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My Favorite PA / NJ Hikes (so far)

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

Moving back home to Pennsylvania after four years of living in North Carolina has brought me back to hiking some of my favorite childhood places, as well as inspired me to continue to explore new places around me! While most of my hiking is been in PA this year, I've also started to venture into my neighboring state of New Jersey more, and would eventually like to start checking out more hiking spots closer to New York as well, so if anybody has any suggestions please comment them below!! (shoutout to Nikki @travels.and.trails on Instagram for not only suggesting this post but for also always being sharing the cool hiking spots in PA/NJ/NY that she's checking out - I've definitely gotten some ideas from her!) Most of my hiking consists of local parks on flat dirt trails usually near some sort of body of water, however, my favorite type of hiking is any spot that has a significant elevation gain and leads to some sort of overlook, so most of the hikes. Without further ado, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite spots to hike around PA and NJ (There will be more posts as I continue to explore new places)...

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary - Kempton, PA

I also mentioned this hike in my Fall in Eastern PA post but it is one of my all-time favorites! I came here for the first time on a 7th grade field trip, but definitely appreciated it a lot more when I came back in my twenties, and cannot wait to go back this Spring. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is perfect if you're a hiker, bird watcher, photographer, or all of the above! It's located in Kempton, PA, and offers a few different trails, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail. The hikes vary from about 2 miles - 6 miles depending on which trails you tend to take ( I like to use the AllTrails app to find trails!) The Trails are very well marked, and I would rate them as moderate (however if you go when there is snow, make sure to have proper spikes). My favorite time to visit, as well as the most popular time to visit, is the Fall because of the changing leaves as well as peak hawk migration, but Spring is also another great time to visit! The parking lot at Hawk Mountain fills up very quickly though, so my advice is to try and get there before 9:00am. The sanctuary officially opens at 9:00am, however, you can go in earlier. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary does charge a $10 entry fee per person which goes towards their park and bird conservation efforts. The pretty much 360-degree view from the top is absolutely worth it though!

Viewpoint #1 at sunrise at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Pulpit Rock - Kempton, PA

Neighboring Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is another hike I'm so glad I came across- Pulpit Rock. Pulpit Rock is pretty much right next to Hawk Mountain in the same town of Kempton, PA, and also has a larger sister hike - The Pinnacle, which I have yet to do, but plan to this Spring! Pulpit Rock is about a 5.5 mile "moderate" (I'm a prett