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Hiking Mount Misery at Valley Forge

Hiking Mount Misery at Valley Forge

Hiking Mount Misery at Valley Forge

If you are into history and hiking Valley Forge is a great spot to stop.

A brief history:

During the Revolutionary War, Valley Forge was commanded by General George Washington and functioned as a military encampment for the Continental Army’s main body.

In the winter of 1777, General George Washington led his 12,000-man army into Valley Forge.  They remained there from December 1777 to June 1778. For six months, Valley Forge was one of the largest cities in the colonies. Washington’s men created crude huts to serve as temporary barracks. George Washington set up his headquarters in a small stone building considered to be the “Pentagon.” General Washington and his men worked there.

Hiking Mount Misery at Valley Forge

During the winter, roughly 2,000 soldiers and about 1500 horses died due to disease or malnutrition.

Today, Valley Forge National Historical Park preserves 3,500 acres of the original encampment site.  Since it’s such a historic area, along with most of Philadelphia, I highly recommend taking a trip if you’re around.


I’ve been to Valley Forge multiple times, but it wasn’t until recently I knew there were trails. My good friend and writer, Jen and I headed up on a cool Thursday afternoon.  There are a few trails that you can hike at Valley Forge and Washington’s Headquarters. Jen actually trained for her trail race in the park. From Washington’s Headquarters, you have the choice to hike Mount Misery and Mount Joy. We chose Mount Misery, but I want to come back to Mount Joy soon.

Hiking Mount Misery at Valley Forge

You can park at Washington’s Headquarters in Valley Forge. At Washington’s Headquarters, there are bathrooms as well as a still in use train station.  There are also guided tours too. Walk down the Train Station platform and down the steps.  As you continue along the gravel path at Valley Forge, you’ll see Washington’s Headquarters.  Continue straight until you get to the road. At the fork, you can start with alley Creek Trail or Horse-Shoe Trail. It depends if you want to start with the easy (alley Creek Trail) and finish with the harder (Horse-Shoe Trail) or the opposite. Horse Shoe Trail is what takes you to the peak.

Hiking Mount Misery at Valley Forge

We started with Valley Creek Trail which is an easy, flat, trail. Horse-Shoe Trail takes you up Mount Misery and the Valley Creek Trail takes you back. You can see an old Covered Bridge as well. Hiking up trails on Mount Misery in Valley Forge is roughly a 4 miles from the parking lot at Washingtons Headquarters.

Hiking Mount Misery at Valley Forge

In all, it was a fun hike and I’m glad Jen and I did the Mount Misery Trail. I’m looking forward to hiking the Mount Hope Trail soon.

Hiking Mount Misery at Valley Forge

You can see more hikes here.

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We both needed a trip out of the house. Diner+hike it was.

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Questions for you:

What is the last historical spot you went to?

Have you hiked Mount Misery at Valley Forge?

 

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Chimney Rocks Trail via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Chimney Rocks Trail via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Chimney Rocks Trail via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

That’s a trail name, right? Chimney Rocks via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail. As most people know, the Appalachian Trail goes from Georgia to Maine. One thing to note, is in Central PA, many of the hikes have little to no cell service. I would download and view a full map before heading out.

Chimney Rocks Trail via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The Chimney Rocks Trail is located in Michaux State Forest.  Michaux State Forest is massive and the Chimney Rocks Trail is closer to South Mountain.  The peak at Chimney Rocks is beautiful. While the trail itself is about 4.8 miles roundtrip has approximately 1000 feet of elevation gain in the first two miles.

Chimney Rocks Trail via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The Chimney Rocks Trail begins at the yellow gate along Biesecker Gap Rd.  It follows the road until reaching the spur trail.  There were about five parking spaces in the parking lot and parking area and we got the last one. The Chimney Rocks Loop Trail wasn’t too busy. In the 2.5 hours we were out, we saw four other parties.

Once you get it on the trail, it slowly climbs to the summit. I thought: “wow this isn’t too bad,” but it gets steep quickly. The first two miles are almost entirely uphill and you get most of the 1000 feet elevation gain there. It makes coming down much more manageable. The Chimney Rocks Trail is rated as moderate, which is all in the first two miles.

Chimney Rocks Trail via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Around 2.2 miles, the trail finally reaches a junction labeled ‘Chimney Rocks Lookout.’ You can look over and see beautiful rock formations: “the Chimney Rocks.” At the Chimney Rocks, you get views of Pennsyannia and Michaux State Forest. There is even a small Waynesboro reservoir. It was one of the better views I’ve seen on the Appalachian Trail.

Chimney Rocks Trail via Hermitage and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

I’ve been hiking a lot in my Hoka Speedgoat Midi

After viewing the top of Chimney Rocks, you can go down a more natural terrain with fewer rocks. It’s slightly longer but easy, with a few stream crossings, and view at the bottom.

In all, if you find yourself in Central PA, Chimney Rocks is a great view.

You can see more hikes here.

Questions for you:

Hae you been to central Pa? Hae you hiked the Chimney Rocks? 

Hiking the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop (Appalachian Trail)

Hiking the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop (Appalachian Trail)

Hiking the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop (Appalachian Trail)

Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle are supposed to two of the best views on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.  They didn’t disappoint. Both points offered an endless view of the Leigh alley and surrounding areas.

