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Thursday, January 20, 2022

6 Pocono Hikes to Catch the Foliage Before It Falls!

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By: Emily Whalen

You’re in luck: peak fall color time in the Pocono Mountains is in a few weeks! Trust us, you’ll want to see this up close. From meandering to challenging, we’ve got just the right hike for you to view the astounding foliage this season.

The famed Appalachian Trail marks the southern border of the Poconos, and a plethora of varied trail systems throughout the region lead to waterfalls, spectacular views and quiet woodland walks surrounded by beautiful plant and wildlife. A trek in the Pocono Mountains can take the form of a restful and leisurely stroll, an educational experience or rigorous exercise. Wander through old growth forests, wetlands and rocky outcrops in our national, state and local parks.

Ready to hit the trails? Read on for six of the top hikes in the Pocono Mountains! We’ve got all the tips and information you need to know, from distance and difficulty to scenic highlights and pet-friendliness.

  1. Shohola Falls Trail
  2. Wallenpaupack Lake Trail
  3. McDade Recreational Trail
  4. Irving Cliff Trail
  5. Lehigh Gorge Trail
  6. Mount Minsi via Appalachian Trail
See the sights around beautiful Lake Wallenpaupack! The Wallenpaupack Lake Trail is a gentle, three-mile trip along the Big Lake. The packed gravel path is an out-and-back route that heads over the dike and past the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center. Park in the lot near the intersection of Routes 6 and 507 to take this easy, lakeside walk.
  1. Shohola Falls Trail

Location: Route 6 in Shohola, PA

Distance: 0.6 miles round-trip

Terrain: Slick, rocky creekside

Difficulty: Easy

Approved Uses: Hiking

Scenery: Shohola Falls, woods, creek

Pet Friendly: Yes

Our Take: Looking for a quick hike with gorgeous scenery? You’ll find it here! This short trail parallels the waterfall on a declining rock path. If the falls are running with ample water, the excess water splashes the trail making it slippery, so watch your step. This hike brings you head-on to the falls, so don’t forget to bring the camera for a photo-op. The trailhead can be difficult to see from the road; slow down as you approach the location so as not to miss the entrance.

Our Advice: Use caution when navigating the rocks as you walk down to the waterfall.


  1. Wallenpaupack Lake Trail

Location: Hawley, PA at the intersection of Routes 6 and 507

Distance: 3 miles round-trip

Terrain: Packed gravel

Difficulty: Easy

Approved Uses: Walking, trail running and nature trips

Scenery: Lake Wallenpaupack, woods, wildlife

Pet Friendly: No

Our Take: Whether you choose to do half or all of this trail, it’s a great, gentle option for those who prefer a leisurely walk. The path around Lake Wallenpaupack features beautiful contrasting colors: cool lake blues and warm autumnal reds, oranges and yellows.

Our Advice: Visit the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center in Hawley for more information about the trail and surrounding area.


  1. McDade Recreational Trail

Location: Runs parallel to the Delaware River from Milford to Shawnee on Delaware

Distance: 31 miles with access points every few miles

Terrain: Packed gravel with some sturdy bridges and a few steep hills

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Approved Uses: Hiking and biking

Scenery: Delaware River, farm fields, woods, historic buildings

Pet Friendly: Yes

Our Take: The McDade Recreational Trail is ideal for leisure seekers. Access points every few miles permit easy on/off/turn-arounds. Bordered by the Delaware River on one side and trees and farm fields on the other, the trail is well maintained and clearly marked. Smithfield Beach is a picturesque place to stop and take in views of foliage along the river.

Our Advice: Map your route in advance. Grab trail maps and information at a National Park Service Visitors Center.


  1. Irving Cliff Trail

Location: Honesdale, PA

Distance: 1 mile round-trip

Terrain: Gravel and dirt

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Approved Uses: Hiking and trail running

Scenery: Downtown Honesdale, wild flowers

Pet Friendly: Yes

Our Take: When Washington Irving, author of classics like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” visited Honesdale in 1841, he was so eager to drag his friends up the hill to get a better view of the town, they named the hike after him! The route leading to the summit is uphill but relatively short, smooth and sweet. The path isn’t challenging, and the views of Honesdale nestled in the surrounding hills are breathtaking, especially during the autumn.

Our Advice: Don’t forget your camera to capture the panoramic fall small town view from the top.


  1. Lehigh Gorge Trail

Location: Lehigh Gorge State Park in Jim Thorpe, PA

Distance: 26 miles with access points throughout the trail

Terrain: Packed gravel with boardwalks and bridges

Difficulty: Moderate

Approved Uses: Hiking and biking

Scenery: Thick vegetation, the Pocono Plateau, Lehigh Gorge and the Lehigh River

Pet Friendly: Yes

Our Take: As part of the Delaware & Lehigh National Scenic Corridor, this trek has some of the most beautiful views in the region. The trail can be completed in its entirety or picked up at different access points to shorten the trip. The park has ample parking in multiple lots and well-maintained walkways with benches. Within easy distance of Jim Thorpe, this is a great trail for families, couples and groups.

Our Advice: Start at the Rockport access point and walk towards Jim Thorpe. The 15-mile downgrade makes for a nice, relaxing walk.

For safety reasons, the Glen Onoko Falls Trail is closed to hikers as of May 1, 2019.


  1. Mount Minsi via Appalachian Trail

Location: Delaware Water Gap, PA

Distance: 5 miles round-trip

Terrain: Gravel and rocky

Difficulty: Challenging

Approved Uses: Hiking

Scenery: Forest paths, panoramic views of Mount Tammany, Kittatinny Ridge and the Delaware River

Pet Friendly: Yes (must be kept on leash)

Our Take: Set out from the historic borough of Delaware Water Gap and follow the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail up into the mountains. Choose from two routes: follow the bends of the river and stop at scenic overlooks or take the fire road up. When you reach the top, you’ll see panoramic views of Mount Tammany across the Gap.

Our Advice: Arrive early to claim a parking spot, especially on weekends. Don’t forget sturdy shoes and plenty of water.

All the trails featured in this blog are free! For more ideas, check out other hiking trails in the area. While vacationing in the Poconos, remember to visit responsibly. Please be respectful when experiencing our public spaces, and take your trash with you to leave no trace.

We hope these guides inspire you to hit the trails before the leaves hit the ground. Find a place to stay so you can rest up before completing all six of these hikes, and save on your stay with fall offers. For weekly updates on the leaves, check out our fall foliage forecast to get the most out of autumn in the Pocono Mountains.

             (Pocono Mountains Blog)

Emily Whalen is the Communications Manager for the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. A small town coffee shop connoisseur and lifelong lover of the mountains, she is excited to share tips to help visitors make the most of their stay in the Poconos.

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