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Best Backpacking In Pennsylvania

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Pennsylvania.

Allegheny National Forest

Trout bigger than footballs. Old-growth trees nearly 400 years old. Views as far as the eye can see. This can’t be Pennsylvania! But hike past rare Eastern old-growth forests on the 87 miles of North Country Trail that snake through the state’s only national forest and you’ll believe. The trail follows old railroad beds down low, then ascends to rock outcrops and as many green, rolling mountains as your scenery-deprived eyes can handle.

Contact: Allegheny National Forest, (814) 723-5150; www.fs.fed.us/r9/allegheny.

Black Forest Trail

Numerous thousand-foot climbs and descents along this 42-mile loop take you from babbling brooks hidden among thick timber stands to breathtaking views without a manmade structure in sight. Go midweek and your only companions will be the shadowy light and cool comfort of the forest-and maybe a timber rattler or two.

Contact: Keystone Trails Association, P.O. Box 251, Cogan Station, PA 17728; www.pennaweb.com/kta.

Appalachian Trail

Colorful leaves tumble from the trees, opening a window to the fall sky above the 1,635-foot-high Pinnacle. Hop on the Appalachian Trail near this overlook and follow it past famed Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on one of the most beautiful stretches of trail in Pennsylvania and one of the best migration-viewing hikes anywhere.

Contact: Appalachian Trail Conference, 304-535-6331; www.atconf.org.

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