The McDade Recreational Trail extends most the length of the park and provides views of the river, charming streams, open farm fields, forests, and historic landscapes. The trail offers hikers, bikers, and cross-country skiers areas of varied difficulty, from easy to strenuous. With trailheads distributed between ½ and 5 miles apart, this trail offers a section for just about any visitor. Additionally, most trailheads are along the park's free bus route that operates summer weekends.
From Hialeah to Owens trailheads, the trail is mostly flat as it traverses former settlements and farms. From the Owens Trailhead on Freeman Tract Road, the trail switchbacks sharply up the side of the Hogback, or ridge, to the park's headquarters. Observation decks on the side of the headquarters facility provide wildlife viewing areas.
Between park headquarters and Bushkill Access, the terrain becomes rolling hills. Numerous structures, foundations, and other traces remain from the once thriving community of Bushkill.
North of Bushkill Access, the trail follows a narrow ribbon of land between US 209 and the river and then continues nearly level through agricultural fields and forests to Schneider Farm.
The next several miles of the trail are dominated by the river to the east and the cliffs to the west, with the trail and US 209 squeezed between in places. From Raymondskill Creek to Milford Beach, the Raymondskill Cliff parallels the nearly flat trail.
The northern terminus of the McDade Trail is Milford Beach, a popular recreation site for local residents since 1945. Whether you start from this end, Hialeah, or a point in between, you are sure to find something to fit any mood.
This trail is burgeoning with history. The following links provide insight into the history of the places along the McDade trail:
- History along McDade Trail I: Hialeah Picnic Area to Turn Farm/Owens Trailheads
- History along McDade Trail II: Hogback to Hornbecks
- History along McDade Trail III: Dingmans Campground to Milford Beach
This trail is typically busier in the summer season (especially during weekends) although is also open to cross-country skiing usage in the winter.
- Speed limit is 15 mph.
- Bikers yield to hikers.
- No motorized vehicles.
- Leashed pets are permitted along the trail except at Milford and Smithfield beaches and between Smithfield Beach and Hialeah late spring to early fall.
- Camping only permitted and the Dingmans Campground.
- The section between Pittman Orchard trailhead and Conashaugh trailhead is closed due to eagle nesting from December 15 through July 15.