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Hiking at Swatara State Park

18.2 miles of trails

Park trails are generally flat and wide. Many small, connector trails allow hikers to create loops of various distances. Hikers can also hike the additional 9.8 miles of trails in the Mountain Biking Complex. Below are the main trails in the park.

Bear Hole Trail

4.8 miles, more difficult hiking

Running along the eastern side of Swatara State Park is Bear Hole Trail, a wide, rolling trail for hiking and biking.

​Swatara Rail Trail

10 miles, easiest hiking

Swatara Rail Trail extends from Lickdale Interchange (Exit 90) of I-81 to the Pine Grove Interchange (Exit 100) of I-81. The trail grade is relatively flat, with variable surfaces: dirt, gravel, and pavement, requiring wide tires. This trail is good for cross-country skiing with adequate snowfall.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

2 miles in the park, more difficult hiking

Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail (AT) traverses two miles of the southern portion of Swatara State Park. Overnight parking for AT hikers is on SR 443 just west of SR 72. Hikers may leave an itinerary with the park for emergencies.

Northern and Southern Multi-use Loops

11 miles of trails

By using Swatara Rail Trail and Bear Hole Trail visitors can recreate on two multi-use loops:

  • The Southern Loop, Waterville Bridge to Sand Siding Bridge and back, is 4.6 miles
  • The Northern Loop, Swopes Valley Road to Sand Siding Bridge and back, is 7.2 miles and includes a brief ride on Swopes Valley Road

Both loops can be combined to make the full loop which is 11 miles.