If you’re tired of being stuck indoors and need to take in some sun and fresh air, then lace up your shoes and take a walk — or a hike — on the wild side. Check out these six trails and parks in and around Mercer, Lawrence and Butler counties that are great for running, hiking, fishing, biking or just enjoying nature with your friends and family. You won’t be disappointed.
Maurice K. Goddard State Park
The 2,856-acre Maurice K. Goddard State Park features the 1,680-acre Lake Wilhelm, which is popular with anglers and boaters. The lake, wetlands, fields and forests provide a diversity of habitats for wildlife.
Have an adventure: Hiking, biking, picnicking, boating, fishing, wildlife watching, walking.
Come for a visit: Open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk.
For more info: DCNR.pa.gov/stateparks/findapark/mauricekgoddardstatepark
Sandy Creek Trail
Built between 2000 and 2005, Sandy Creek Trail has 12 miles of asphalt surface, seven pedestrian-safe bridges and a tunnel. The eastern section of the trail winds eight miles along East Sandy Creek through some of the state’s hills, valleys and forests.
Have an adventure: Hiking, mountain biking, running, walking.
Come for a visit: Open year-round.
For more info: AVTA-trails.org/sandy-creek-trail.html
Allegheny River Trail
Allegheny River Trail is 32 miles of flat, smooth, asphalt surface from Oil City to Emlenton. There are also two railroad tunnels, and you can view artifacts from the oil boom of the late 1800s. About midway between Franklin and Oil City you can see the River Ridge mansion and farm of the late Sen. Joseph P. Sibley, who acquired a considerable fortune from the early oil industry.
Have an adventure: Hiking, walking, running, sightseeing, horseback riding.
Come for a visit: Open year-round.
For more info: AVTA-trails.org/allegheny-samuel-trails.html
McConnells Mill State Park
Mcconnells Mill State Park encompasses 2,546 acres of the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. Created by the draining of glacial lakes thousands of years ago, the gorge has steep sides while the valley floor encompasses big boulders. Scenic overlooks and waterfalls are popular natural attractions. You can tour a gristmill and covered bridge built in the 1800s.
Have an adventure: Hiking, fishing, picnicking, running, walking, climbing and rappelling, wildlife watching.
Come for a visit: Open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The Old Mill is open on a limited schedule.
For more info: DCNR.pa.gov/stateparks/findapark/mcconnellsmillstatepark
North Park Latodami Nature Center
Created in 1969, North Park Latodami Nature Center provides programming to schools, scouts, public and private groups year-round. The center is 250 acres and includes field, forest, pond and wetland and stream habitats, with a series of nature trails. The barn provides the rustic setting of a circa-1914 dairy barn.
Have an adventure: Hiking, swimming, walking, wildlife watching, boating, fishing, running, tennis, biking, golfing.
Come for a visit: The grounds are open from dawn to dark.
Moraine State Park
Each year, more than 1 million boaters, hikers, bikers and swimmers visit Moraine State Park’s 16,725 acres. The park was shaped by the scouring of glaciers and has endured the damage caused by significant mineral extraction. Many people have over the years helped restore it from the days of coal mining and oil- and gas-drilling.
Have an adventure: Hiking, biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, wildlife watching, camping.
Come for a visit: Open daily from sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise noted.
For more info: DCNR.pa.gov/stateparks/findapark/morainestatepark