There’s no better time to enjoy Ephrata’s wide open outdoor spaces. To help you take advantage of all Ephrata has to offer, we’re highlighting a few of well-loved local outdoor destinations in our town that everyone must explore at least once.
Summer’s warm weather, long days, and ample sunshine make it an ideal season to spend outdoors, and there are plenty of spaces here in Ephrata that allow you to take advantage of that. Especially during this summer’s travel restrictions due to COVID-19, many are choosing to escape into the fresh outside air after being holed up inside.
From serene lakes to miles of paved trail, outdoor dining options, and other recreational activities, there are lots of wide-open spaces to enjoy in our little hometown!
There is no better place than the Thomas P. Grater Community Park when it comes to activities the whole family can enjoy! The park features 19 acres of ball fields, play structures, a creek where you can fish, and community pools to swim in. During the summer, there is a Concerts by the Creek series in the park’s bandshell, and the park also has a sand volleyball court and several walking trails. Grater Park is also home to the Eicher Arts Center and Museum, a historic venue with local and national artifacts on display, and the Ephrata Performing Arts Community Theater, which is a popular destination for live performances. We highly recommend heading to Grater Park for a picnic, an afternoon walk, or an enjoyable place to spend time with friends and family.
While several local favorites—including Griddle & Grind Cafe, St. Boniface Craft Brewing, and Olde Lincoln House—offer outdoor dining on a regular basis, more Ephrata restaurants than normal have outdoor dining options this summer! Whether you’re looking for a cool brew to enjoy on Black Forest Brewery’s beautiful patio, a glass of wine from Weathered Vineyards Wine Tasting Rooms, or a burger and wings from The Hill, you can savor your food while sitting outdoors at each of these locations. Hot “pressed” sandwiches from The Pressed Plate are also a fantastic takeout option!
Calling all cyclists, walkers, and runners—the Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail is the wide-open space for you. This 7.5-mile trail was constructed along an abandoned section of the Reading Railroad and offers a beautifully scenic tour of our local flora and fauna. The Ephrata trailhead parking is located on East Queen Street, and the path runs through several historical areas like Veterans Plaza as it winds through Ephrata Borough and Akron all the way to Lititz Borough. This is an activity everyone must do at least once this summer!
A 15-minute drive outside of Ephrata Borough will bring you to an outdoor adventure center like no other—Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center. With a zipline course, a wildlife center, horseback rides, climbing towers, and more, Refreshing Mountain has outdoor activities galore for Ephrata residents and visitors alike. Enjoy a quick night away right outside of town in one of the rental cabins, or invite your friends for a pool day in their community pool. Those who are daring can try the elevated obstacles course, and even if that doesn’t suit your fancy, there is much more to keep you occupied on Refreshing Mountain’s 80 acres of beautiful woodland.
A new addition to Ephrata that just recently opened to the public, the Ephrata Bike Park at Heatherwood features both a beginner trail and an advanced trail totaling 1.5 miles for cyclists of all levels. Adjacent to the Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail, this bike park sports a pump track, a balance bike track for the little ones, two bridges, dirt jumps, and three skills areas. It is a first-of-its-kind-park in the entire state that offers something for everyone with a variety of trails for all skill levels! Grab your helmet and your bike and head to the bike park to take advantage of this brand new community space! We’re proud to have partnered with the Susquehanna Area Mountain Biking Association, Ephrata Borough, Green Mountain Cyclery, and local brewers at St. Boniface Craft Brewing, Black Forest Brewery, and Pour Man’s Brewing Co. to see this project to completion. We are also so thankful for the many residents’ who have donated their own funds and time to help create this wonderful addition to our community!
Whether you’re an avid outdoor fan or you’re just starting to incorporate more outdoor activities into your daily routine, we hope you’ll consider these four ways to enjoy all that Ephrata’s wide-open spaces have to offer. Have fun exploring our outdoor scene!
What’s your favorite local wide-open space? Let the team at Mainspring of Ephrata know by messaging us on our Facebook or Instagram pages! We’d love to feature some of your favorites.