Hiking Pennsylvania’s Tucquan Glen

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the Tucquan Glen Trail in southern Pennsylvania to wow me. Even though it’s listed as the #8 best hike in Pennsylvania on All Trails, it was listed as only 2.4 miles round trip. As a popular trail, I figured it would be crowded, even though I was going on a rainy day.

Welp, I was wrong. This hike was awesome!! And for driving up from Maryland, it had enough walking in the area to make it well worth the drive. Here’s what you can expect.

The Arrival

Getting to the trailhead was easy. Typing in “Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve” took me straight there, and you can park right in front of the trailhead itself, if it’s not crowded. It was drizzling when I arrived. There was only one other car there, and no one in sight. More trail for me!

Tangent: Why does no one hike in the rain? Sure, it’s muddy. Sure, your hair gets wet. But the trails are less congested. The rain is peaceful, and usually not as heavy when you’re in the forest. If there’s any water involved, like a cool waterfall or river, the rain makes it that much better! (The obvious exception here is not to hike in a thunderstorm).

Green Scene

Anyway. The trail, being a loop, had two options to start. One cut immediately over the river to the left, using stepping stones. The other went uphill to the right. I chose to start with the stepping stones.

Beyond the river, the ground was covered in green! I don’t know if it was the cloudy day or the new spring growth, but these plants looked green. I felt like I was in a rain forest. As apparent in the picture, the trail is mostly dirt. Once it begins to run alongside the river, it becomes mostly rock at times, and there are a lot of roots. Even though this trail isn’t particularly strenuous, you will have to watch where you step a lot. Which will be hard with all the beautiful plant life around!

The river will begin to get more rocky and interesting as the trail continues. The water pools and tumbles around the extra stone, forming small rapids. This was especially pretty next to all of the little yellow, purple, and blue flowers. I wish I was better at identifying plants. 

As shown on the left, some of the rocks along the river are flat and a great spot to sit and break for lunch. The small rapids shown get much bigger as you approach the largest rocky area, where there is a small wooden bridge to cross.

Halfway Point

Once you’ve reached the halfway point, you’ll arrive at railroad tracks. There is another trail with orange blazes here that continues further up the hill; this trail is not part of the loop, but does offer great views of the Susquehanna River.

Continue past the railroad tracks and you’ll be right on the banks of the Susquehanna. There is a sandy area just beyond the tracks that is great for rock skipping and watching the smaller river empty into the Susquehanna. 

In order to get to the rest of the trail, you’ll have to walk along the tracks for a short while, to the right. After about 100 feet the trail back into the woods is pretty obvious.

The way back isn’t quite as pretty, since you are a little farther from the water for a while, but it still offers interesting vantage points that are a little higher up than the first side of the hike.

Overall

The entire hike, Alex and I only saw a handful of other hikers, on what is normally a probably very popular trail. The darkness of the day allowed the greenery to really stand out, and the river to flow even stronger. While I wouldn’t recommend hiking in a storm, maybe trying out a trail in some light rain would be more fun than you’d think! I know Alex and I appreciated the experience.

I’d highly recommend the Tucquan Glen loop trail. It’s a great place for a beginner hiker, or for bringing someone who is new to hiking. The short distance brings a big reward of beautiful scenery.

 

Questions? Please ask in the comments section below.