Have Shoes-Will Travel. A Walking Trail Guide in Lebanon County.
Guide to Walking Trails in Lebanon County
Lebanon County is located in south central Pennsylvania, approximately 25 miles east of the state capital (Harrisburg). This quiet and rural county sprawls 363 square miles of beautiful countryside, but has many urban features of dining, shopping, music and theater events within close proximity. Even though Lebanon is one of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, there are numerous benefits for outdoor enthusiasts like walkers, hikers, runners, and exploring tourists. Lebanon features many scenic areas and parks that offer magnificent views for exercising and enjoying nature’s beauty.
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
Middle Creek is a beautiful 6,254-acre area, owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, is set aside for the protection and preservation of wildlife. Located along the border of Lebanon and Lancaster counties, this area is a goldmine for hikers, bird watchers and photographers. The area lakes seasonally get up to 100,000 migrating snow geese and is home to nesting eagles, grouse, pheasants, quail, songbirds and whitetail deer.
Memorial Lake State Park
Memorial Lake State Park is surrounded by Fort Indiantown Gap, the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guard in Lebanon County. Memorial Lake State Park was established in 1945 in memory and honor of Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers who served in World War I and World War II.
Hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing, and ice skating are some of the recreational activities available at the park.
Fishing and ice fishing are popular recreational activities at the park. The common game fish are largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, yellow perch, white crappie, black crappie, bullhead, channel catfish, carp, sucker, trout, and various species of panfish. Memorial Lake is a warm water fishery.
Lebanon Valley Rail Trail
Created from the former Cornwall-Lebanon Railroad built by Robert H. Coleman in the 1880’s, the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail follows a route rich with social and economic history.
During the 1800’s and early 1900’s, the railroad provided transport to the Pennsylvania National Guard training encampment near Mt. Gretna. Eventually passenger service ceased, and the Pennsylvania Railroad acquired the line. Freight service to the main line in Lancaster County continued until Hurricane Agnes washed out sections of the track in 1972. In 1999 Lebanon Valley Rails-to-Trails acquired the corridor to develop a multi-use trail which expands from the southwestern border of Lebanon County and goes through Colebrook, Mt. Gretna, Cornwall (including Cornwall Manor), Cornwall Manor’s Buckingham and Woods Campuses and the city of Lebanon.
The Rail Trail offers miles of paths for walkers, runners, bikers and horseback-riders.
South Hills Park
South Hills Park consists of over 160 acres and is located along South Lincoln Avenue north of the Lebanon VA Medical Center. A 1.2 mile long walking/biking path goes around the park. Other facilities at the Park include tennis courts, softball and baseball fields, golf driving range, soccer field, basketball court, volleyball court, sand volleyball court, football field, fitness course, our tot lot, “Kiddie” beach and the biddy basketball court.
Situated on 109 acres of meadows and woods, you will find the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the U.S – The Union Canal. The canal, proposed by William Perm as early as 1690, was desired to tap the agricultural wealth of the Commonwealth and to give access to a second settlement on the Susquehanna. The Tunnel was completed in 1827 and today is a treasured National Historic Landmark.
Visitors can walk on the towpath once trodden by mules, picnic at the mouth of the tunnel, or climb the marked trails through the wooded hill adjacent to the canal. The park is open from dawn to dusk. Boat rides on the canal and through the tunnel are available Sundays during the months of June through October.
The 100-mile Lebanon County Heritage Trail is an effort to preserve the unique cultural, historical and natural resources of the Lebanon Valley. The trail spans the entire county with multiple stops focusing on Lebanon’s history.
Swatara State Park
The 3,520-acre Swatara State Park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated in the Swatara Valley, between Second and Blue mountains. The scenic Swatara Creek meanders the length of the park and is surrounded by forests and wetlands that support a diversity of wildlife.
Many of the trails are flat and allow hikers to choose all types of distances. Swatara State Park is an excellent choice for hiking, biking, walking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, hunting and skiing.
Lion’s Lake Park, located a few miles from Cornwall Manor, is easy to find and well worth the effort to get there. The most distinguishing feature of the park is its 13 acre lake which is open to fishing and boating. The lake is stocked with trout by the PA Fish and Boat Commission. Other features of the park include a paved walking path which is great for biking, walking, and running. Along the way there are numerous park benches to take a rest upon and take in the scenery around you. There’s also a softball field, soccer field, modern playground equipment, and restroom facilities, and lots of open space to enjoy time with your visiting grandchildren or have a picnic with your neighbors.
Quittie Creek Nature Park
Located in Annville, the Quittie Creek Nature Park has 23 acres of woodland area, a quarry and recreation park. Its central walking path meanders beside the spring-fed Quittapahilla Creek, a restored trout stream. As you walk along the streamside path, you can spot great blue heron, who fish in the stream. Woodland trails take you past the century-old oak and sycamore trees, through blue hyacinths, jack-in–the-pulpits, and white bloodroot flowers in the spring, up a steep serpentine staircase made of railroad ties, and down into the deep quarry with a vernal pond filled with tadpoles. The Quittie Creek Nature Park is a point of interest in Annville and an attraction for Lebanon County and beyond.
Park at Governor Dick
Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick is an 1105-acre stewardship forest and nature center nestled in the woods of Mt Gretna that offers educational programs, guided hikes and nature walks, outdoor events as well as 15 miles of trails in the park enjoyed by hikers, bikers, and outdoor fanatics. A popular hiking spot is the Observation Tower where you can see five counties on a clear day!
Coleman Memorial Park
Coleman Memorial Park has been a staple in the Lebanon community for more than 75 years and has provided families with relaxation and memories. The park offers the community numerous recreational sports, walking trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
Even though the grand mansions that at one time graced the grounds of the park are gone, a leisurely stroll through the park will find historic markers where homes once stood, partially restored gardens, and evidence of the mansions as well as industrial ruins that were part of the Lebanon North Furnace that the Coleman family once owned. Were as the mansions are gone, the Homestead’s carriage house and garage as well as the two gate houses are still standing. Coleman Memorial Park invites you to explore the park, hike the trail or picnic in the shade.
Lace Up and Get Moving!
Whether you just want to embark on a leisurely stroll, a challenging hike or take in the beautiful scenes of nature, these Lebanon County trails and parks are sure to please.