The Poconos Mountains are known for their gorgeous scenery as well as being a great spot for outdoor activities year-round. Roughly defined as the area overlooking the Delaware River to the east, bordered by Lake Wallenpaupack on the north and Lehigh Valley to the south, with the Wyoming Valley and Coal Region on the western side, the area offers a variety of scenic opportunities everywhere you look. It’s hard to choose, but here are our top five best views in the Poconos.
This 73-mile stretch of the Delaware River is not only popular with canoers, kayakers, and fishermen, it became part of America’s National Wild and Scenic River System in the late 1970’s. And for good reason. The Upper Delaware is the longest-free-flowing river in the northeast U.S. and has connections to a few historic Americans. This river valley is home to the nation’s oldest existing wire cable suspension bridge and to the historic Roebling Bridge, both designed by John A. Roebling. And the beautiful scenery makes it easy to see where western author Zane Grey got a lot of his inspiration and chose to live here. This section of the river is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It is part of the Atlantic Flyway and over 200 species of waterfowl and waterbirds enjoy the wooded riverside. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a few of the largest gathering of wintering bald eagles in the northeastern part of the country.
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River
274 River Road, Beach Lake PA
Located in the western foothills of the Poconos, this state park is famous for Boulder Field, a curious spot strewn with immense, round boulders. The field covers just a small area of this almost 16,000-acre park. Waterfall enthusiasts will enjoy the hike to Hawk Falls. Pretty Sand Spring Lake has a swimming beach and disc golf field, and the area has plenty of picnic tables perfect for enjoying a little refreshment while enjoying the Poconos views, especially when the native rhododendrons are blooming. Over 40 miles of trails for hiking and biking meander through the park, and there are plenty of picturesque streams for trout fishing. Once the snow starts, some trails stay open for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Hickory Run State Park
Bushkill Falls (known as the Niagara of Pennsylvania) is really a chain of eight waterfalls, pools and creeks. The Little Bush Kill and Pond Run Creeks tumble down the mountain, on their way to the Delaware River. Hike along one of the trails, or just view the gorgeous Main Falls from the main observation deck. A popular spot for birdwatching, Bushkill Falls is also popular with hikers and fishermen. Other activities include the Pennsylvania Wildlife Exhibit, Mining for Gemstones, the Bushkill Falls Mining Co. Maze, mini-golf, or you can rent a paddleboat for fun on Twin Lakes. The falls are privately owned, and there is an admission fee.
Bushkill Falls Road, Bushkill PA
Park hours vary during the year, depending on the season
The Delaware Water Gap has over 70,000 acres of dense forests, waterfalls and ravines, cool mountain streams and deep mountain ponds, and much more. Pocono residents consider it one of the natural wonders of the world. Raymondskill Fall (the tallest waterfall in the state), Silver Thread Falls and Dingmans Falls (on an accessible trail) are among the gorgeous waterfalls you can see as you hike through the park. You can hike and bike over 100 miles of trails winding through the wooded mountain side and along sparkling streams and waterfalls, sunbathe on three river beaches, kayak or tube along over 40 miles of the Middle Delaware River, fish and hunt and birdwatch. Take the time to climb Mount Minsi too for the best views in the Poconos of the Delaware Water Gap.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
1978 River Road, Bushkill PA
Visitors to Lehigh Gorge State Park will enjoy scenic Buttermilk Falls, Cascade Falls and Luke’s Falls, the Pocono Plateau, Lehigh Gorge, and the swift flowing Lehigh River. Hike the Lehigh Gorge Trail, part of the D&L Trail, or take the 26-mile recreation trail on an abandoned railroad grade that follows the Lehigh River. It’s great for hiking and biking, fishing and offers a variety of sightseeing and nature photography opportunities of the river as well as the historic remains of sections of the Lehigh Canal. The park is popular for hiking and biking on the Lehigh Gorge Trail, birdwatching and wildlife watching, kayaking and canoeing, whitewater rafting, fishing and hunting, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling during winter months. A visit to the park in July when the native rhododendrons are in bloom is amazing. Historic Jim Thorpe is right at Lehigh State Park and so is the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. The out-and-back train ride takes you from Jim Thorpe into Lehigh Gorge State Park and back. It’s a great way to learn about the area and see the Poconos views as the train runs along and above the Lehigh River. (570-325-8485)
Lehigh Gorge State Park
Open daily from sunrise to sunset