Since having a taste of the hiking life at Watkins Glen, I wanted have another go at it. In these Covid times, choices are limited in how far I can go ( see what I did there? haha ). Anyways, I wanted to try somewhere out of New York but not too far. I had heard of the Poconos area of Pennsylvania has a ton of trails to choose from, plus it’s only 2 hours drive from New York City. In my Poconos search, I discovered Promised Land State Park. That’s a great name for a park, by the way. Who wouldn’t want to go there?
Thanks to AllTrails, it states the most popular trail here is the Little Falls Trail. More waterfalls? I’m in! Luckily, it’s also rated “easy” as far as hiking difficulty and just over a mile round trip. I had to keep the difficulty in mind since we were having some company on this trip, my younger brother (who’s also a newbie to hiking) and my boyfriend’s mom (who has some arthritis).
Tip: If it’s your first time being there, I’d recommend checking out the Park Office first. They have loads of information about the park’s campgrounds, trails, and other local activities. Be sure to grab a map of the area. Google maps is not all that helpful when you’re trying to find a particular trail, plus cellular reception is not the best.
Little Falls Trail
Almost 5 minutes into the trail, we came upon the stream and crossed a short bridge. We followed another Little Falls Trail sign, which pointed us to path next to the stream. The path seemed easy enough for everyone. Though sometimes I felt when I took a step, my ankle would bend weirdly from the areas of intertwining tree roots. So be mindful of your footing or you might twist an ankle or fall on your face, like I almost did. (Note to self: it’s probably a good idea to invest in proper hiking shoes/boots).
Little Falls Trail is a beautiful one, with the stream and little waterfalls scattered along the way. Covering a little over a mile in the loop, we tackled this thing in about an hour, taking in the scenery at a leisurely pace.
So what’s next? There was still plenty of sunlight left for the day. We decided to take another one of the easy trails — on Conservation Island, which is located at the center of the park and is also 1 mile in length.
We stuck to the perimeter path, which was pretty flat and dry. No waterfalls on this trail. But there were plenty of benches where you can take a break and enjoy views of the lake. It is said that you could see the bald eagle’s nest on this hike. Truth be told, I only found out about the nest after the hike was done. Unfortunately I didn’t see it but I wasn’t actually looking for it either. Boo on me, but good on you since now you know!
After a decent day of hiking for a couple hours, we headed to the beach area. It’s located in the center of the park, on the northwest edge of Promised Land Lake. On the map we got at the Park Office, the site is referred to as the Day Use Area. They also have several picnic tables, restrooms, a playground, and boat rental. We laid on the sand for a bit, getting our tan on. Then we ventured to the water, which as only 2-3 feet deep. The water was clean and cool, giving us a refreshing break from the heat and satisfying end to our day.
Tip: If this area gets too crowded, they also have another beach area at Pickerel Point, which is toward the eastern part of the park.
Not a bad way to spend the weekend. Well, it’s always a good idea to be around nature, decompress and just be. With it being close to New York, we’ll likely come again to try the other trails. The park offers several more trails of varying length, with the longest one up to 10 miles (Bruce Lake Trail–I’ll have to build up endurance for that one).
In the meantime, the search goes on for the next adventure…