Pulpit Rock AT

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Pulpit Rock

Location: Near Hamburg, PA
Virtual Hike: Click here
Getting there: Click here
3 - it's all uphill, but the footing is good
Vertical Rise/fall: 897 feet
Length: 4.5 miles
Special needs: trekking poles

The trail is good, but has lots of little rocks that could twist an ankle
Why?: spectacular view

Trail Map in Relief

Click for full size image - 170k

Click for close up map

Elevation Profile
from Gate on Reservoir Road to AT and up to Pulpit Rock

Getting there

Click here for MapQuest directions.

Take PA Route 61 to the intersection with Blue Mountain Road north of Hamburg, and just south of Port Clinton. You'll see a trailhead for the AT here, but you'll not be taking that today. Continue on the same road, which changes it's name to Port Clinton Avenue until the intersection with Mountain Road. Take the sharp left onto Mountain Road, and continue to Reservoir Road. There is a parking lot at a dead end. The gate is where you'll begin your hike, and a nice map is there for your reference.

The hike

This hike is fairly straightforward, and there are really no views or sights along the way. If you are hiking for a weekend or you are a thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail, then you would like to know about the several springs, runs and the Windsor Shelter, but for a day hike, just bring along some water and go :-)

You start the hike from the parking lot of the Hamburg Reservoir, and there's a nice map painted onto some plywood at the gate. In addition to the AT, there are several other trails in the area. Nearby Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a popular day hike--so much so that there is an entrance fee to this National Landmark.

After trudging up a gravel road for about a quarter mile, take a right at the AT trailhead. It's clearly marked, and the gravel road starts you out in the right direction. After crossing a small stream over a bridge, the "real" hike begins.

Although the footing is generally rocky, it is nicely maintained, and fairly flat, considering the area.

A gentle climb will slowly bring you around the hill, crossing a few side trails, and a well marked spring. You will start to notice that the trail is getting increasingly rocky, and this means that you are near the top. Typical scree, rocks, and boulders greet you as you make your way to the vista, and you might catch a weasel peeking in and out of them--I did.

After passing through a rocky gauntlet of sorts, the path flattens out, leading to the "pulpit". The signage here clearly marks this as "Pulpit Rock". I had heard this spot referred to as "Dan's Pulpit", but Tom, a.k.a. "Hooahman" has informed me that Dan's Pulpit is another pulpit entirely, and it's about 8km away. Steve Hnath of the Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club, which maintains this section of the AT, confirmed.

At the vista, you can see all the way to Palmerton along the Blue Ridge, and South just about to Allentown--you can clearly see South Mountain. This is one of the better views in Pennsylvania, rivaling the Indian Wells Vista and the Little Juniata Viewing Area. While the hike isn't nearly as nice as these other two, the view is well worth it.

If you have a bit more time, you can hike along the AT to the Pinnacle, which you'll see to the left at Pulpit Rock, and it's possible to shuttle hike to Hawk Mountain. Hawk Mountain is better as a day hike in its own right, and you might consider it separate from the AT near here.

Behind you, as you look at the view, you'll notice some domes. These are owned by the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society, and thanks again to Hooahman for that info. No, you can't park in their lot just to get to the pulpit--it's gated off.

Virtual Hike

full vista from Pulpit Rock - JPEG 187k

Click here for a QuickTime VR view - QTVR 1.6MB
QuickTime VR

Smaller view - 60k






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