Friday, October 28, 2016

Nolde Forest State Park, PA

Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center - Pennsylvania DCNR
Of particular interest is the history of this park, something I thought about throughout the entire hike - a lone little pine tree and now a forest.  Worth reading before going there.
From an article in the Reading Eagle, there is no hunting from 9AM to 3PM and on weekends so depending on the time, you can avoid hunting.

GPS Coordinates 40.28134, -75.94835
Sawmill parking lot - there are several other parking option and apparently the lots fill up fast on weekends.

Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center - PA DCNR
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The only picture I have of the drive in is of these news helicopters covering what was happening just one mile ahead as I sat on the PA Turnpike extension for 2 1/2 hour.  Apparently the turnpike remained closed through the evening rush hour so I guess sitting in Reading, PA rush hour traffic to get to I-78 on the way home paled in comparison.
At long last, we arrived and started by walking along the kiosk...
... turning left on the entrance road and crossing the bridge, then right on ...
... the Watershed Trail.
The Watershed Trail follows along Angelica Creek.
Turning left on Sweetland Trail.
Then right on the Pond Trail.
North Pond
North Pond from the other side.  There is a footpath around the pond but it became impassible for the wheelchair so we had to go back and get on the mowed paths which circle the pond but from a distance away.
Almost looks like a Halloween jack-o'-lantern.
The pond trail is a little steep and rooted but we were able to manage it with the wheelchair.
On to the Beech Trail.
After a little more steep, rooted trail it begins to smooth out.
So happy to be in the woods instead of whining in the car while we were stuck on the turnpike.  OK, I admit, we were both whining about it.
Turning right on Coffee Pot Hollow Trail.
The woods are simply gorgeous.
A little bit of a view in the pipeline cut.
The is a sign for the American Volkssport Association.  They hold scheduled hikes which take place on specific days and year-round hikes which are hikes you can do on your own any time.  This is the sign for their year-round hike in Nolde Forest.  I got started hiking by doing the AVA hikes many, many years ago.  I stopped doing them when it became mostly road walking in towns but they still do sometimes hold the events in parks.
That AVA sign was where we turned right on the Coffee Pot Trail, apparently different than the Coffee Pot Hollow Trail.
Just after the Coffee Pot Trail merges back with the Coffee Pot Hollow trail, a kiosk up head in the ...
... Firegate 3 parking lot. 
We continued beyond the barrier on the fire road, which turned out to be the Apple Tree Trail. (There was no sign at the gate.)
Apple Tree Trail
At an intersection, a bench for a break.
From that intersection, continuing on the Boulevard Trail.
Then a right on Cabin Hollow Road.
Cabin Hollow Road
This runs along Punches Run which was bone dry at this time.
At this intersection there were many options.  Which way to go?
It was the gorgeous Middle Road that beckoned us.
Another bench for another break.
Passing the water tower.
Right on the Kissinger Trail.
This comes to a picnic area just before Fire Gate #5.
Going left on the Owl Trail.
Then right on the Pileated Trail (just after I tried to get a shot of a pileated woodpecker but missed).
This trail is more rugged and narrow.
There was more colorful foliage in this section.  I was surprised at how green it still was here.  It was like stepping back a month in time versus just a little farther north.
Coming off of the Pileated Trail on to a left on Buck Hollow Trail.
Buck Hollow Trail
We made a hard right on to the Painted Turtle Pond Trail which switchbacks a short distance down to ...
... Painted Turtle Pond.  I did not want to try to get the wheelchair over that little dam so we retraced from here.
Once back on the trail ...
... it becomes the Chestnut Trail.
The Chestnut Trail crosses over the park road to...
Nolde Mansion
We took the paved Mansion Road...
... to where it merged with the Watershed Trail coming in from the left.
Cross a bridge on the left then leave the road on a foot path at the brown sign.
Watershed Trail along Punches Run.  The trail forks - to the right steps go up back to the parking lot but to avoid that...
... we continued straight and looped around by the kiosk where we had started the hike.
This is where the right side of the fork would have come out ...
... right into the parking lot.
What I do on hikes like this were there are so many trails and it's hard to come up with a plan in advance is I keep a highlighter in my pocket along with the map and highlight where I have been so I can keep track.  Makes it easier to get around to where I haven't been yet without going in circles.


  1. Good morning. I discovered your blog while researching hikes in the Catskills. Great blog!
    Why does your dog use the wheelchair, if I may ask?

    1. Thanks, Bob! Shawnee is 15 1/2 years old now and having nursed severe arthritis in her spine and knee for a few years with supplements, injections, chiropractor, acupuncture, laser... her back legs have finally weakened over the summer to the point where she was going to have to give up hiking. I decided to try a wheelchair and it has worked so well for her, she loves it, and it has kept her hiking so we are both very happy about that!


  2. Glad the wheelchair has helped. She sure is pretty.

    1. Thanks. She is the best hiking partner ever :)

  3. This looks like another great place to hike. Always happy to see Shawnee doing well. God Bless you both. Thanks for sharing. Joanne from NJ

  4. Hi Daniela -- what an *excellent* pick for a hike! I've been to this park too many times to count, and *never* get tired of it! There is definitely NO trail that is not worth checking out, but I too enjoy the Middle Road trail -- sort of makes me wonder if this is similar to Redwood National Forest (though on a "smaller" scale! ) :)

    Glad you also made it to the Painted Turtle Pond area...even though you didn't want to chance going across that section with the large gap -- would be nice if (after all these years) the people in charge of the park would perhaps put a little something there to (more easily) cross the gap for those who have (perhaps) a slight handicap/special equipment (such as, I don't know...maybe a *dog wheelchair*??) But seriously, this is a neat little section of the park, and when I was there in June 2007, I was lucky enough to snag a photo of a Painted Turtle sunning him- (or her-) self on a rock!

    Not sure if you did the entire Boulevard Trail, but it is gorgeous to say the least. Another favorite of mine is the Watershed Trail (which I know you covered in this hike) -- definitely a huge treat walking along and hearing the babbling water of Punches Run along the way!

    Oh, and the Pond Trail (with the pond), and Coffee Pot Hollow Trail -- can't get enough of those trails, either!

    (Did I mention I LOVE this park??) :)

    Anyway, glad to see Shawnee is enjoying everything too -- kudos to her for *owning* that wheelchair, and continuing hiking with you...for her, it's "business as usual"!!

    Looking forward to your next hike (the one after Ramapo Mountain State Forest, that is -- I did read that entry as well, but I won't let Shawnee know!) :)

    Happy Hiking!!

    -- Jim

    1. You really do love this park, LOL! I just wish Punches Run had some water in it but it was bone dry. Guess I will just have to go back in the spring when there is some water. Plus I did not do the entire Boulevard Trail. All the more reason to go back! (And thanks for not telling Shawnee :))