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Hiking in Erie, PA: 8 great trails throughout the region

While the Erie, PA area is best known for its beautiful lake, that isn’t the region’s only outdoor marvel. In fact, the area boasts many scenic hiking routes for locals and visitors alike to traverse. With each of our recommendations, remember the strength of Erie’s winters! Certain trails will be more difficult to navigate with multiple inches of snow on the ground. 


Here are 8 great hiking spots within an hour of Erie. 


Erie Bluffs State Park (About 34 Minutes from Erie)


Address: 11100 W Lake Rd, Lake City, PA 16423


Right on the shoreline of Lake Erie, Erie Bluffs State Park offers 5.16 miles of various scenic trails for outdoor enthusiasts to explore. Perfect for hiking, fishing, observing wildlife, geocaching and more, the park is open daily from dusk until dawn. The Transition Trail is an easy 1.1 mile hike, perfect for families looking to get active outdoors. The 0.3 mile Black Oak Savanna trail is also an easy hike for families. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, this path “follows the northern edge of an ancient relic dune,” is a great location to see Black Oak trees, and is “a rare habitat in Pennsylvania.”


Other easy trails in the state park include the Bluffs Edge Trail, Timber Trail, and the Whitetail Crossing Trail.  For those looking for more of a challenge, Fishermans Footpath offers one of the most difficult hiking experiences in the park; in exchange for all the hard work, PA.gov notes that explorers are rewarded with phenomenal sunsets and the possibility of gorgeous pieces of beach glass. Other difficult paths include the Duck Run Trail (offering more Lake Erie views), Lookout Trail, West Overlook Trail, and Wildflower Way. 


Asbury Woods (About 20 Minutes from Erie)


Address: 4105 Asbury Rd, Erie, PA 16506


Asbury Woods, with its approximate 234 natural acres of fields, forests, and wetlands, features a variety of trails for all kinds of hikers. As mentioned by Greater Erie Regional Trails, the 9 hiking paths range in distance, from the ADA accessible Boardwalk trail (0.25 miles) to the Greenway trail (2.2 miles). Altogether, you can traverse over 5 miles! There’s geocaching opportunities at Asbury and four unique compass courses, the latter of which allows you to practice navigation in a safe and fun environment. While the trails are most suitable for warmer months, Asbury Woods is open for all seasons. This location also provides space for biking, running, cross country skiing, fishing, and dog walking. It’s family-friendly with its picnic areas, and it has accessible restrooms.


Presque Isle State Park (About 12 Minutes from Erie)


Address: 301 Peninsula Dr, Erie, PA 16505


When most folks think of Presque Isle, they think of days on the lake. However, Presque Isle State Park also offers 11 miles of trails for visitors to discover. The Karl Boyes Multi-Purpose National Recreation Trail is a 13.5 mile ADA compliant paved circuit. In the winter months, a portion of the trail is plowed for hikers. In general, the park offers a variety of easy trails to discover. For more of a challenge, the Gull Point trail is a 1.5 mile route consisting of a mostly sandy path. That path, according to the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, is becoming more water covered as lake elevation levels fluctuate. To be safe, it is suggested that hikers first stop off at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center to find out about trail conditions, and that they bring the proper footwear.


Visitors on the trails have the opportunity to encounter beaver activity, song birds, and other ecological beauties. For history buffs, some of the trails have interesting backgrounds. The North Pier Trail, for example, showcases an old firing range that was used for WWII training. The Graveyard Pond Trail is said to be the final resting place for many of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s men during the winter of 1812-1814.

Along with hiking, you’ll find opportunities for biking, cross country skiing, and more.


Wintergreen Gorge (About 13 Minutes from Erie)


Address: 3399 Cooper Rd, Erie, PA 16510


Wintergreen Gorge is the perfect spot for a brisk walk and a quick breath of fresh air.

Offering one trail, this spot is open to dog-walkers, hikers, and bicyclists. Right by the Penn State Behrend campus, the 1.2 mile stretch features an awesome view of Four Mile Creek and Gorge Overlook. AllTrails.com states that the best time to visit this destination is from May to October. Composed of compact dirt and natural surfaces, the hike usually takes around 1 hour to complete. The trail also features a 0.5 mile ADA accessible stretch and 2 ADA parking spaces close by. 


Picnicana Park (About 19 Minutes from Erie)


Address: 9260 Old French Rd, Waterford, PA 16441


Did you know this park was originally a picnic area in 1951? Greater Erie Regional Trails lists that Picnicana Park features a 1.5 mile main looped trail and 3 other intersecting trails. AllTrails.com users noted that completing the yellow loop trail can be done in about 30 minutes. All paths in Picnicana are considered easy, so it is the perfect spot for beginners or families looking for an outdoor adventure. The true beauty can be enjoyed most during the summer months. It is notably a very peaceful spot where it’s likely that hikers, runners, or walkers will not encounter many others on their journey.


Pleasant Ridge Park (About 25 Minutes from Erie)


Address: 8271 Barker Road, Girard, PA 16417


Pleasant Ridge Park offers 11 half-mile and under trails; the variety of short trails allows hikers to combine them into a circuit of their choosing. According to AllTrails.com, most hikers choose to take a 1.9 mile loop around the park, which takes about 39 minutes to complete. This is a popular trail for hikers, walkers, and dog-walkers, and it's thoroughly enjoyed from March through November. 


Scott Park (About 11 Minutes from Erie)


Address: W 6th St Erie, PA 16507

Phone: (814) 835-4122


Scott Park offers a myriad of trails to discover.  According to Greater Erie Regional Trails, It has a 0.7 mile fitness path complete with 18 different workout stations along the way. The Bay Trail is 2.2 miles long and offers a gorgeous glimpse at Presque Isle Bay. The trail path can also be shortened to the internal loops labeled “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “expert.” Perfect for a quick afternoon adventure, the park is open year-round, though late spring and summer months tend to be the ideal times to visit.


Elk Creek Trail (About 32 Minutes from Erie)


Address: Park Dr, Girard, PA 16417


Located in Waterworks Park in the Girard/Lake City area, the Elk Creek Trail is a 1.75 mile path perfect for an afternoon stroll. Along with the hiking path, the park also offers ADA accessible park amenities like a fishing pier on the pond. Additionally, fishing, bird watching, bicycling, and dog walking are encouraged.


Hiking gear for Erie and Pennsylvania


Need some new hiking gear for your next adventure? Want your outdoor gear to be handmade and sustainable? Hikes and Hose has affordable items like our water bottle holders, waterproof fanny pack, adventure hip pack, and more. We’ll customize just about any piece of gear with your special request. Check out our webstore today.


Happy hiking!



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