Find adventure in Columbia and Montour counties

Cindy Ross

Nestled in the heart of Central Pennsylvania, the neighboring counties of Columbia and Montour provide a combined destination full of rural beauty and outstanding adventure opportunities. The landscape is comprised of idyllic river valleys, rolling hills, green farmlands, charming communities, forests, parks, and state game lands. This natural playground is located only a few short hours north of the Washington, D.C. area, and is perfect for a weekend getaway.

One of the area’s most exquisite natural wonders is Ricketts Glen State Park, where hikers can enjoy a vast network of trails past 22 stunning waterfalls as well as old growth hemlocks. The area boasts beautiful rails-to-trails for walking and biking as well as high-caliber races for the fierce competitors.

The Montour Preserve is also an outdoor lover’s dream with a 165-acre lake perfect for fishing and boating, a bird sanctuary, maple sugaring in the early spring, and great hiking trails. For history buffs and archaeology lovers, a one-acre exposed Mahantango shale pit at the Preserve is open to the public for finders-keepers fossil hunting from dawn until dusk. The Susquehanna River weaves though the counties and is a perfect location for a leisurely kayak, canoe, or tubing excursion.

Amusement rides and covered bridges

Nostalgia is heavy in the air at Knoebels Amusement Resort, where the old-fashioned rides and secluded woodland setting evokes sweet memories of childhood. Knoebels has no entrance fee and offers free parking. The park was recently named the “Favorite Traditional Amusement Park” in the country.

One of the most prominent historic attributes in Columbia & Montour counties are the 25 covered bridges. These symbols of small-town America coax travelers off the beaten path to explore pretty streams and forgotten dirt roads, as well as enjoy a picnic lunch.

Weekend travelers have plenty of lodging accommodations to choose from with more than a dozen bed and breakfast options as well as a number of hotels, motels, and campgrounds. After a tasty home-cooked breakfast, visitors can stock up with picnic goodies at a local farmer’s market and set out for a day of exploring. Find treasures in the boutique or antique shops or visit one of the area’s wineries. The recently unveiled River Rat Brew Trail is Central Pennsylvania’s only craft beer trail and takes you to 11 enterprising breweries with countless specialty drafts. Signature events in the counties include the Covered Bridge Festival in early October and the Bloomsburg Fair in September. In mid-July, Frontier Days in the Benton area features championship rodeo and bull riding, an event considered one of the best east of the Mississippi River.

From the earliest blossoms of spring to the last leaves of autumn, the counties have no shortage of fun in store for an unforgettable getaway!


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