|Fall colors peeking through along the Golden Eagle Trail.|
I headed up to Hawk Mountain to meet friends and other outdoor enthusiasts involved with TerraMar Adventures, a Philadelphia-based outdoor adventure group I used to lead events for. I'd been to Hawk Mountain at least half a dozen times, but love hiking there because of the variety of experiences available. After checking out the visitors center and buying our tickets ($6 for adults, $3 for children into the Sanctuary, we hit the trails.
|The River of Rocks.|
We headed out on my normal loop, taking the River of Rocks Trail (red blazes), dropping 600' the mountain and into the forest, stopping to take a look at one of my favorite trail features, pictured left. Though it's still a bit early for vibrant fall colors in northeastern Pennsylvania yet, we got a taste of what's to come with yellow and orange leaves dotting some of the trees. Rhododendrons are among the most numerous plants we saw, and some species in the area are evergreen.
We looped around the River of Rocks and picked up the Golden Eagle Connector Trail, which climbs back up 600' in less than a mile. The yellow blazed Golden Eagle Trail connects to the Skyline Trail, which is my absolute favorite part of the hike. The yellow blazes were tricky to spot with the leaves starting to change, but the signage at Hawk Mountain makes trails easy to find and follow. Most of the trail is wide, though it narrows as it starts to climb. It's a tough part of the hike, but it's worth the trip.
|It's not all easy hiking on the Skyline Trail, but it's worth it!|
|TerraMar Adventures founder Carl Ewald, left, standing |
next to the sign for the Skyline Trail after
finishing the climb. As you can see by the blaze,
the trail goes straight up!
To learn more about the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, follow them on Twitter, visit the Sanctuary Association's Facebook page, the Hawk Mountain website, and of course, visit the Sanctuary itself!
What's the most unique trail system in your area? Do you have a place to watch bids of prey migrate? If you've been to Hawk Mountain, what's your favorite trail? Sound off in the comments!