Hiking & Biking
Lasting memories often come from things like challenging hikes, long family bike rides, or running in a race with your significant other. These experiences can bring us laughter, joy, and sometimes even tears of frustration. But ultimately, they bring us closer together. The reward is always there at the finish line or at the top of the mountain for those who are driven to succeed. Part of that reward is the incredible memories that we have from these adventures. In Columbia & Montour counties, we challenge the outdoor enthusiast to find their own special memories on our trails or in our competitions.
Hiking & Biking Trails
Visitors looking to return to their roots and get out into nature will delight in our multitude of hiking, biking, and walking trails. Easier walking trails can be found at Briar Creek Lake Park in Berwick and at the Bloomsburg Town Park in Bloomsburg. Berwick’s Test Track Riverfront Park is one location that is best suited for both casual bicyclists and walkers alike. The Council Cup Overlook is located approximately 700 feet above the Susquehanna River, and offers breathtaking views for the casual to moderate hikers and bikers. The Columbia County Susquehanna Trail in Bloomsburg is a walking/biking trail that is approximately eight miles long. The trail is constructed on portions of an abandoned Reading Railroad line and Pennsylvania Canal towpath. In Danville, the Robbins Trail is the oldest known rail-to-trail in the United States and provides a scenic 3.9 mile walk or bike. The Susquehanna Riverlands also provide both hiking and biking trails that range up to 6 miles. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely nature hike through the wetlands area which includes marshes, fields, and ponds that are all part of the North Branch Canal.
For the moderate biking enthusiasts, several State Gamelands are the places to go. State Gameland #58 (near Catawissa), State Gameland #226 (northwest of Bloomsburg), and State Gameland #329 (near Aristes) all offer more rugged mountain biking trails. State Gameland #13 covers 49,500 acres and is one of the largest Gamelands in Pennsylvania. The forest spans several counties including Columbia County. Several hiking trails connect for an approximate seven mile trail system. In the winter, portions of the nearby forest roads are opened exclusively to snowmobiles.
At the Montour Preserve, various trails totaling 14 miles are open from dawn til dusk. The majority of these trails are intended for casual walking, but visitors are encouraged to get more information by stopping at the Preserve’s Visitors Center before hitting the trails. In the southern part of Columbia County, Weiser State Forest – Roaring Creek Tract offers perhaps the largest trail system, including an eight mile hiking/biking trail which is ideal for families out for a casual weekend jaunt. There are 40 miles of shared use trails for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. In addition, four historic miner trails from the 19th century have been revitalized and marked for visitors to follow. They average six miles in length. The Geisinger Stewardship Trails in Danville also boast vigorous hiking and mountain biking trails. There are eight miles of marked, single-track loop trails.
Right down the road at Hopewell Park, three different loop trails exist for mountain bikers to enjoy. The “Down & Dirty” trail is the easiest of the loops, the “Up & Out” involves some climbing and winding curves, and the most challenging “Junk in the Trunk” trail provides some fun with the upper levels of the park. Down by the parking area, the newly constructed jump park is another great place for the mountain bike enthusiast to test their skills. The local NICA Interscholastic Mountain Biking team – the Hammers – formed in 2017 and are now part of the almost 40 team Pennsylvania League. The Hammers use Hopewell as their “home base” location and practice spot. For more information about The Hammers and Hopewell Park trails, visit their website.
For the true outdoor adventurer, the trail system at Ricketts Glen State park offers a rigorous and challenging adventure. In total, 26 miles of trail are available for hiking. The Falls Trail in particular provides some of the most spectacular hiking scenery in the state. The trail stretches approximately 7.2 miles and takes hikers past 21 stunning waterfalls. The trail weaves over and around free-flowing waterfalls and takes travelers through rock-strewn clefts and old growth forest. As per the PA DCNR website, the terrain is rocky, can be slippery and descends steeply on both the Ganoga and Glen Leigh sides of the Falls Trail. Hikers should take extra precautions with trail conditions, wear proper footwear, stay on the trail and be in good physical condition before attempting to hike the loop. Diverse wildlife, including bald eagles, will have visitors scrambling for their cameras. Snowmobile and cross-country skiing trails also exist, and ice climbing on the Falls Trail is permitted during the winter months.
For additional bicycle routes in the area, check out our specialty “Biking Trails” brochure and get some good ideas for your next ride!
Also, check out a complete list of all trails in Montour County.
For those with a competitive edge, Columbia & Montour counties offer exceptional races throughout the year. One of the signature events of the year takes place on Thanksgiving morning in Berwick – the Run for the Diamonds. Since 1908, this race has tested participants with chilly temperatures and a winding course. However, diamond rings await the winners!
Also in Berwick is a holiday favorite: the annual Berwick Holiday Speedo Run. Participants are encouraged to wear speedos and holiday costumes. In June, the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds plays host to the Greater Columbia County Relay for Life. This 24 hour event offers music, food, vendors, themed laps, and live entertainment – all for a good cause.
In early March, the Humdinger Trail Races are designed to test your early season stamina while shaking off the cabin fever. Annually, over 300 participants enjoy racing through the snowy and muddy area forests and fields in any one of three different distance categories. The Dinger Lite is 4.7 miles and is a bit flatter and less-demanding than the other choices. The course will still have ice, snow, mud, and/or water, but anyone can do it if they put their mind to it. The classic Humdinger is a longer 7.1 miles and involves all of the above and also some possible bush-whacking through underbrush! The Dinger Plus offers two loops of the classic Humdinger. In June, the Old Forge Brewing Company 5k Beer Run incorporates beer, a giant slide, beer pools, and a keg carry/toss/roll.