Things to Do in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

Things to Do in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
The Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, a rather loosely defined Appalachian region in the northeastern part of the state, draw thousands of visitors annually from nearby metropolitan areas like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Some 2,000 square miles of the sandstone-based Pocono Plateau and adjacent Valley and Ridge country constitute the greater Poconos, which offer the outdoors enthusiast myriad possibilities for adventure.

Delaware Water Gap

Check out one of the most famous of the "water gaps" of the Appalachians, where rivers eroded through emerging mountain fronts. On the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, at the eastern entrance to the Poconos, the Delaware River flows through a mile-wide chasm, 1,200 feet below Mount Tammany and Mount Minsi. Boating, hiking and rock-climbing are popular pursuits in the 69,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Between early December and late March, visit the Gap to view bald eagles, which fish the Delaware's ice-free sections during winter. Smithfield and Milford Beaches in Pennsylvania and the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center in New Jersey are prime spots for watching these impressive birds.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Visitor Services Division
Delaware Water Gap NRA
Bushkill, PA 18324-9999
(570) 426-2452

Appalachian Trail

Hikers on the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail skirt the Pocono Mountains. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area includes 27 miles of the famous route, which spans the crest of the ancient Appalachians from Georgia to Maine.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
P.O. Box 50
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
(304) 535-6270


Play in the Poconos' ample snows, which have long attracted skiers and other winter enthusiasts. Many ski resorts dot the region, including Camelback, typically open from December through April. Cross-country skiing options are plentiful; many area state parks, like Nescopeck and Lehigh Gorge, as well as private resorts and recreation areas, offer Nordic routes.

Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
1004 Main Street Stroudsburg, PA 18360
(800) POCONOS (762-6667)

Raptor Watching

Visit 2,600-acre Hawk Mountain Sanctuary along the eponymous ridge of the Poconos for some of the most spectacular viewing of autumn hawk migrations in the United States. Some 20,000 eagles, hawks and falcons cruise over Hawk Mountain during their fall migration; raptors often travel along such scarps to take advantage of thermal updrafts. The surge of traveling birds of prey, ushered in by kestrels, ospreys, bald eagles and broad-winged hawks in August and September, peaks in the middle of October and diminishes by the middle of December.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
1700 Hawk Mountain Rd
Kempton, PA 19529
(610) 756-6961

Article Written By Ethan Schowalter-Hay

Ethan Schowalter-Hay is a writer and naturalist living in Oregon. He has written for the "Observer," the Bureau of Land Management and various online publishers. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from the University of Wisconsin.

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