Outdoor Winter Adventures

When winter arrives in the Juniata River Valley, those who love the snow, and the cold will have plenty to keep them occupied. Here are nine awesome ideas for epic winter activities for your JRV winter bucket list. All of these adventures are weather dependent. 

Photo by Two Brothers Bicycle Company

1. Mountain Biking

Cooper’s Gap is 27 miles of seamless non-stop singletrack trails that really shine when there is a couple of inches of powdery snow covering the trails making for a quintessential winter ride. The climb up the mountain on Pigpile Trail affords a stunning vista overlooking Big Valley.


2. Cross-Country Skiing

For those who enjoy the peace and tranquility of cross-country skiing, there are plenty of trails in our state parks that become winter wonderlands including Greenwood Furnace State Park, Reeds Gap State Park, and Poe Valley State Park.


3. Ice Fishing

The six-acre Greenwood Lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park is regularly stocked with trout and the popular 25-acre Poe Lake at Poe Valley State Park is great fishing for trout, pickerel, perch, and catfish. Ice thickness is not monitored at either lake. Fishermen are encouraged to test ice thickness with an auger before recreating. Four inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended thickness for a single person.

4. Snowmobiling

Groomed trails through rolling landscapes and dense forests make this part of Pennsylvania a great place for sledders. Our state parks and state forests offer hundreds of miles of trails including almost 200 miles of trails in Rothrock State Forest and Bald Eagle State Forest boasts 250 miles of roads and trails. Greenwood Furnace State Park, Poe Valley State Park and Poe Paddy State Park all offer joint-use trails for you to kick up some snow this winter.


5. Disc Golf

Mostly seen as a summertime sport, disc golf can also be fun in winter. Walking from hole to hole lets players savor the beauty of winter, especially the glistening lake at Faylor Lake Disc Golf Park in Beaver Springs. While winter play may not be as competitive as summer, now is the time to just enjoy the game.


6. Carriage/Sleigh Rides

Surprise your valentine with a romantic ride through the postcard-worthy countryside of Big Valley with Dayze Gone Bye Carriage Rides. Book a horse-drawn carriage ride or sleigh ride (weather dependent) for a beautiful ride along snow-dusted trails or fields.

Greenwood Furnace State Park

7. Ice Skating

Glide across the glimmering and picturesque Greenwood Lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park. Natural ice may not be as smooth as an ice rink, but the view in the park is spectacular. Before venturing onto the ice, make sure the ice is at least 4” thick for a single skater and 7” thick for a small group.


8. Bird Watching

From nature preserves, rivers, lakes, and mountains, to your own backyard, winter is an opportune time for birdwatching in Central PA. You can spot species that hang around all year like blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, and juncos. You don’t even have to leave home! Place a bird feeder in your backyard and keep a log of the types of birds that visit!

9. Hiking

There are many beautiful hiking trails in the Juniata River Valley, and you don’t have to wait for summer to get outside and enjoy them. Our state parks have many trail systems to choose from including Greenwood Furnace State Park, Reeds Gap State Park, Poe Valley State Park, Poe Paddy State Park, and Alan Seeger Natural Area. Bundle up and head for a brisk walk at Stone Mountain Hawk Watch and you will be rewarded with stunning views of the valleys from the bird watching platform. For beginners, try the S.H. Rothermel Walking Trail that starts at Victory Park in Lewistown or the trail at Lewistown Narrows Canal Park that stretches to the fishing access area in the Narrows.