Eat, Play, Live

Hang gliders defy gravity at Hyner View

Hang gliders take to the air.
Hang gliders take to the air. Photo provided

Editor’s note: This is part of the Eat, Play, Live special section.

Central Pennsylvania has no shortage of state parks to enjoy this spring and summer, but Hyner View in North Bend features one of the most scenic overlooks you can find anywhere. It’s popular for hang gliding, and is near a slow, shallow stretch of the Susquehanna River that’s perfect for fishing, kayaking and tubing. Here’s what you need to know about your next favorite spot in central Pennsylvania:

Why hang gliders love it

“The area below the overlook is not only free of trees, but it has launch locations in several directions, so long as the wind has a component coming from the west we can always launch straight into it,” Hyner Hang Gliding Club President Brian Vant-Hull says. “Combine this with the beautiful view and a combination camping and landing strip near the river, what more could you ask for?”

Hyner View has been home to foot-launched flying for both hang gliders and paragliders since 1975. With a spectacular view from the top wall, pilots and spectators can take in all that the area has to offer with just a short drive up the mountain. You can see them fly when the wind is blowing from the southwest to northwest at less than 10 mph.

The hang glider landing zone is 1,858 feet of flat, regularly mowed grass that was part of Hyner Airport from the mid-1930s to the 1950s. The landing zone is located next to the Susquehanna River and offers plenty of shade for camping and relaxation between flights. At night, the landing zone is illuminated with campfires surrounded by pilots exchanging flying stories.

Besides great flying, great friends and a relaxing atmosphere, Hyner offers many other activities for pilots and their families to keep everyone entertained during their visit. After spending a weekend at Hyner, you’ll understand why people travel from far away to enjoy the best site on the East Coast.

Best times to see hang gliders

There are about 25 pilots who regularly go to Hyner, along with another 25 or so who pass through from time to time. On a clear summer weekend, you can expect to see up to 20 gliders launch, some multiple times.

They have major “fly-ins” during each of the major three-day weekends during the summer — Memorial Day, Labor Day and Fourth of July — along with what they call their “Ox Roast,” a potluck that coincides with Renovo’s Flaming Foliage Festival on Oct. 12-14.

During those four weekends, hang gliders camp near the river, and you can see gliders setting up in the morning and evening to catch some launch windows, even if it’s not optimal to fly during midday when the thermals can carry gliders up to the clouds.

What else to do

A few weeks ago, the 2018 Hyner View Challenge 25K and 50K took runners over the area’s major climbs and descents. It was the perfect challenge for Mifflin County group The First Defenders, named after the local soldiers who were the first to respond to Abraham Lincoln’s call to war during the Civil War.

Even if you aren’t an ultra-marathoner, you can hike, run or bike these trails at your leisure along a 50-mile trail system running through the park. You can swim in the Hyner Run State Park free pool, enjoy excellent trout fishing, picnic in their seven-acre picnic area or even spend the night in their campground at Hyner Point State Park.