Rangers say you're sleeping on these beautiful, underused National Park trails

Man walking alone on woodland trail during fall
(Image credit: Getty)

National Park Rangers say hikers are missing out on miles of stunning trails that are sadly underutilized – possibly because people don't even know they're there. Western Pennsylvania alone has around 33 miles of trails, spread throughout five National Parks, that visitors rarely explore.

"I feel that the NPS [National Park Service] trails are underutilized, in large part because I don't think the communities realize they even exist," Stephen Clark, superintendent for the five parks, told WJAC TV.

US National Parks offer over 21,000 miles of trails for hikers to roam, so it's understandable that some see more boots than others, but Clark and Park Rangers say people are missing out on some hidden gems – particularly at Allegheny Portage Railroad, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Flight 93 National Memorial, Friendship Hill National Historic Site, and Fort Necessity National Battlefield.

Friendship Hill, for example, has 10 miles of hiking trails, including scenic routes through woods and meadows, and on the bluffs overlooking the Monongahela River.

"We really have trails for everyone, whether you're interested in learning about history as you're hiking through our parks, or quiet contemplation or remembrance," said Park Ranger Elizabeth Shope.

There are also plans to construct more trails soon, linking three of the five parks in Western Pennsylvania for even longer adventures.

The National Park Service app (free to download for Android and iOS) is a particularly handy tool for finding lesser-used trails. You can also use the trail map on the NPS website to help plan your next hike.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.