If you’ve ever searched for something to do in the Pennsylvania outdoors, chances are you’ve visited Jim Cheney’s website.
Since 2013, UncoveringPA.com has been the first place many people turn to when planning their trips in Pennsylvania, whether it be in state parks, forests or cities. Jim has written countless posts and taken an endless number of photos highlighting the incredibly beautiful, fun and weird sites to visit in the commonwealth.
“What I like most about Pennsylvania is the great diversity of the state. Pennsylvania is fortunate to have two of the most fascinating cities in the country along with some of the best scenery in the eastern United States,” said the 39-year-old travel writer and photographer. “Whether you love big cities or small towns, history or natural beauty, there’s something really great to explore in Pennsylvania.”
Jim’s exploration of Pennsylvania came after spending two-and-a-half years working and traveling in Asia. After settling down in Carlisle, he found it difficult to find information on things to do in Pennsylvania.
“I knew almost nothing about the state, but figured that if I was having trouble finding information, others likely were too, so I decided to just start traveling and sharing my finds with others,” he said.
Uncovering PA was born. While Jim makes all of the subjects he writes about engaging and informative, his work on our state parks and forests is particularly inspiring.
His wonderful photos, descriptions of scenery and appreciation for the Keystone State’s natural wonders are ever present in his writing of the outdoors.
“Pennsylvania’s state parks are a phenomenal resource. Not only are they totally free to visit, but they also have some incredible resources in them and a bit of something for everyone.” Jim said. “Whether you want to just relax on a beach or hike 10 miles to see a waterfall, you can find a great experience in a Pennsylvania state park.”
Jim’s state parks and forests posts are some of the most helpful out there. His descriptions of hikes are packed full of useful information to ensure you have a fun, memorable and safe experience. A self-proclaimed “waterfall nut,” Jim provides an incredible amount of information on beautiful waterfalls to visit. In fact, he wrote the book on it – “Waterfalls of Pennsylvania: A Guide to More Than 180 Falls in the Keystone State.”
Jim can help you find a quirky site to visit, a new brewery to check out or a vista that will knock your socks off.
“My site has grown tremendously and outdoor content (along with legal-to-visit abandoned places) has been the major catalyst for my growth,” he said. “People have a huge desire to know what is in their public lands, and there are a ton of special places to share throughout the state.”
One of Jim’s newest undertakings is UncoveringNewYork.com – a travel website that is exploring what our friends to the north have to offer.
“Writing about New York has made me really appreciate Pennsylvania’s state parks,” he said. “That’s not to say that New York’s aren’t great, but with Pennsylvania’s parks being free, they are accessible to anyone at any time, which really makes them special places to visit. I’ve also really come to appreciate the quality of the infrastructure and even the maps.”
At this point, Jim says he’s visited about two-thirds of Pennsylvania’s state parks. Ricketts Glen State Park is the park he’s visited the most. With 22 named waterfalls, it’s the perfect place to take pictures of stunning waterfalls.
Along with Ricketts Glen, Jim says his favorite state parks include Ohiopyle, McConnells Mill, and Presque Isle. While Jim said he plans to visit all 124 state parks, it’s not something he wants to rush.
“It’s something I’m casually working towards given that my goal is to visit every tourist attraction in Pennsylvania.”
If it takes him one year or 20, we can’t wait to see his posts exploring them.
Written by guest blogger Christian Alexandersen, this post is the third in a new series featuring outdoor influencers focused on PA’s parks and forests! This series will highlight those who explore, adventure in and steward the state’s parks and forests.
Do you know someone that you think should be featured? Be sure to tag us on Instagram at @paparksandforests.