Looking for a hobby that supports both physical and mental wellness? Hiking is the perfect choice. From a physical standpoint, hiking improves bone density, balance, weight control and muscle strength. Its mental health benefits include decreases in anxiety, depression and stress.
While these and other benefits seem like ample evidence to convince non-hikers to lace up their boots and hit the trails, it may not be enough. It may take some extra incentive to motivate most folks to consider hiking as a hobby. And we understand that. Hiking can be exhausting. While the physical and mental health benefits are rewarding, folks may need a more immediate reward for their hiking efforts. A reward in the form of a spectacular view!
To encourage folks to pursue hiking as a hobby or outdoor activity, we’ve compiled this brief list of some of the best scenic overlooks that are a part of Pennsylvania hiking trails.
Let’s start with one of the most popular spots in the state. A rite of passage for many Penn State students and alumni, Mount Nittany offers gorgeous views of the college’s main campus. Maintained by the Mount Nittany Conservancy, there are seven scenic overlooks along the eight miles of hiking trails. Of the seven views, the Mike Lynch Overlook is considered the best. Named in honor of one of the many dedicated volunteers who help maintain the trails, the Mike Lynch Overlook gives hikers beautiful views of the main campus, Beaver Stadium and the downtown State College area.
Bake Oven Knob
Given its unique name due to its resemblance of a bowl-shaped cooking accessory, Bake Oven Knob is a popular hiking destination for many reasons. Besides being ideal for moderate hiking, it also accommodates walkers, trail runners, and nature enthusiasts. Part of the Appalachian Trail in Germansville, PA, Bake Oven Knob is also a dog-friendly environment as long as they are leased at all times on the trail. However, the best part of hiking Bake Oven Knob is the breathtaking views of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Chimney Rocks Park
What’s so special about Chimney Rocks Park? It’s named after the tall limestone pillars found at the top of the mountain. Legend has it that the tallest of these pillars was once used as the lookout spot by local Native Americans. There’s a giant stone furnace at the base of the park. And visitors can enjoy three spectacular scenic overlooks! The Lower Overlook offers incredible views of area mountains and nearby Hollidaysburg. The Middle Overlook is a great spot for fall foliage. However, the Upper Overlook is the prime spot. From its fenced-in observation deck, hikers can indulge in a perfect panoramic view of the park.
Looking for gorgeous river views? Then Hawn’s Overlook is the spot to hike. A moderate, dog-friendly trail, Hawn’s Overlook is ideal for all hiking skill levels. Located in Huntingdon, PA, it’s an extremely popular destination due to its magnificent 180 degree view of Raystown Lake and Hawn’s Peninsula.
Whether you’re an avid hiker looking for some new trails or a first-timer looking for popular places to hike, these trails are perfect for you. Plus, you get the added bonus of rewarding your hard work with impressive views of our great state!