Our editors were loath to fess up this favorite destination in the heart of the Poconos. In a relatively small area (13,050 acres) hikers can encounter 22 named waterfalls, giant 500-year-old trees, shale cliffs, wildlife, and brilliant wildflowers. The Glens Natural Area hike is a 7.4-mile loop that tours all these sights. The loop starts at Kitchen Creek trailhead on PA 118, 25 miles west of Wilkes-Barre. Combine the Kitchen Creek, Glen Leigh, Highland, and Ganoga Glen Trails. To step up the adventure, go with crampons in winter, when icy trails create a slick skate park.
drive time: Philadelphia: 2 1/2 hours
guides:Hiking Pennsylvania, by Rhonda and George Ostertag ($17). Free map available at park office.
contact: Ricketts Glen State Park, (570) 477-5675; www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/ricketts.htm