July 09, 2024 4 min read

I love adventuring in Pennsylvania. In 2023, I began my quest to hike in all 124 PA state parks. 

I started out simple - with day trips to the parks nearest to my home in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern PA but soon realized I would need to do more planning and research to make it to the rest of the parks across the Commonwealth. 

It was then that I discovered Purple Lizard Maps.

Purple Lizard makes award winning outdoor recreation maps of some of the best areas to explore in PA (as well as fantastic destinations in VA, WV, OH and soon MD!).

The amazing statewide Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Lizard Map is an important resource in my trip planning.  I plan my trips around the state parks I want to visit. 

Planning with my PA Statewide Lizard Map

There are so many uses for this map!

I open my statewide PA Lizard Map because it helps me see everything there is to do in the areas surrounding the state parks and the possible adventures along the way. This first of its kind map has so many features, but my absolute favorite is that it features all 124 PA State parks, and 20 state forests (although it also features 115 Rail trails and Bikeways, long distance hiking trails, and much much more!).

I love hiking in the state parks, but I also enjoy checking out cool spots outside and on the way to the parks. For example, on my recent trip to Lackawanna State Park, I checked my map and saw the Purple Lizard for the Tunkhannock Viaduct and checked it out. It’s an incredible spot that I never would have known was there! 

I like to use it during any road trip to find fun places to stop along the way to break up a long drive and add a little adventure to an otherwise dull drive. 

The Art of Lizard Seeking

Of course, like all Purple Lizard Maps, the PA Statewide Outdoor Recreation Lizard Map features the iconic little purple lizards which indicate a cool spot, vista or, well, something worth visiting. 

All Purple Lizard Maps are packed with Lizards and they encourage folks to explore the landscape a little deeper and head out find a few Lizard spots.  

In just the last several months, my PA Lizard Map has taken me to many beautiful places across the state.

Here are ten of my favorite "Lizard spots" so far. . .

1. Mount Davis

Located in Somerset County, is the highest point in Pennsylvania at 3,213 ft.  This is a fun spot. There are several hiking options to choose from, but the highlight is the observation tower with some sweet views of the surrounding Forbes State Forest.  

2. Buttermilk Falls


This gorgeous destination in Indiana County is part of the Fred Rogers Trail as it was once the estate of Fred McFeely, the grandfather of Fred Rogers.  The highlight is the 45-foot waterfall visitors can walk behind.

3. Flat Rock Overlook

The Flat Rock overlook is a natural rock outcrop located in the Tuscarora State Forest and offers a 180-degree view of the Cumberland Valley. The best way to access the overlook is from Colonel Denning State Park. Once you get to the top the vista looks south, which is actually all on the Purple Lizard Michaux Map.

4. The Trails at Jakes Rocks

The Trails at Jakes Rocks, located in Warren County in the Pennsylvania Wilds, are a destination mountain biking trail system, but are also open to hiking. Though they were built for mountain biking, hikers and trail runners also enjoy these trails just outside of the beautiful town of Warren PA. I enjoyed the short walk through the woods to the overlook of Jackson Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir.

5. Colton Point State Park

Located on the west rim of the Pine Creek Gorge, Colton Point State Park has a rustic charm and offers great views of the canyon.  

6. Poe Paddy Tunnel

The hike to the Poe Paddy Tunnel from Poe Paddy State Park is a favorite of mine.  The John Snyder Trail runs along Penns Creek and joins the Mid State trail to take you across a neat wooden bridge on your journey through the 250-foot-long tunnel.  

7. The Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park


This the most impressive of the boulder fields I have seen. It is a large, flat area with no vegetation and plenty of room to explore. Visitors can hike or drive to the boulder field.

8. Cucumber Falls - Ohiopyle State Park

A visit to Ohiopyle State Park isn’t complete without a short hike to Cucumber Falls.  The 36-foot waterfall is the tallest and most popular of the waterfalls in the park. You can find more detailed adventures in the Laurel Highlands on the Purple Lizard Ohiopyle-Laurel Highlands Map.

9. The Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct

This is the world’s largest concrete railroad bridge. It’s an impressive sight.  There is a small park along Route 11 where visitors can catch a great view of the bridge. 

10. Spruce Flats Bog

This is a high-elevation bog located in the Forbes State Forest. It’s a short and easy hike to this incredible natural wonder with a variety of unique plants. You can find more lizard spots in Forbes State Forest on thePurple Lizard Ohiopyle-Laurel Highlands Map.

Endless Adventure Awaits

These ten spots are just a small sampling of the endless adventures available using the PA Purple Lizard map. There is so much more to see, and I look forward to seeing it all! 

I am grateful for this incredible resource to help me find all the best spots as I  plan  more state park trips in PA.Pennsylvania is a beautiful state and Purple Lizard maps make it easy to make my own PA adventure.

By guest blogger Kim Debes, photos by Kim Debes

Kim is an adventure seeker, hiker, family trip planner, wife and mom who is hiking all 124 PA State Parks.

Follow her adventures on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok  @Kim.hiked.it

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