Independence Day with Ben Franklin: Hiking Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve

[Credit: Maddy Jackson]
[Credit: Maddy Jackson]

What better way to celebrate America than to venture into the woods with Ben Franklin? Not the founding father, obviously – he’s just my dog – but the Fourth of July is the perfect day to get outside to enjoy the freedoms we have.

A great way to beat the heat and humidity of a Northeast Independence Day is to head to Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve, located roughly a half-hour from Lancaster, Penn., and two hours outside of Philadelphia. There, the small parking lot fills up quickly, so arrive early to start your journey.

On a humid, 90-degree day, this hike, shaded by trees and following a creek the entire way, is perfect. Along the trail, you’ll also find ample opportunities to cool down in the creek, easily Ben Franklin’s favorite part. In fact, keeping him out of the water is nearly impossible.

[Credit: Maddy Jackson]
[Credit: Maddy Jackson]
The blue trail closely travels with the creek and, after about 20 minutes, has a large swimming hole. So, to cool off on a hot Fourth of July, why not take the opportunity to jump into a natural swimming hole? At the end, the trail runs into a railroad; carefully cross it and then head down a hill by the small bridge. Here, you’ll find some social trails that lead to the edge of the Susquehanna River. It’s also a great place to eat lunch and go for a swim!

Better yet, the hike is light enough to do the entire thing in sandals, so I wouldn’t go without my Keen Newport H2O pair. As I was constantly jumping in and out of the creek with Ben Franklin and dealing with the river’s muddy bottom, they were extremely useful. I also wouldn’t go without water – and make sure to bring lots of it. Rounding out my list of essentials are Ben’s (the brand, not the dog) bug spray, sunscreen, my Eastern Mountain Sports hat, and a six-pack of local Victory beer – you can’t get more American than swimming in a river and enjoying a local craft beer. Don’t forget an inflatable tube if you want to float for a bit!

Also, please be sure to follow Leave No Trace guidelines: pack out what you pack in. Many want to see this place protected and preserved forever, so that it can be enjoyed for many more Independence Days to come!

[Credit: Maddy Jackson]
[Credit: Maddy Jackson]