Rolling hills stretching out as far as the eye can see, rivers winding across the landscape, rocky cliffs framing your view: gazing down on the world from a mountaintop can offer new perspectives in more ways than one! If you're searching for new horizons and inspiring panoramic views, the Pocono Mountains is a great place to find them.
Whether you're looking for a vista you can reach by car, or you're ready to hike the extra mile to reach a breathtaking bird's-eye view, keep reading to learn about eight places in the Poconos to take in the scenery from the summit.
1. Appalachian Trail: Mount Minsi
If you've always wanted to experience mountain views along the famous Appalachian Trail, the Poconos is the perfect place to do it! Roughly 45 of the trail's 2,000 miles run through our region along the Kittatinny Ridge, passing through the welcoming small town of Delaware Water Gap and climbing up to the heights of Mount Minsi. For trekkers just looking for a day hike, the loop to the top and back takes about five hours and is fairly challenging, but the beautiful vistas are worth it.
2. Big Pocono State Park
You'll feel like you can touch the sky on the summit of Camelback Mountain in Big Pocono State Park. Plenty of rocky trails in the park's 1,306 acres challenge intrepid hikers, leading to elevations over 2,000 feet; but visitors can also drive up to Rim Road to enjoy sweeping views reaching across three states from the 1.4-mile, ADA-accessible drive. Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of the tables, just remember to clean up and leave no trace!
3. Cresco Heights
Located within State Game Lands 221 in Monroe County, Cresco Heights is one of the neighboring hills you can spot from the top of Big Pocono State Park. Park at the trailhead off of Hardytown Road and follow the fire road up. At the top of the three-mile, out-and-back trail, you'll find a 180 degree view of the beautiful surrounding landscape, including the outline of iconic Delaware Water Gap on the horizon.
4. Hickory Run State Park
Covering almost 16,000 acres and 44 miles of trails, Carbon County's Hickory Run State Park is home to the Skyline Trail and the Fireline Trail, both of which reward hikers with verdant views of Lehigh Gorge and the Lehigh River. There's also an ancient vista in the park that you won't want to miss. Formed by a glacier, Boulder Field is a National Natural Historic Site. The landscape is filled with enormous rocks and boulders, some up to 26 feet long, and it has been unchanged for the last 20,000 years.
5. Irving Cliff
Back in the nineteenth century, Washington Irving was so enthusiastic about dragging his friends up the wooded hills above Honesdale to get a view of the picturesque town below, they ended up naming the trail after him! Follow the winding path to the top of Irving Cliff, stand next to the star and take in the view the famed author was so excited about: church spires, quaint downtown streets and Victorian houses nestled in a hollow in the surrounding green hills are spread out before you.
7. Lake Wallenpaupack
Beautiful Lake Wallenpaupack has 5,700 sprawling, panoramic acres to take in, and with 52 miles of shoreline, there are plenty of options for finding a beautiful view. The Wallenpaupack Lake Trail faces west and is the perfect place to catch an uninterrupted sunset view. Relax on one of the benches and enjoy the sparkling waves stretched out in front of you with green hills rising behind them. Add an ice cream cone from nearby Gresham's Ice Cream Shoppe, and you have the perfect way to spend an evening.
6. Milford Knob Trail and Cliff Trail
While there are beautiful views to be found along the Appalachian Trail at the southern end of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, there are also stunning vistas to discover at the northern end. Head up the steep, 3.5-mile Milford Knob Trail for a view of charming Milford from above, and see the Upper Recreational Delaware River winding beneath you. The Cliff Park Trail connects eight miles of paths above the river, giving you plenty of options to explore. Another good place to pick up the Cliff Park Trail is across the road from the Raymondskill Falls trail.
8. Tank Hollow Vista
Adjacent to Lehigh Gorge State Park and the town of Jim Thorpe, the Tank Hollow Trail starts from State Game Lands 141 and winds up to reveal a breathtaking view of the curving Lehigh River. You might even spot some whitewater rafters navigating the rapids far below. Be sure to stay alert on the trail and watch for wildlife. For a complete Lehigh Gorge experience, make sure you also make time to navigate the D&L Trail that winds alongside the river.
Looking for scenery you can enjoy at a more leisurely pace? Many area restaurants like Blue Mountain's Slopeside Bar and Grill and Penn's Peak offer panoramic vistas as well as dining and entertainment. There are waterfalls galore and colorful Poconos sunsets to witness as well. Book a room at welcoming local lodgings, and you might even find an inspiring view out your window. Take advantage of special offers on accommodations to give yourself time to take in the natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains from every elevation and angle.