Centered around the town of Jim Thorpe, the Pocono Mountains region in eastern Pennsylvania comprises Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties and offers a wealth of outdoor adventure. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, southeast of Scranton, is a 40-mile protected stretch of the Delaware River. The National Park Service offers camping spots within the park for canoeists and kayakers embarking on multiday excursions. Campsites are on a first come, first served basis, and as of September 2009 there was no reservation system.
The Appalachian Trail passes through 229 miles of Pennsylvania and connects some of the state's most pristine state parks and forests. The Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail is known by many hikers as "Rocksylvania" because of the jagged stones that seem to be cemented into the trail. Persistent hikers are rewarded by the many scenic vistas of sweeping valleys along the trail. The trail crosses the Mason-Dixon Line just east of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and runs north into Caledonia State Park. After crossing the Susquehanna River, the trail continues through the largely undeveloped Swatara State Park. The trail passes Hawk Mountain Sanctuary before finally crossing into New Jersey at the Delaware Water Gap. Hikers, be warned; summers in Pennsylvania can be sweltering, and water at times can be scarce.
Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands region is southeast of Pittsburgh and features 10 state parks and forests. The Great Allegheny Passage was the first rail trail inducted into the Rail Trail Hall of Fame, a program run by the Rails-to-Trail Conservancy that recognizes exemplary rail-trails around the country . Linking up to C&O Towpath in Maryland, provides a motor free pathway for cyclists and hikers from Pittsburgh to Washington. Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, is a mecca for rafters looking to travel the Youghiogheny River, which features class V rapids along various points on its northward course from the Mason-Dixon Line to Pittsburgh.
Susquehanna River Valley
The Susquehanna River, at approximately 444 miles long, is the longest river and the eastern United States, and as the country's longest river without commercial boat traffic, it provides ample opportunities for canoeing and kayaking. The Susquehanna River Trail Association works to build and maintain campsites on 24 islands between Harrisburg and Sunbury owned by the state. Mountain bikers will want to check out Bald Eagle State Forest with its 140 miles of forestry roads and 97 miles of bike trails. The White Mountain Wild Area is a 3,581-acre protected area in Union County and is a showcase of Pennsylvania's natural beauty untouched by human hands.
Allegheny National Forest
The Allegheny National Forest encompasses nearly 513,000 acres of managed forest land in northwestern Pennsylvania and is within a day's driving distance of nearly one-third of the U.S. population. Highlights of the forest include 20 campgrounds (674 sites) ranging from primitive to highly developed, six boat launches on the Allegheny Reservoir and seven canoe access sites. The forest also features 201 miles of hiking trails, 53 miles of cross-country skiing trails, four beaches and three scenic overlooks.