Brandon Tennis-Director of Stewardship
The best places can only be gotten to by foot! The southern 10 miles of the Conestoga Trail shows off some of the most spectacular scenery in Lancaster County with sweeping views of the Susquehanna River and intimate waterfalls all while passing through the contiguously forested lands of Holtwood, Kellys Run, Tucquan Glen/Pyfer Nature Preserve, Reed Run, and House Rock nature preserves. The best way to experience Tucquan Glen/Pyfer Nature Preserve is to understand them in the full River Hills context; begin your hike at the Kellys Run at Holtwood Park trailhead (ample parking) or Kellys Run at Pinnacle Overlook trailhead (ample parking) and end your epic hike at the Reed Run trailhead (limited parking) or continue along the forested ridge to the Pequea Public Boat Launch (ample parking).
Jennifer Tran-Director of Development
Welsh Mountain – ADA Accessible Trail
One of the things I think sets Welsh Mountain apart from some of our other preserves is that it has a great ADA accessible trail. Some of the most beautiful places aren’t ADA accessible and I think it’s important for natural spaces to be available for those who might need an ADA accessible trail. It’s something that is near and dear to my heart, since I used to work for the S. June Smith Center and having family members whose illnesses prevented them from enjoying the outdoors.
Jenn Teson-Land Protection Coordinator
I like hiking around Climbers Run. It has a little bit of everything: forests, wildflowers, streams, restoration projects, rock formations, pond, wetlands, meadows, hills, flat areas…you name it, Climbers Run probably has it!
Kate Gonick-Director of Land Protection & In-House Counsel
A great hike in York County is the Mason Dixon trail stretch that includes Urey Overlook and the Otter Creek gorge. Urey Overlook is an easy hike from the DCNR parking off PA 425 between Kline Road and Otter Creek Campground. The Overlook provides a northern vista of the incredible Lake Aldred landscape, including the Conservancy’s Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve, the northern terminus of the Pequea Preserve, Weiss Island wildlife, and the village of Pequea. Heading south on the Mason Dixon trail, one can enjoy the steep slopes and protected habitat of the amazing Otter Creek gorge. On any given summer day the temperature will drop as you descend along the trail.
Faith Musngi-Associate for Development & Grants
One of the preserves I enjoy the most is Steinman Run. The loop will take you around the preserve on a sometimes challenging hike, up and down hills and across streams. There are scenic views, overlooks and quiet corners where you can pause a moment, catch your breath, and enjoy the gifts of nature. There is also plenty of parking available and Trout Run Nature Preserve is also in close proximity, in case you’ve hiked Steinman Run and are ready for more.
Phil Wenger-President & CEO
My favorite short hike is to park one car at Highpoint County Park, York County. Hike North on the Mason Dixon trail, going across our Wilton Meadows Preserve, ending up in Wrightsville at the John Wright Restaurant for some nosh and a beverage, where a 2nd vehicle can be left. This hike is just short of 2.5 miles and is mostly downhill. You do need to cross a stream, so wear shoes that can get wet!!
Lydia Martin-Director of Education
One of my favorite places to hike is Kellys Run Pinnacle. A journey along rocky outcrops beside a fast flowing stream refreshes the mind and spirit. As you follow the trail deep along Kellys Run, there is a sense of being in another place in time surrounded by the beauty of nature. Tall trees embrace the stream amidst a thick understory of rhododendron that heightens then senses of forgets the actions of the world. I love observing the plant and animal life while I hike so time spent looking for fish darting beneath cover in the stream, identifying the native plants in flower, looking for pawpaws or following the sound of a bird or flight of a bee to snap a quick photo provides a rewarding experience. The stream beckons you to have wet feet during hot summers and study nature’s reflections in winter. Taking a hike and pausing to bathe in the forest is an exhilarating experience. Every season has something to offer.
Christian Przybylek-Stewardship Specialist
Steinman Run Nature Preserve offers 270 acres of great hiking across a varied landscape. Beginning in the parking lot off of Stump Rd., enter onto the blue trail bearing right at the trail head. This trail is a 2.35-mile loop, which takes you around the nature preserve and back to the parking area. Your journey begins by ascending a forested hillside with exposed rock. Be prepared to climb about 220 ft.! As you gain in elevation, you can see the gentle trickle of Steinmans Run Stream below. Interesting fact, because of the topography, this stream flows south to north! Its pristine waters deposit into the Susquehanna River and eventually flow into the Chesapeake Bay. At about .6 miles into your hike, you will cross a small tributary and can choose to go left and hike along an old roadbed, which bisects the preserve and rejoins the blue trail on the other side of the preserve. You can also choose to continue deeper into the preserve. Both routes will loop you back to the Stump Rd. parking area. This section of the preserve includes marshy wetlands and you may notice the trees appear taller. This area was not as recently logged. Enjoy hiking through this forested landscape and listen for the sounds of the streams, bird calls and the scurry of small animals who call this preserve home. Pack out what you pack in, taking only memories and leaving only footprints.
Beth Hacker-Office Manager & Executive Support
For those of us who need a gentler walking experience, I really like the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail that runs parallel (and connects at two points) to the Turkey Hill Trail and Turkey Hill Nature Preserve. I start off by visiting the Conejohela Flats where I love watching the river and all sorts of bird life. From there, you can pay a visit to the Blue Rock Heritage Center; at this very moment, they are building a Wigwam in the backyard! After that, you can drive just a short way to the Turkey Hill/Enola Low Grade trailhead. There is a parking lot with porta potties and the trail is mostly flat and can be enjoyed by both walking and bike riding. The Enola Low Grade Rail Trail flanks the Susquehanna River throughout its 5 mile duration; who doesn’t love a good river view!
Fritz Schroeder-Director of Urban Greening
My favorite is the Pequea Nature Preserve. It’s a section of the Conestoga Trail that starts in Pequea with a steep climb to the wind caves. From there, you traverse the ridge line with stunning views of the Susquehanna in the late fall and winter until you reach House Rock, a perfect vista and resting spot. From there you continue on the Conestoga through two glens (Brubaker Run and Reeds Run) before reaching Tucquan Glen/Pyfer Nature Preserve. We finish the hike by hiking out of Tucquan.