Ricketts Glen State Park

This favorite Pennsylvania destination of our editors is filled with old trees, shale cliffs, wildlife and stunning wildflowers.
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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