A walk in the park? Why yes, and there are so many choices | George Block

It’s a great thing to do any time of the year, but in the winter it can be a lovely peaceful thing to do. The colors are softer in the winter and you definitely need to bundle up, but even though it’s a county park ride, it’s a fun thing to do. Have you ever thought about how many parks Pennsylvanians have nearby? I’m sure readers will correct me and add some of their favorites, but here are a few of mine.

Cross Creek Park is beautiful in the winter and still has plenty to do with its geese, ospreys and beavers. Mingo Park is probably the closest county park to me and has some nice trails and roads to visit. A walk through it is very relaxing in winter as ice forms on the banks and hillsides. Ten Mile Creek Park is an older park, and you never know what you’ll see on the way.

Peters Lake Park is surrounded by a nice trail and you can bring your dog. Washington Park has trails that lead to interesting things like the fort. Canonsburg Town Park, Boyce Park, Mayview Park and Upper St. Clair Park are great for kids. Looking across is Raccoon Park, where you can stroll the deserted beach or take the trail along the creek. Ryerson Park has been improved a lot lately and is really a nice little park. If you haven’t been in a while, you really should go see it for yourself. Ohiopyle is beautiful in the winter and a great place to walk around with beautiful views of the falls or Ferncliff. McConnell’s Mills Park is also nearby. How about Laurel Hill State Park with its many streams, lake and trails. In winter it is very quiet. Moraine State Park is right next to Laurel. There are so many parks to visit that one could try a different one every weekend and find a favorite.

Being locked up all winter isn’t much fun. With the wide variety of parks nearby, there’s no reason to stay in the house all winter. Get outside, wander around, and you might be surprised at what you find. My last visit to Mingo Park pleasantly surprised me to see new improvements in the telescope viewing area. I hadn’t ridden this way in a while and it’s nice to see the new area they’ve opened up.

Hillman State Park is in Burgettstown. It is at 914 Kramer Road and has a nice covered bridge. Cedar Creek Park is another nice park in Belle Vernon with a great trail along the creek with a train track on the other side. Settlers Cabin Park is located in Allegheny County, just a short walk away.

If you want to drive a little further, maybe make a weekend of it, Pymatuning is wonderful in the winter. Eagles and birds create spectacular scenery. Go a little farther on the highway and you can visit Lake Erie in the winter and Almost Isle State Park. There is truly spectacular scenery and you have to drive to see if these houseboats are in the creek in the winter. Or if ice fishermen fish. All this is interesting in winter.

These are just a few of the many parks in our region. I’m sure you can name a few more. Some of the more remote little ones might be nice to visit in the winter. There are so many Pennsylvania parks to see and now is a nice, quiet time to visit.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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