Anchored by densely forested peaks and known for its bounty of skiing and other cold-weather activities, Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains region is in fact a wonderful place to visit throughout the year.
Outdoor adventurers will love the scenic hiking trails and ample birdwatching in shoulder seasons, while the area’s lakes and rivers attract boaters and water-sports enthusiasts in warmer months. The resorts, water parks and historic towns dotting the region appeal to families with kids of all ages, rain or shine, warm days or cold.
Whether you enjoy skiing, hiking, sipping craft beer, you’ll want to read this month-by-month guide to the best times to visit the Poconos.
High season is the best time for skiing and hiking (January–February and June–August)
It snows the most in the Poconos in January and February. Accordingly, this is when the region’s mountain resorts draw skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers from around the country.
Expect dense crowds, with prices for rentals, lift tickets and lodging at their highest. Travelers with more flexibility can opt to visit on weekdays, when lift tickets and equipment rentals are less pricey. Or you might plan to ski in the afternoon, when some resorts, including Big Boulder, offer a discount lift tickets after 3pm.
In the summer months, sunny weather lends itself to boating, swimming and fishing in the region’s myriad rivers and lakes. The occasional rainstorm can help cool things down, making hiking and mountain biking popular in June, July and August.
Avoid the crowds in shoulder season (December–March and October–November)
A visit just before or after peak ski season means there’s still snow on the mountains but fewer crowds in the lift lines. Visitors can enjoy après-ski at resorts’ bars and restaurants.
And while summer’s waterfront activities cool down in the fall, September, October and November are prime months to take in the region’s stunning fall foliage. In these months, take advantage of the web of hiking and mountain biking trails to see the region’s dense forests transform into brilliant shades of red, orange and gold.
Hawkeyed budget travelers should stay alert to airline or hotel deals during this period.
Save a few dollars by visiting during low season (April–May and September)
Even if spring is a little sleepier in the Poconos, it’s still a beautiful time to visit. Some of the region’s parks – including Big Pocono State Park – shut down for the winter season and reopen in April. With highs hovering between the mid-50s to 60s Fahrenheit, it’s a lovely time to explore the mountainous terrain without heat or humidity.
It’s worth checking the weather forecast before packing for a trip in September. While the temperature ranges from 50 to 70 degrees, it’s also the rainiest month of the year, so pack accordingly.
Expect large crowds in January
Winter is in full swing in January, the Poconos’ snowiest month of the year. Expect crowds at the area’s ski resorts, with visitors taking advantage of peak conditions for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and tubing.
Key events: ski season, snowshoeing season
February is for winter sports fun
February is still prime time for winter sports in the mountains, with both crowds and good ski conditions found at the region’s mountain resorts. Also on offer: charming small-town winter festivals that feature live entertainment, ice-sculpture carving and more.
Key events: Stroudsburg Winterfest, Jim Thorpe Winterfest
Hit the hiking trails in March
March starts off with cold weather as ski season starts to wind down. Temperatures start to creep up by the end of the month, and biking and hiking trails beckon once again.
Key event: Annual Stroudsburg St Patrick’s Day Parade
State parks open in April
With winter’s ski season in the rearview mirror, April means that several state and local parks that closed down for the winter reopen to visitors. Big Pocono State Park, for example, opens the first week of the month. Some of the region’s small towns host Earth Day festivals, while the town of Jim Thorpe holds its annual film festival.
Key events: Earth Day festivities, Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival
Go fishing in May
The weather starts to warm up in May, and outdoor adventures like hiking, biking and fishing start up for the season.
Key events: The Jim Thorpe Birthday Festival, Lehighton Downtown Partnership Annual Wine on the River Festival
June is for the outdoors
With highs in the mid-70s and humidity low, June might be the best month for outdoor adventures. Small-town festivals are in full swing.
Key events: Annual Great Tastes of Pennsylvania Wine & Food Festival, Honesdale Roots and Rhythm Arts festival
Take to the water in July
July marks the hottest month in the Poconos, and this is when lakes and rivers come alive with folks boating, swimming and fishing. In the region’s towns and villages, Fourth of July festivities are also a fun draw.
Key events: Lake Wally Fireworks, Annual Audubon Arts and Crafts Festival
Enjoy county fairs in August
During the long, hot days of August, visitors come for outdoor activities, plus the plethora of charming, old-fashioned county fairs, some of which have been running for well over a century.
Key events: 160th Annual Wayne County Fair, Carbon County Fair, West End Fair, Pocono State Craft Fest
There are fewer crowds in September
With enduring warm weather but fewer crowds, September is an excellent time to visit the region for hiking, adventure parks (including zip-lining) and horseback riding. Labor Day festivities are also a draw.
Key events: Stroudfest Labor Day, Pocono Garlic and Harvest Festival
October is leaf-peeping season
Temperatures start to dip in October, and the mountains start to show off red, gold and orange fall foliage. Visitors continue to come for such outdoor activities as hiking, canoeing, kayaking and biking, while fall festivals, pumpkin patches and Halloween celebrations are also on the agenda.
Key events: Pocono Environmental Education Center Harvest Festival, Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival
November is ski season
Temperatures start to dip in November, with averages running between 31 and 47 degrees Fahrenheit. Ski resorts in the region start preparing for the season, with most opening in mid-to-late November.
December is for holiday festivals
With temperatures hovering in the 20s and all the mountains open for the season, December is all about cold-weather outdoor activities, from skiing to snow tubing, ice skating and sleigh rides. Both resorts and small towns host an array of holiday festivals and activities.
Key events: Jim Thorpe’s Olde Time Christmas, Hawley Winterfest