Whether you are interested in hiking, biking, kayaking, birdwatching or any other outdoor activity, the Lebanon Valley is the place to visit. See endangered or threatened species, kayak under a historic bridge, walk along a canal tow path or climb to the top of the Governor Dick tower for a bird’s eye view of the Lebanon Valley. Make a day of it or spend the weekend and enjoy all nature has to offer.

Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails offers fifteen miles of old railroad track beds converted into scenic trails for hiking, biking and horse back riding. The Root Beer Barrel, located at the Cornwall Trailhead, serves as a visitor information center. During summer months it is open as a refreshment stand. The Mt. Gretna Spur will take you to the village of Mt. Gretna and Governor Dick Park. You can pick up other trails, such as the Horseshoe Trail, and visit great bird watching spots, such as the Colebrook Meadows (formerly the Colebrook Ice Dam). Upland Sandpipers have been spotted in the meadows. Check out part of the Union Canal as you hike along the Union Canal Tow Path. Follow the rail trail to the Lancaster County line where it joins the Conewago Recreation Trail.

Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick Environmental Center offers educational programs, such as Firefly Fun, Summer Forest Story and Ant Antics for the family. Fitness Hikes, Golden Eagle Hikes and Music on the Porch or by the Fireplace are held monthly. Hike, bike, participate in a bouldering clinic or learn how to create a nature journal. Climb the tower for the best view of Lebanon Valley’s wild side.

Union Canal Tunnel Park offers narrated canal boat tours through the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the United States, a reconstructed 1790s Pennsylvania German barn, a picnic area and fourteen hiking trails, including the former canal tow path. All fourteen trails are under one mile making it a great place to take younger children to enjoy nature. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.

Memorial Lake State Park/Ft. Indiantown Gap is a place to enjoy hiking, picnicking, boating, fishing and wildlife watching. Birders have observed more than one hundred different land and water species during the migratory season. Ft. Indiantown Gap provides Eastern Native grassland habitat for the threatened Regal Fritillary butterfly. Tours of the grasslands are only offered two weekends a year but Memorial Lake State Park has a butterfly field for viewing.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area offers many activities. The main impoundment area and Willow Point Trail offer great viewing of migrating and resident waterfowl. The driving tour has seven stops to view birds and wildlife. The Conservation Trail is a good trail for children to hike. Valley View Trail connects to Horse-shoe Trail. Bring the whole family and “unplug” for the afternoon.

Swatara State Park offers hiking, biking, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing and wildlife watching. The parking has 18.2 miles of trails, including 2 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The Swatara Rail Trail is good for cross-country skiing when there is adequate snow. Hike Bear Hole Trail to the Bordner Cabin, the rustic equivalent to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and visit Aycrigg’s Falls. Kayak under Waterville Bridge registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Fossil collecting is a fun family-friendly activity. Swatara State Park is the largest of Pennsylvania Audubon’s Important Bird Area in Pennsylvania.

Visit Lebanon Valley promotes all the Lebanon Valley has to offer to residents and visitors alike. New this year — an outdoor guide.
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Mary Weigley is the Administrative Assistant for Visit Lebanon Valley. A native of Lebanon County, Mary promotes the heritage of her ancestors, her love of history and genealogy through her freelance writing. She is a board member of Historic Schaefferstown, Inc.