Hiking the Pulplit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

Even though it was 25 degrees when we started, the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop parking lot was busy. When we started at 8 am on a cold day, we got one of the last spots. By the time we were done around 1 pm, the parking lot was filled and people were waiting. While we didn’t see an overwhelming amount of people on the  Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop, there were people out. To avoid the crowds for a day trip, hike the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop early. I didn’t realize it was a big tourist attraction too!

The Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop is about 9.1 miles and has 1300 feet in elevation gain. 

After you park at the Hamburg Reservoir parking lot you’ll follow the gravel road (blue-blazed) uphill where the hike starts.  While you can hike to either Pulpit Rock or on the Pinnacle Loop, for the full hiking experience, hike the 8.7 mile circuit together.

Hiking the Pulplit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

Start of Hiking the Pulplit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

Then make your way onto the white trail (Appalachian Trail). The first two miles are the hardest when you climb to Pulpit Rock and the first ista.  The next mile requires climbing over rocks and also low-grade scrambling.

Hiking the Pulplit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

You’ll need a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or trail shoes. (I prefer the Hoka Speedgoat Midi).

Hiking the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

It’s rocky terrain with a rocky slope to get to Pulpit Rock.

Hiking the Pulplit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

Once you reach the top of Pulpit Rock, you’ll see views of Lehigh valley, surrounding ridges, and Pennsylvania farmland. After taking in the iew at Pulpit Rock, follow the trail to the left. That will take you along the Pinnacle Loop.

Hiking the Pulplit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

Hiking the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

To continue on the Pinnacle Loop, you’ll take the blue trail.  You’ll follow the ridge and pretty much have a beautiful view until you get to the Pinnacle. After the Pinnacle, you’ll pretty much be on fire roads the rest of the way back. The last 4 miles are easy hiking and an easy downgrade to the bottom. You won’t have to worry as much about rocks and terrains and can easily take your time.

Hiking the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

Hiking the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop

In all, the Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop was one of my favorite hikes to date. 

You can see more hikes here.

Questions for you:

Hiked the Appalachian Trail? Hae you hiked Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop?

What is one of your favorite hikes? 

Hiking Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Byrne State Park

Hiking Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Byrne State Park

One of my favorite hikes in NJ is Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Bryne State Park.  To get to Brendan T. Byrne State Park, you take Route 72 East. Turning into Brendan T. Byrne State Park, you’ll see signs for Pakim Pond. You can park at the front and walk the 3 miles to Pakim Pond or there is a parking area too. To drive and get to the parking lot of Pakim Pond, you’ll take sand roads.

Pakim Pond is a beautiful spot in the NJ Pine Barrens with plenty of pine trails, sandy trails, and cranberry bogs. When people think of New Jersey, they don’t think much about the Pine Barrens. I’ve run and hiked Pakim Pond so it’s a fairly flat and smooth surface.

Pakim Pond NJ

During the spring and summer, there can be several ticks so I always caution people to watch out in the Pine Barrens. At Pakim Pond, the signs are vague so make sure you know the trails well. Since I’ve been a dozen times, I don’t typically have an issue.

Pakim Pond NJ

You can start at the front of Brydan T. Byrne State Park or start the hike from Pakim Pond.  Most of the hiking and running is on the Batona Trail. There are plenty of trails in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest from the Cranberry Trail to the Misery Trail White and the Mount Misery Trail (Mt Misery Trail).  Plus at Pakim Pond there is a parking area, park office, and picnic areas.

We decided to park at the front and walk over to Pakim Pond, around, and back. In total it was about 6-7 miles of easy and flat terrain. 

Many years ago, I even ran a race here.

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Beautiful day for a short hike ✌️ 🌞

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You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

What is one of your favorite spots to hike?

Locals: have you been to Pakim Pond or Brendan T. Byrne State Park? 

 

Hiking Sunrise Mountain at State Forest

Hiking Sunrise Mountain at State Forest

Hiking Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

I’ve wanted to hike Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest for a while. It’s just over 2 hours and about a 14-mile hike, so it takes planning. Sunrise Mountain is worth the drive and it was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done in New Jersey.

Stokes State Forest has several activities and camping hookups including group sites, sites with fire rings and picnic tables, tent and trailer sites, group campsites and camping areas. Plus it’s only a short drive from the Delaware Water Gap National Park and Buttermilk Falls.

You can drive up to Sunrise Mountain and there are several spots and parking lots you can park along the Appalachian Trail. Around the viewpoint on the Appalachian Trail, there are multiple viewpoints, so it’s more crowded.

There is a pavilion at the top of the Mountain with benches, a water tower, and picnic areas. We sat on giant rocks and ate our bagels.

The terrain at Stokes State Forest is relatively easy and not the rockiest terrain we’ve done. Even the Appalachian Trail isn’t as challenging. The trail does a short, steep, climb up to the summit of Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest.

The view at the top of Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest is beautiful and you can see the Poconos, Catskills, Wallkill valley, NJ Highlands, Delaware Valley, Tillman Ravine Natural area, and Pochuck Mountains.

Photos from hiking Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest:

The start and trailhead of Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest 

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

Huts along Sunrise Mountain in at Stokes State Forest. There are plenty of group campsites and spots to stop an hike.

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

Climbing stairs towards the summit of Sunrise Mountain

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

There is a giant pavilion at the summit of Sunrise Mountain

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

As you can see Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest is worth it

Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest

As you can see Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest is worth the trip up. It’s one of my favorite hikes in New Jersey and I can’t wait to go back.

You can see all of the hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you hiked the Appalachian Trail? Have you ever hiked Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest?

Where is your favorite spot to hike near you? 

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