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Hang gliding in Pennsylvania is an experience like no other. Learn about all of the best places to glide in the Keystone State in this expert guide.
Planning the perfect hang gliding trip can be daunting. There are so many locations to choose from and so many breathtaking sites to see. How are you supposed to know where to go? That's what we're here for and that's why we're writing about the best places to go hang gliding in each state. So where should you hang glides in Pennsylvania?
The best club in Pennsylvania to go hang gliding is the Hyner Hang Gliding Club. The best launch sites and areas in the state are Hyner View State Park, The Pulpit, Bill’s Hill, Jacks Mountain, and Weiser State Forest. Take to the skies and see Pennsylvania from above.
In this article, we will discuss some of the best places to go hang gliding in the Keystone State. Each location offers amazing views and a unique experience that you won't find anywhere else. So, whether you're looking for a new place to explore or you're just curious about what Pennsylvania has to offer when it comes to hang gliding, read on and you'll find everything you need to know.
Even though a lot of the information on our site comes from us directly thanks to our years of experience, we also take input from a number of other enthusiasts when we're coming up with these lists. After all, I don't want you to only check out my personal favorite places in Pennsylvania. By taking input from others, we're able to give you the most accurate list possible about where you should really go hang gliding. So strap in and get ready.
Is Pennsylvania Good For Hang Gliding?
When I first started flying, I dreamt of flying through the air in places like California, Florida, and Hawaii. Now don't get me wrong, these places undoubtedly have some of the best hang gliding locations in the US, but you have way more options than you might think. A state like Pennsylvania, for example, might be a hidden gem that's worth checking out. All you really need is good weather, gorgeous views, and places to launch.
Check, check, check.
The weather in Pennsylvania is actually really great for flying. You have four distinct seasons and can consistently glide through three of them (sorry winter). Spring and summer are ideal because the temperatures are warm but not too hot and the humidity is low. Fall is also a great time to fly because the leaves are changing color and the weather is still relatively mild. Winter often gets too cold to hang glide, but hey, you do you.
As far as views go, Pennsylvania is unsurprisingly gorgeous. The state is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, from the rolling hills of Lancaster County to the soaring peaks of the Allegheny Mountains. No matter where you go, you're sure to find stunning views.
And finally, Pennsylvania has no shortage of places to go hang gliding, so let's get into the good stuff.
What Are The Best Places To Go Hang Gliding In Pennsylvania?
So now you know that the weather is great and the views are spectacular, but where should you go hang gliding in Pennsylvania? We'll start off by looking at the best hang gliding club in the state that you can fly with and then I'll tell you about the best places to launch on your own. We'll even look at a couple of needles in the haystack that you might not see on other lists.
Here are our top picks.
Hyner Hang Gliding Club
Before we get into specific launch sites or parks where you should fly, let's talk about the best club in Pennsylvania: Hyner Hang Gliding Club. This club is based in the community of Hyner which is located in Clinton County near the border with New York. The club was founded in 1975 and has been flying strong ever since. As their slogan says, they've been "defying gravity" since they opened, offering enthusiasts in the area a place to learn to buy, buy equipment, and experience the beauty of Pennsylvania.
The club is open to both monthly and annual members, and each level has its own perks and benefits. You can't really go wrong with either one, but if you plan on flying a lot then the annual membership will obviously save you some money in the long run and it also has even more benefits than the other one. If you're just visiting, a full-on membership might not be worth the cost, but visiting the club is still worth it.
Members of Hyner Hang Gliding Club get access to all sorts of great launch sites, including:
- Hyner View (more on this shortly)
- Hyner East
- Bald Eagle Training Hill
- Sacramento (not California!)
- Jacks Mountain (more on this one later as well)
In short, Hyner Hang Gliding Club is the best club in Pennsylvania and gives you access to some of the best launch sites in the state. If you're serious about flying in PA, then you'll definitely want to become a member.
Now let's look at some of the most spectacular areas to launch and fly a glider in the state.
Hyner View State Park
Following that description of the Hyner Hang Gliding Club, the next entry on our list shouldn't come as a surprise. Arguably (perhaps even inarguably) the best place to go hang gliding in Pennsylvania is Hyner View State Park. Situated in the Pennsylvania Wilds, this state park is absolutely gorgeous. The views from the top are some of the best in the state, and if you're flying on a day with little cloud cover, you'll be able to see just about endlessly.
One of the most important things about Hyner View is that you have to be a member of the aforementioned Hyner Hang Gliding Club to fly here. That's because the park's launch sites are actually operated by the club, and they have a strict policy in place to only allow their own members to fly. So, if you want to take off from Hyner View, make sure you're a member of the Club!
