Nothing beats spending a warm, spring day at the park walking, jogging, hiking, or just enjoying the fresh air! South Central Pennsylvania is a treasure trove of parks and trails, with options ranging from casual walking paths to rigorous hikes.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite parks and trails in York and Lancaster Counties! These areas are ideal for individuals and families alike, as they offer many ways to get everyone up on their feet and moving. If you have a free weekend coming up and would like to get some exercise, we recommend checking out some of these spots.
Extending more than 21 miles through Southern York County, Heritage Rail Trail is a compact stone surface intentionally designed for hiking, bicycling, running, horseback riding, and even cross country skiing!
It is open year-round and includes benches, picnic tables, and restrooms for the public’s convenience. As you explore the trail, you may come across historic landmarks like the New Freedom and the Hanover Junction Train Stations. These stations have been restored to their original appearance and include mini-museums onsite (supported by the Friends of the Heritage Rail Trail Corridor).
Find a complete map of the trail and more information about its history here!
Spanning 750 acres, Rocky Ridge Park offers a variety of scenic areas. With a mature oak forest, Nature Fun Zone playground, and multiple fitness trails, there truly is something for everyone.
The park includes over 12 miles of trails fit for hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. For a more casual exercise experience, check out their open field near the Hidden Laurel Picnic Area—perfect for kickball, field workouts, or just enjoying the sun! Rocky Ridge is an excellent spot for a game of pickup soccer, a light jog, or an afternoon hike.
Watch this video for more information about the park!
At 544 acres, Lancaster County Central Park sits on the southern edge of Lancaster City. Its facilities include a pool, skate park, sports fields, playgrounds, and trails. With paths for runners, walkers, and equestrians alike, anyone can find a rewarding fitness experience at County Park.
If you need somewhere to cool down after your workout, check out the Environmental Center or Shuts Environmental Library, both of which house several resources diving into the rich history of the land.
For those looking to spend even more time enjoying nature in Lancaster Central Park, Mill Creek Camping Area is a beautiful spot to pitch a few tents with family or friends. In fact, it's one of Dr. Wilke's favorite local spots to camp out!
Learn more about the park's features and trail offerings here.
A 25-acre nature preserve along the Susquehanna River, Turkey Hill Overlook Trail boasts a 3.7-mile path that includes a picturesque waterfall view. Dr. Younes and his family enjoy the challenge that this trail provides as well as the beautiful scenery. For those looking for something a little less strenuous, there is also an option to hike 2.5 miles back by following the Enola Low-Grade Rail Trail.
Find more information regarding the preservation’s rules and regulations here.
This 7.1-mile trail runs from Ephrata to Lititz, following what used to be the Reading and Columbia Railroad tracks. It is a well-maintained trail designed for hiking, biking, and running. Along the path, you’ll find plenty of parking and restrooms, making it ideal for short and long ventures.
For more information about the trail and photos, visit here.
Located in the “Coolest Small Town in America,” Lititz Springs Park is a lovely spot to enjoy a casual afternoon walk or let the kids run free. The park features a playground, a short walking path, plenty of picnic tables and benches, and a beautiful pond. Maintained by the Lititz Moravian Church for over 200 years, the park has served as a long-time, community gathering place.
Learn all about its location and history here.
Looking for a relaxing, kid-friendly spot to unwind? Check out Youngs Woods Community Park. This scenic area features a walking path and playgrounds, perfect for families looking to get some exercise, fresh air, and simply enjoy nature. If you plan to meet up with a group for a post-hike picnic, the pavilions are available to reserve as well.
Find more information and their rules and regulations here.
For individuals interested in a more challenging option, we recommend Codorus State Park! This 3,500-acre plot of land offers many activities from hiking to swimming to fishing. The hiking options are especially noteworthy, with 19 miles of trails ranging from beginner to expert.
Whether you’re looking for a strenuous workout or would simply like to go for a stroll and enjoy the beautiful weather, Lancaster and York County are full of parks and trails that anyone can appreciate. We encourage you to explore one of the options above this season. There’s no better time to get outside and get some exercise!