Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lehigh Gap Nature Center, PA

Lehigh Gap Nature Center

Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Case Study - EPA

Please Note:  There is full exposure on most of this hike.  Although no hunting is allowed on Lehigh Gap Nature Center property, part of the hike goes through state game lands where hunting is allowed except on Sundays.

GPS Coordinates 40.784222, -75.609287

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Lehigh Gap Trail System - Lehigh Gap Nature Center
Trail Maps and Guides - Lehigh Gap Nature Center (description of individual trails)

10 miles with 6 and 7.5 mile options (Click here for 7.5 mile version.)

APPALACHIAN TRAIL SECTION HIKING: - AT section miles 1241.9 to 1240.0

From the parking lot, head back towards the parking lot entrance watching for the Prairie Warbler Trail on the right.
The Prairie Warbler Trail has interesting interpretive signs about the revitalization of the mountain.
Outerbridge Shelter on the Appalachian Trail
Seasonal views to the east along the Appalachian Trail.
Leave the AT on the North Trail at the 3rd communications tower.
View west from the North Trail.
The North Trail follows near the top of the mountain with continuous views.
It sometimes looks like you will walk right off the mountain but the trail continues on.
The continuation of the Blue Mountain range comes into view at the far end of the North Trail.
Panorama from the North Trail.
The end of the blue-blazed North Trail continues to the Devil's Pulpit....
... on the North Trail NE.
North Trail NE to the Devil's Pulpit
It's a very steep, mostly rock scramble down.  Don't forget the only way out is back up.
At the Devil's Pulpit, a flat rock outcrop.
Panorama from the Devil's Pulpit.
The North Trail SW branch leads to the Charcoal Trail which runs a level below the North Trail heading west.
Views from the Charcoal Trail.
The Charcoal Trail leads to the Prairie Grass Loop which continues west.
Prairie grass on the Prairie Grass Loop - evidence of successful replanting even when dormant in the winter.
Looking back to the northeast from the Prairie Grass Loop.
Where most of the trails have had full exposure so far, the Chestnut Oak Trail follows a fairly level ledge cut into a steep slope through a wooded area.
Chestnut Oak Trail
The Chestnut Oak Trail leads down to the LNE Trail, a level rail bed that parallels the D&L multi-use rail trail 100 feet below.
LNE Trail
The pollution that destroyed the mountain.
Looking up at the Devil's Pulpit from the LNE Trail down below.
Although the LNE rail bed ends where there used to be a bridge, a footpath continues uphill and over a rise back to the Nature Center parking lot.

[0.00]    Walk back towards parking lot entrance and turn right up stone steps to Prairie Warbler Trail
[0.15]    Turn left on the pink-blazed Woodpecker Trail
[0.30]    Keep left on pink Woodpecker Trail when unmarked trail goes right; keep right when unmarked goes straight
[0.45]    Turn right on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail
[0.85]    Outerbridge shelter
[1.00]    Straight on AT when blue-blazed North Trail goes right (return route for 6 mile option)
[2.15]    Cross gravel road
[2.20]    Cross woods road
[2.30]    1st communications tower on right
[2.35]    Small power cut and 2nd communications tower
[2.60]    Turn right on blue-blazed North Trail and pass 3rd communications tower to the left at gravel road crossing
[4.60]    Turn left at blue painted DP on rock at intersection; short distance ahead keep right at unmarked fork
                **For 6 mile hike turn right back to AT, turn left on AT then left on Woodpecker Trail back to parking
[4.80]    Right on blue-blazed North Trail NE and descend to Devil's Pulpit; retrace
[5.05]    Back at sign continue North Trail SW to orange-blazed Charcoal Trail
[6.05]    Left on Prairie Grass Loop
                 **For 7.5 mile hike turn right and pick back up at 9.00 mile mark below when Prairie Grass Trail ends at LNE Trail across from the Bobolink Trail
[6.80]    Left on yellow-blazed Chestnut Oak Trail
[7.40]    Right on black gravel LNE Trail
[7.75]    Chain link fence area on right, Three Ponds Trail starts to left
[7.85]    Keep straight on LNE when Prairie Grass Loop Trail goes to the right
[8.25]    bench on right
[9.00]    Bobolink Trail goes left; Prairie Grass Loop to the Charcoal Trail goes right, keep straight on LNE
[9.50]    Under Devil's Pulpit at Lehigh Gap interpretive sign, LNE turns to narrower path
[9.70]    At fork, end of LNE with interpertive sign to left, footpath uphill to right to continue
[10.00]    Footpath ends at gravel loop road, go right on gravel road back to parking lot


  1. Love this place! We just discovered it this past fall, which is pathetic considering our proximity. We did the 6 mile loop 1/1/12. What a great way to start the year.
    We have pictures from other hikes there in this Flickr group

  2. Beth and Dave,

    Your pictures are great and I recognize all of them! I'd love to go back in the spring when things start blooming. I bet it would be really pretty then.


  3. Love the flying Squirrel!

  4. Is there a better hike than this within 2 hours of Delaware? This looks really promising for me to do as a day trip with my 10 year old to start to get him exposed to hiking and to climibing taller mountains. I like that there are so many views with the limited vegitation.... almost like being near the tree line.

    1. Keep in mind that it is full exposure on most of this hike and that would be brutal with the sun beating down in the summer. Since I am not out of Delaware, would be hard to say what is within two hours of you but there are all kinds of great hikes out there.