Ricketts Glen State Park

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

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