Join the NEPA Winter Challenge

Carli Tabone, Assistant Program Coordinator
Northeast Region

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council is partnering with DiscoverNEPA on a series highlighting some of the region’s best outdoor adventure destinations. Keep an eye on this series for updates on PEC projects, volunteer opportunities, Get Your Tail on the Trail activities, and more.

Experience NEPA Trails in Winter

From the frosted blue evening sky to the drooping branches of a snow-covered Mountain Laurel, there are so many beautiful sites to take in throughout the Northeast region. This month, we’re kicking off the Winter Challenge with NEPA Get Your Tail on the Trail to make it easier for you to break the winter blues and take in the peacefulness of the season. Sign up for free at and log 30 miles of activity before February 29th to earn your winter challenge badge and free swag.

A great way to stay motivated during the colder season is to participate in group exercise and to be a part of an outdoor recreation community! Here are some of our favorite opportunities to help you embrace the winter weather with others.

The Van Scott Nature Reserve, home of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, hosts more than three miles of public trails that take users through ponds, wetlands, and historic farmland.

Our partners at the Rail Trail Council of NEPA host an endless array of opportunities on the D&H Rail-Trail. They host walks nearly every Monday morning, a monthly full moon hike, and will hold pop up snowshoeing and cross-country skiing events when weather permits! If you don’t want to be a part of an organized event, there are several trailheads to start and end your adventure on the trail. We recommend checking out the trailhead in Union Dale where you can visit the Rail Trail Council office staff and grab a mouthwatering sandwich and healing, warm coffee from Cables General Store.

Where to Explore

The NEPA region boasts an extraordinary number of state parks, many of which offer winter activities fit for the whole family. Check out DCNR’s calendar of events for the latest information about events like Track Hikes at Vosburg Neck State Park and Winterfest at Lackawanna State Park and Nescopeck State Park! Nescopeck is also a local favorite for their snowshoe loaner program! When the conditions are right, visitors are allowed to rent snowshoes for free on a first come first served basis. Or choose your own adventure at another one of the region’s great parks! Frances Slocum is close to the city of Wilkes Barre and is great for winter bird watching – its frequent flier is a Bald Eagle if you have a good eye! For the thrill seeker, with the proper equipment and knowledge, the place to go is Ricketts Glen State Park. You can even book a trek to participate in Winter Waterfall Ice Hiking, one of the region’s coolest new activities!

The annual Winter Challenge aims to motivate users to get outdoors and remain active at a time of year when most of us have lost our steam. Whether you log a single mile daily or the course of the challenge, or longer distances every couple of days, 30 miles are within reach. Learn more about the challenge and other Tail on the Trail badges at