But if you are able to fly here, you'll be treated to some of the best views in Pennsylvania. On top of that, the weather is usually pretty good for flying. The area gets a decent amount of rain, but you shouldn't have trouble finding a good time to go flying. The average high temperature in the summer is a comfortable 78-80 degrees or so, and it rarely gets too hot or humid.
In the area, you can also find lots of fun things to do once you're finished flying for the day. There's great hiking, fishing, and camping nearby, and the town of Renovo is just a few minutes drive away if you want to find some civilization. All in all, Hyner View State Park is an incredible place to fly and should definitely be at the top of your list.
Located just outside of McConnellsburg, in Fulton County, The Pulpit (or Pulpit Rock) is another great place to fly in Pennsylvania. This site is a little bit different from Hyner View because it's not actually part of a state park, nor is it operated exclusively by the Hynder Hang Gliding Club. This makes it a bit more accessible and it also gives you some of the best views of the Appalachian Mountains that you can find in the state.
The average weather is also a bit milder, making it a great place to fly all year round. In the spring and summer, you can expect temperatures in the mid to high 60s, with occasional days in the low 70s. Fall and winter see a bit more variation, with highs in the 40s and 50s, but lows can dip below freezing.
The Pulpit is also located close to some other great attractions. If you're a fan of history, check out the Gettysburg Battlefield, just an hour away. Or, if you want to explore some of Pennsylvania's great outdoors, head to Michaux State Forest, also an hour away. There's something for everyone near The Pulpit.
Next up on our list of the best places to launch a hang glider in Pennsylvania is Bill's Hill, located near Breezewood. This site is a great option if you're looking for something a bit more challenging, as it's known to be one of the more difficult places to fly in the state. So it might not be the top option if you're just getting into flying, but it does have some great hills to practice your foot launching on. Just be ready to take off and jet into the skies!
However, the views are more than worth it. From Bill's Hill, you'll be able to see all of Breezewood as well as the surrounding area. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Allegheny Mountains in the distance. And on clear days, you'll be treated to some truly stunning views of the sunset.
When it comes to weather, Bill's Hill is a bit more unpredictable than some of the other sites on this list. That's because it's located in a valley, which can cause thermal activity to be a bit more erratic. So it's important to check the forecast before you head out. But if you time it right, you'll be treated to some perfect flying conditions. Just be prepared for anything!
If you're looking for something to do after your flight, Breezewood is home to a number of great restaurants and shops. And if you're feeling adventurous, there's even a go-kart track nearby. So whether you're looking to relax or keep the adrenaline going, Breezewood has you covered.
This is one of those sites listed above as one of the common ones flown by members of the Hyner Hang Gliding Club, but this one does not seem to be exclusive to members only. This is a great place to take off from if you want to see some of the more rural parts of Pennsylvania. The views here are absolutely incredible, with a number of small towns dotting the landscape below.
Jacks Mountain is located in the borough of Lewistown, in Mifflin County. The mountain is part of the Ridge-and-Valley Province of the Appalachian Mountains. The peak of Jacks Mountain is about 2,320 feet above sea level and offers some great views of the Susquehanna River valley to the east and Bald Eagle Mountain to the west.
The average weather during the flying months (April through October-ish) is perfect for hang gliding, with highs in the 70s and 80s and lows in the 50s. The fall and winter months can be a bit colder, with highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s, but there are still plenty of days that are perfect for flying.
There are a number of other things to do in the area, including hiking, camping, fishing, and kayaking. The Susquehanna River is a great place to paddle around and there are a number of state parks in the area that offer great hiking trails. So it's a good place to come and spend a weekend if you want to do some hang gliding and explore the area a bit.
Weiser State Forest
While many of the sites on this list are open to the general public, another one that's only open to members of the Hyner hang Gliding Club that we discussed above is Weiser State Forest. Eligibility to launch here is even a bit more exclusive because you must also be a member of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Associated (USHPA) to launch here. But if you have the current sticker showing your membership, you're in for a treat!
The Weiser State Forest is one of the most popular gliding sites in the state and it's easy to see why. With beautiful views of the Appalachian Mountains, this is a must-see for any hang glider looking to get their fill of nature. From high above, you'll get to see different colors, wildlife, and maybe even a glimpse of the Susquehanna River.
The weather in this area of Pennsylvania is similar to what we discussed before. Spring and summer are the best times to fly, but you can also find good conditions in the fall. Winter is typically too cold and windy to fly, but the thermals throughout most of the year are great for taking to the skies and staying afloat for a long time.
It's certainly great for hang gliding, but there are so many more activities to do in Weiser State Forest. There are miles and miles of hiking trails that wind through the forest and if you're feeling adventurous, you can even go camping! Just make sure you leave the forest the way you found it so that everyone can enjoy it for years to come.
So there you have it, a comprehensive list of the best places to go hang gliding in Pennsylvania. No matter what time of year it is or what your skill level is, there's a spot on this list for you. So get out there and start exploring!