Pennsylvania has several mountain ranges that run through the state. Some of the mountains in Pennsylvania are the Pocono Mountains, the Adirondack Mountains, and even part of the Appalachian Mountains. In the area around the border of Pennsylvania and West Virginia there are mountains and deep caves that contain some of the coal mines that were a major part of the state’s industry in the early part of the 19th century. There are also big swaths of thick of forests in parts of the state. There’s always lots of great outdoor adventuring to be done in Pennsylvania.
10 Mountains In Pennsylvania
The mountains in Pennsylvania are very distinctly different from each other depending on what mountain range they’re in. The Appalachian mountains tend to be more like plateaus with open grassy fields like the famous “knobs” that are found in West Virginia. The mountains that belong to the Adirondack and Pocono ranges tend to be more heavily forested and steeper. Some of the best hiking mountains in Pennsylvania are:
Located in: Forbes State Forest
Height: 3,213 feet
Nearby City: Markleton
Known For: The hike to the summit of Mount Davis isn’t all that difficult. Beginner hikers can probably handle the hike just fine, and it’s worth the climb. You can also drive part way up the mountain and park at a parking lot for visitors. From there it’s just a short walk up to the summit. There is a narrow but tall observation tower hidden in the trees at the summit which can provide amazing views of the Laurel Highlands and the forests below. Without the observation tower the view is a bit obstructed by the densely packed trees at the summit. There are also some great overlooks on the way up to the summit where you can see great views from different vantage points on the mountain.
Turn onto South Wolf Rock Road to hit High Point Lake Overlook, which is one of the best overlooks on the way to the observation tower parking lot. At this overlook you will get a stunning view of High Point Lake as well as the forest surrounding the mountain. And there is a picnic table where you can sit and enjoy a snack and the view. It’s also wheelchair accessible.
Bake Oven Knob
Located in: Appalachian Scenic Trail
Height: 1,585 feet
Nearby City: Germansville
Known For: Bake Oven Knob is a low elevation mountain that is part of the Appalachian Trail. At the top of this mountain you can get a fantastic view of the Blue Ridge mountains. Because this mountain is a part of the Appalachian Trail there are usually lots of hikers on the trail. There is an official AT trail shelter on this mountain where thru-hikers will usually spend the night. Sometimes other hikers will do a day hike up the mountain and leave homemade treats, bread, water, and other supplies for the thru-hikers who greatly appreciate the gifts.
Hiking on Bake Oven Knob does require some rock scrambling even though the elevation isn’t that high, so if you’re going to hike this mountain make sure you’re comfortable doing some scrambling. In the autumn a hike up to the of Bake Oven Knob is going to get you some magnificent views of the autumn foliage that Pennsylvania is famous for.
Located in: Laurel Highlands
Height: 2,661 feet
Nearby City: Germansville
Known For: A hike on Beak Rocks is a fantastic family activity. Beam Rocks is very easily to access because it’s just a couple of miles from Route 30. Take Laurel Summit Road until you reach the parking lot. There is an easy one mile out and back trail that has almost no incline that will take you to an overlook where you can see amazing views of the Laurel Highlands all around.
There is a wide variety of wildlife and some interesting geological specimens around the overlook which are always interesting to kids. It’s a popular spot for family hikes so you will likely see other families enjoying the day too. Almost anyone can handle this easy but beautiful trail so visiting Beam Rocks is the ideal way to spend a weekend afternoon with the family. Just watch out for snakes!
Located in: Laurel Summit State Park
Height: 2,639 feet
Nearby City: Ligonier
Known For: Wolf Rocks is another scenic outlook that lies on the Laurel Ridge that stretches for about 70 miles. It’s a heavily forested area and the trail is moderately difficult but the entire area around the outlook is steeped in highly fragrant mountain laurel which gives it an otherworldly air. It’s a great hike for intermediate or experienced hikers who want to get away from the stresses of everyday life. From the summit at Wolf Rocks hikers can see a completely unobstructed view of the valley below them.
The main trail for Wolf Rocks is the Wolf Rocks Trail and it’s a loop trail just over four miles long. It’s accessible all year long although you may need snowshoes or cross country skies in the winter. When the trail isn’t too crowded you may see deer, black bear, or hawks.
Located in: Northern PA
Height: 1,800 feet
Nearby City: Morris
Known For: Gillespie Point is one of the few mountains in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Plateau region that isn’t a plateau. Gillespie Point is shaped like a traditional mountain peak. It’s been called the “Matterhorn of Pennsylvania” because of the steep narrow summit.
Even though the elevation isn’t that high the trail is challenging because it has a steep incline. Gillespie Point is a very popular location for trail running, biking, and hiking all year long. You can bring your dog with you if you’re planning on visiting, but the dog must be leashed at all times. The primary trail for Gillespie Point is a 3.5 mile loop that you can access at the base of the mountain. Just be sure that you’re in shape and ready to tackle that peak before you start out!
