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Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

Widener Law Commonwealth's campus is close to many exciting outdoor recreation opportunities.  With so many choices, there's something for everyone. Explore the fun waiting to be had in the great outdoors.

Kayakers on the Susquehanna River

Jump to: Biking | Hiking  | Horseback Riding | Running | Skiing | Water Activities | Organizations | State Parks


Biking

Capital Area Greenbelt Trail

The 21-mile trail encircles the City of Harrisburg and is open to bikers and walkers of all ages and abilities. The trail includes on-road sections as well as dedicated paved and gravel paths. The trail runs along the river and through the various different neighborhoods of the diverse city of Harrisburg. 

Harrisburg Bicycle Club

Do you enjoy biking? If so you can check out the Harrisburg Bicycle Club. In addition special events and destination trips, the club offers weekday and weekend meet ups for cyclists of all skill levels.

Hiking

Appalachian Trail

46 miles of the Appalachian Trail meander through the Cumberland Valley, including a 13-mile section that is the longest, lowest and flattest section on the entire trail and one of the most accessible portions to park and take a short day trip. Cumberland Valley, PA is the midway point of the Appalachian Trail.

Fort Halifax Park

570 N. River Road, SR 147
Halifax, PA 17032

This beautiful park is located in Halifax, PA, roughly twenty-five minutes from campus.  A 174-acre park located along the Susquehanna River, Fort Halifax is a location consisting of many different landscapes including: woodlands, fields, riverbanks, and meadows.  This location allows for such recreational activities as canoeing, kayaking, camping, fishing, hiking, bird watching and picnic facilities.  Fort Halifax Park is located near and includes many historical features as well, one such feature is the 1756 Fort itself, used to defend settlers from Native American war parties.

Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area

1579 State Park Road
Newport, PA 17074

Boyd Big is a 1,025-acre conservation area located near Widener Law Commonwealth, which provides a lot of environmentally friendly attractions.  The first is that this area provides for 12 miles of hiking trails which are especially attractive for the avid hiker, cross-country skier or bird-watcher.  Boyd Big provides educational experiences as well, including both guided tours and environmental education year round. 

Hawk Mountain

1700 Hawk Mountain Rd.
Kempton, PA 19529

Hawk Mountain is a wildlife sanctuary open to the public year-round. It is also a scientific research center and learning facility for all ages. Visitors can hike on the sanctuary’s many trails and view a variety of predatory birds. 

Elk Neck State Forest

717 Irishtown Road
North East, MD 21901

Elk Neck State Forest consists of some 3,571 acres, open for hunting, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The park is home to a very diverse habitat with mixed deciduous and evergreen trees. The park is great for bird watching, and hiking to take in the scenic overview of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed atop of the Pete Bond Overlook.

Thousand Steps, PA

William Penn Highway
Mapleton, PA 17052

Thousand Steps is 2,321 feet, one of the taller mountains in Pennsylvania. It is known as the main range of the Appalachians. The mountain has magnificent views in all directions. If you’re lucky while you hike, you may find fossils or petrified wood in the area.  

Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art

176 Water Company Road, Box 33
Millersburg, PA 17061

Located roughly thirty minutes from campus, the Ned Smith Center also provides twelve miles of hiking and wildlife habitats which connect you to the natural world.  The surrounding land includes streams, forest areas and a view of the Susquehanna River from the mountaintop.  Additionally, the Center provides educational opportunities to visitors.

Wildwood and Olewine Center

100 Wildwood Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Wildwood park it conveniently located near Widener just off of Linglestown road. The park boasts a three-mile running/biking trail that surrounds the park’s beautiful wetlands.  The park is also home to the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center. The nature center hosts many educational opportunities, such as hikes, bird watching, and environmental speakers.  

Hiking Clubs

If you’re looking to go out for a hike on any one of the areas beautiful hiking trails, but you’re not quite sure where to go, check out one of Central Pennsylvania’s many hiking clubs.

Horseback Riding

Elk Neck State Forest

717 Irishtown Road
North East, MD 21901

Elk Neck State Forest consists of some 3,571 acres, open for hunting, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The park is home to a very diverse habitat with mixed deciduous and evergreen trees. The park is great for bird watching, and hiking to see the scenic overview of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed atop of the Pete Bond Overlook.

