The area of Hawley, Pennsylvania, offers a natural maze of hills, valleys, forests and streams that will keep hikers busy for days. The trails range from those easy enough for families with small children to navigate, to a few rugged trails for advanced trekkers who are searching for a challenge. Hiking the trails around Hawley is one of the most intimate ways to discover the nature that abounds around this quaint Victorian town.
Ledgedale Natural Area Trails
This 80-acre woodland tract is located at the southern end of Wallenpaupack Lake and offers four interwoven hiking trails: Lenape, Big Tree, Pond and Moosewood. The trails are re-purposed logging roads, so they meander through some heavily wooded areas. Therefore, there are less "landing spots" along the way for picnics. Points of interest include large boulders that were carved out by prehistoric glaciers, a variety of native birds and wildlife. Some lucky hikers will spot deer, ground hogs and blue jays. Parking can be accessed from Ledgedale Road.
Shuman Point Natural Area Trails
Start at the parking and information center and move uphill to reach the main trail or move on to the Blue Trail. Pick up a map while you're there to clue in to some unmarked trails, such as the 60-acre Beech House Creek Wildlife Refuge hike. The main trail parallels the shoreline of Wallenpaupack Lake, which gives hikers a panoramic water view on one side and a forest view on the other. Keep your ears wide open for the area's song birds.
Wallenpaupack Lake Trail
The Wallenpaupack Lake Trail is a very easy hike with 1.8 miles of mostly level trail (however, it is not wheelchair accessible). Start at the Wallenpaupack Visitors Center and continue along Wallenpaupack Lake to the Wallenpaupack Dike, the beach and the Wilsonville Campground. Near the end of the hike, you will hit the Wallenpaupak Environmental Learning Center, which will give you a run down on what you may have seen along your journey. The center is a good way for families with small children to keep them engaged in the hike and help teach them about respecting the trails -- "take only what you brought with you and leave nothing behind." The trail is open from sunrise to sundown, all year long.
Blue Trail starts as an old road which was once the entrance to Wilsonville Village. The trail runs parallel to the shoreline of Wallenpaupack Lake at most times, so hikers can get some amazing waterside views on one side and an array of trees and wild flowers on the other. Try to identify as many tree species as you can along the way. You may see chestnut, oak, white pine, red maple and white oak.
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