Located in: Ohiopyle State Park
Height: 2,667 feet
Nearby City: Ohiopyle
Known For: There are four different trails that will take you almost to the summit of Sugarloaf Knob. But you can’t actually get to the summit because the mountain has such a dense forest that the summit is obstructed by trees. The primary trail that goes the closest to the summit is the Sugarloaf Trail. It’s almost 4 miles and it’s rated as challenging. Only intermediate or above trail runners and hikers should do this climb. That’s because this trail gains almost all of its elevation in just two sections of the trail. You will be scrambling up rocks and through extremely dense forest. It’s also easy to get lost because the trail markers aren’t always easy to see.
But there is a lot more to do in Ohiopyle State Park than just take on the challenge of Sugarloaf Knob. It’s a great place for a family camping trip. There are easier hiking trails in the State Park along with biking, horseback riding, fishing, and kayaking.
Located in: Michaux State Forest
Height: 1,728 feet
Nearby City: Chambersburg
Known For: The hike up Lewis Rocks is one of the prettiest in Pennsylvania. You need to pick up the trail near where the Mountain Creek and Tumbling Run trails intersect. For the first 10 minutes or so of the hike the trail is flat through a forest of ash trees and mountain laurel flowers, but then it starts to rise fast. As you climb and scramble the trail will run along next to some stunning pools and small waterfalls leading up to Lewis Falls. From Lewis Falls there are a series of smaller trails that will continue the climb to take you the summit.
Even though the trail is steep and rocky it’s a favorite hike for many families. Kids love to play and climb on the rocks and see the falls. This hike is accessible most of the year, but in the winter it’s too difficult because of the ice coating the steep ascents. Check out this trail in the fall for a truly magical hiking experience.
Located in: Big Pocono State Park
Nearby City: Delaware Water Gap
Known For: Camelback Mountain isn’t technically a mountain, but a visual illusion because of the shape of this plateau makes it look to human eyes like a mountain. Camelback Mountain is really a peninsula, or a three sided land mass, along the Pocono Plateau. This mountain in Pennsylvania has about seven miles of hiking trails that run all over the mountain. However, it’s best known as a skiing destination. In the winter the ski resort is crowded with winter lovers skiing, snowboarding, riding snowmobiles, skating, and engaging in all kinds of outdoor winter fun.
There are trails available at the base of the mountain that will lead to the top, but most of the time hikers use the ski resort’s lift to get up to the trails that are at the top of the mountain. The most popular summit trail is the Indian Loop Trail which loops around the summit and leads back down very close to the ski resort. There is also a water park for families to enjoy in the summer on the location of the ski resort.
Located in: Northern Allegheny Plateau
Height: 2,080 feet
Nearby City: Brown Township
Known For: The hike up Hemlock Mountain is steep and it can be difficult. But if you can make it to the top you will get one of the most spectacular views possible in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Once you make it to the summit you will have a bird’s eye view of an array of mountains all around you. You can see Half Dome Mountain, the mountain ride along Pine Gorge, and Pine Creek below you.
The main trail up the mountain is the Black Creek Trail, which runs for almost 40 miles. 29 miles of the Black Creek Trail runs along Hemlock Mountain and the surrounding areas. If you’re only doing a day hike and not a long distance hike you can turn off at Forest Road or Big Trail Scenic Road to cut the length of your hike.
Located in: Bear Pond Mountains
Height: 1,637 feet
Nearby City: Montgomery Township
Known For: Rickard Mountain lies near the Mason-Dixon Line, with part of the mountain lying in Pennsylvania and part of it across the Mason-Dixon Line in Maryland. The Mason -Dixon Line is a demarcation line that historically separated the North from the South. Rickard Mountain is a challenging hike that experienced hikers may use to practice their skills before tackling bigger challenges. There are no maintained trails on Rickard Mountain and the summit is not accessible, so hikers need to have bushwhacking skills and a good GPS.
10 Tallest Mountains In Pennsylvania
- Mount Davis
- Blue Knob
- Herman Point
- Gillespie Point
- Schaefer Head
- Ritchey Knob
- Camelback Mountain
- Mount Nittany
- Hemlock Mountain
- Rickard Mountain
Highest Point In Pennsylvania
Mount Davis – 3,212 feet
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is Camelback Mountain really a mountain?
Camelback Mountain isn’t technically a mountain, but a visual illusion because of the shape of this plateau makes it look to human eyes like a mountain. Camelback Mountain is really a peninsula, or a three sided land mass, along the Pocono Plateau.
Where is the “Matterhorn of Pennsylvania?”
Gillespie Point is one of the few mountains in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Plateau region that isn’t a plateau. Gillespie Point is shaped like a traditional mountain peak. It’s been called the “Matterhorn of Pennsylvania” because of the steep narrow summit.
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