Conewago Recreation Trail

A 5-mile trail, formerly the Cornnwall-Lebanon rail line connects to the Lebanon Valley Rail trail and follows the Conewago creek through scenic farmland and woodlands. The trail has level, graded trails making it a good option for those wanting to hike, jog, bicycle, ride horses, and cross-country ski.

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. The park has many trails of various terrains and water access, making it ideal for many uses including horseback riding, skiing, fishing, hunting, hiking and kayaking.

Running

Capital Area Greenbelt Trail

The 21-mile trail encircles the City of Harrisburg and is open to bikers and walkers of all ages and abilities. The trail includes on-road sections as well as dedicated paved and gravel paths. The trail runs along the river and through the various different neighborhoods of the diverse city of Harrisburg. 

Elk Neck State Forest

717 Irishtown Road
North East, MD 21901

Elk Neck State Forest consists of some 3,571 acres, open for hunting, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The park is home to a very diverse habitat with mixed deciduous and evergreen trees. The park is great for bird watching, and hiking to see the scenic overview of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed atop of the Pete Bond Overlook.

Running Clubs

One of the hardest things to deal with when you move to a new area is finding some new running routes and partners. Luckily, Central Pennsylvania is home to many running clubs. The local clubs offer a variety of services such weekly meet ups, races, and discounts at local running stores.

Skiing 

Whitetail Resort

13805 Blairs Valley Road
Mercersburg, PA 17236

Roundtop Mountain Resort

925 Roundtop Road
Lewisberry, PA 17339

Liberty Mountain Resort

78 Country Club Trail
Carroll Valley, PA 17320

Water Activities

Yellow Breeches

The Yellow Breeches creek runs through the Cumberland Valley just a few short miles from Widener Law Commonwealth. The creek is an angler’s delight as it is home to some of the best trout fishing in the United States.  If fishing is not your forte the creek is also perfect for a day of floating and swimming.

Susquehanna River

A highlight of the city of Harrisburg is the beautiful Susquehanna River. The river is the perfect place for outdoor recreation, whether you want to fish, swim, or take a boat ride of the Pride of the Susquehanna. The river is easily accessible from Front Street in Harrisburg or City Island.  Additionally, there are many outfitters in the area who will help you rent a boat for the day.

Fort Halifax Park

570 N. River Road, SR 147
Halifax, PA 17032

Located in Halifax, PA, roughly twenty-five minutes from campus.  A 174-acre park located along the Susquehanna River, Fort Halifax is a location consisting of many different landscapes including: woodlands, fields, riverbanks, and meadows.  This location allows for such recreational activities as canoeing, kayaking, camping, fishing, hiking, bird watching and picnic facilities.  Fort Halifax Park is located near and includes many historical features as well, one such feature is the 1756 Fort itself, used to defend settlers from Native American war parties.

Organizations

Lancaster County Bird Club

Whether it’s your first time birding or you’ve recorded hundreds of different species head out for a day with the Lancaster County Bird Club. Established in 1937 the club hosts any outings throughout the year.

Hiking Clubs

If you’re looking to go out for a hike on any one of the areas beautiful hiking trails, but you’re not quite sure where to go, check out one of Central Pennsylvania’s many hiking clubs.

Harrisburg Bicycle Club

Do you enjoy biking? If so you can check out the Harrisburg Bicycle Club. In addition special events and destination trips, the club offers weekday and weekend meet ups for cyclists of all skill levels.

Running Clubs

One of the hardest things to deal with when you move to a new area is finding some new running routes and partners. Luckily, Central Pennsylvania is home to many running clubs. The local clubs offer a variety of services such weekly meet ups, races, and discounts at local running stores.

State Parks

Within a short distance of WidenerLaw Commonwealth there are many state parks. Pennsylvania state parks offer the perfect spot for camping, hiking, swimming, and a variety of other outdoor activities.

Gifford Pinchot State Park

Lewisberry, PA 17365

Colonel Denning State Park

1599 Doubling Gap RD
Newville, PA 17241

Pine Grove Furnace State Park

1100 Pine Grove RD
Gardners, PA 17324

Swatara State Park

Jonestown, PA 17038

Nolde Forest State Park

2910 New Holland RD
Reading, PA 19607