Take a hike!

Maizie Ecker , Staff Writer

Now that it’s officially spring, the temperatures are rising leading to more people going outside, hoping they can find things to do instead of sitting inside all day. There are plenty of parks or trails to visit all over York county, some that are open even through the cold winter months.

  The first place you could visit, and probably the most popular, is the York County Heritage Rail Trail. Stretching 21 miles from the Mason-Dixon Line north to historic Downtown York, the rail trail runs along the very same Northern Central lines that carried President Lincoln on his way to deliver the Gettysburg Address in 1863, and tragically, his funeral train two years later. The trail is packed with scenic views of the York County countryside, as well as history. Three historic structures are found along the trail, including Hanover Junction. Lincoln stopped at the station for two days on his way to Gettysburg.

  Another place that you could visit is Gifford Pinchot State Park, This 2,338-acre state park is packed with 18 miles of hiking trails, with easy options for beginners and difficult hikes for those looking for a challenge. You could take it easy on the 1.2-mile Gravel Trail that follows the path of an old woods road. Along the way, you might see some curious concrete structures. They’re actually supports from an old toboggan run never ended up being used. More serious hikers will want to hike on the Lakeside Trail. It covers 8.5 miles, and though it has some easy gravel stretches, more narrow remote sections make this a challenge, especially in wet conditions. However, it’s the most scenic trail in the park, and a great way for outdoor enthusiasts to spend a day in nature.

  Next is Codorus State Park, with Lake Marburg being the prime attraction in this state park. With that said, there’s plenty to do along the 26 miles of shoreline, too. Though all trails can be hiked, two are reserved specifically for hiking. A higher difficulty level, the Mary Ann Furnace Trail takes hikers through wetlands and forest area before coming to a fork. One path follows the lake’s shoreline, while the other takes hikers to a hilltop with a view of the nearby campground. Keep an eye out for ducks, herons, ospreys and maybe even a bald eagle or two while exploring Codorus State Park.

 Last is Richard Nixon Park, a 187-acre park with a nature center & hiking trails which is home to a variety of plant & animal life. Bikes, horses and pets are not allowed on the trails, and the park asks that activities are kept to a minimum. The park feature six miles of trails, and the Quiet Walk Nature Trail takes visitors on a leisurely half-mile hike surrounded by dogwoods, eastern red cedars and downed trees that serve as habitat for salamanders and other creatures. Special Sunday walks are held from April through October, and a nature center offers indoor exploration perfect for kids.

  Many of these places are open during all 7 days, throughout the day so you can visit them any day during summer. So what are you waiting for? Go outside, enjoy all of the scenic views and nature, and take a hike!