Blue Mountain Loop; Appalachian Trail Hike
Mileage: 5.46 miles Directions
Rise: 1257 ft Facebook
Hike Time: 2 hrs by myself Printable Map
Significance: views, Appalachin Trail
Here is some of what you need to know: This is a part of the Appalachian trail. If you live within 100 miles of this place then you will know it as the trail above the turn pike tunnel. Fires in this area are heavily frowned upon, read below. Many of the area mountains were almost destroyed from zinc mining back in the day leaving the drive here almost as interesting as the hike.
1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them large
The good news is once you get up the first hill the rest of the hike is fairly level. The bad news is the first hill is about a mile long and has a rise of 900 feet in elevation. The two balance out in my book. A rule of thumb for me is a 1000 feet up over a mile is going to hurt, and this is pretty close. While their are rocky parts on the trail it was not overwhelming.
At about 1/2 mile you come across an Appalachian Trail shelter. It is one of many places on this loop to sleep or set up a tent. Their are fire rings at these places but a hiker told me even a small fire can attract police and fire departments.
Always take 2 pictures in case you make a mistake. If you happen to make a mistake with both pictures…
Soon after the Shelter you come to this 3 way intersection where the North Trail leaves the (AT). I took the North Trail and It heads Steeply up hill for a little less than 0.5 miles.
At the top of the hill a trail splits off to the right and is marked by yellow blazes. The short trail (about 0.3 miles up and back) leads to the Devils Pulpit. A small rocky area with the first real vista of the Lehigh Valley. Notice the dessert like mountain in the pic. That is the legacy of the zinc mining industry. While their are trees on Blue Mountain, their are not many on the nearby hills.
Back to the main trail (blue blazes). For the next 2 miles you can cruise along the top of this mountain. It is mostly level and you will weave between woods and open vistas. A few years ago we were hiking here and the whole top of the mountain was a field of long dry grass. It looked very cool and kids loved running through it, but I remember thinking it would not take long for a small fire to turn into a large one. Sure enough it happened. These pictures are 2 weeks after the fire.
It was not the whole mountain that burned but the lush dry grass waving in the winds was replaced by charred ground and emptiness. Fortunately it does not take long for new growth to return. These fronds are one of several plants taking advantage of the open sky and fertile soil.
At about the 3 mile mark you will come to a second set of radio towers. Here the trail turns and goes over to the other side of the mountain. This is where you will return to the AT. If you have taken the same route as me then you will turn left. From here it is about 2 miles back to the car.
This is a cool hike on the Appalachian Trail near NEPA. The first hill was tough but it was cool to be able to hike along that long stretch at the top and see view after view. When I had the kids they were bored and tired on the last stretch, but over all we had lots of fun. Check it out and let me know your experience.
***Weather *** Click on weather icons for future forecast ***Weather***