelphia, a free online community from the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Even though the leaves have fallen and we are getting into the winter months, there are still plenty of destinations for family hiking in the Philadelphia Region and Lehigh Valley. Below are a few of my top picks for places that are perfect for winter hikes.
Located in Montgomery County, the 20-mile Perkiomen Trail is a great place to go for winter hiking and outdoor exploring with the family. The trail, which varies in terrain and difficulty, has all sorts of beautiful scenery and runs through several public parks and historic areas. If you are interested in some of the historical spots, you can stop at either the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove or Pennypacker Mills. Check out the events calendar for some holiday activities taking place at these two historic destinations. As a side note, Perkiomen Trail runs right through two neat towns—Schwenksville and Collegeville. They are great pit stops for eating.
The Saucon Rail Trail, which is located in the Lehigh Valley, running from Hellertown to Coopersburg is a little over 7 miles long and is perfect if you are looking for an easy, scenic, and leisurely walk. The trail is flat and wide for the most part, making it a good trail for bike riding with children. If the weather permits, Upper Saucon Park is a good spot to stop for snacks or to take a break for some fun at their playground. The trail runs right through this park and it's one of my family's go-to destinations when we are looking for a shorter day activity.
Valley Forge National Historical Park, in Montgomery County, is a fantastic destination no matter what time of year. This 3,500-acre park has plenty of paved trails for walking and bike riding, along with many historical stops throughout. There are self-guided tours and various historical points of interest to stop in. The visitor center is open daily with a few exceptions on holidays. Check here to read about my family's day trip to Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Tyler State Park, located in beautiful Bucks County, has much to offer year-round. It is a great family hiking destination, with areas for picnicking (weather permitting) and a playground for kids. The park has plenty of different areas for hiking along the Neshaminy Creek that vary in grade and paved paths for biking. There is even a great sledding spot by the Upper Plantation Picnicking Area, if there happens to be snow while you are there.
Located in Lehigh County, the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary, which is the headquarters for the Wildlands Conservancy, is a perfect trip to take for a shorter day hike or if you have younger children. My soon-to-be 3-year-old loves spending time walking on the boardwalk along the Little Lehigh Creek and hiking through the wooded trails. There is plenty of wildlife to be seen here, even during the winter months. Be sure to check out the Wildlands Conservancy's activity calendar. They hold great events throughout the entire year for families and children.