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  1. #1
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Default Very (very) short hike in PA with decent payoff?

    Hey, all. My dad, who is 83 and in pretty decent physical shape, has asked if we could do a short hike on the AT this spring. He lives in lower Bucks County, PA, so the stretch from, say, Port Clinton to Delaware Water Gap is all within a ~90 minute drive. This is sort of a bucket list type thing for him - he's heard us talk about hiking for 30 years and decided that the time is right, I guess.

    I've never hiked in PA. We need a very short (<3 miles total), fairly level hike, preferably with a nice view or something. Looking at the Companion and Google Maps, I see two that might work: Bake Oven Knob, or possibly Wolf Rocks.

    Bake Oven Knob: about half a mile and 100 feet up to the Knob, then another half mile and 200 feet down to the shelter. This is probably doable. Is there a decent view from the Knob? How's the road to the trailhead? Looks like an 8% grade down to the shelter? Might be too much.

    Wolf Rocks: 1.6 miles from the trailhead, but only 200 feet of elevation gain. Is this really that level, or does the elevation profile conceal a lot of ups and downs? He says he thinks he can do 3 miles total, which I think is accurate given the walking he is doing at home.

    Or maybe there is something at DWG where we can drive to the top of the ridgeline and walk out to a good view? I've never been there, and the maps aren't as helpful as people who have.

    Hoping to do this in early May.

    Thanks for any feedback.
    Ken B
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  2. #2
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    How about starting at Route 225 just north of Duncannon and hiking north as far as you want. The parking area is on top of the ridge so almost no elevation to worry about. There are some good views at the power lines to the north but also some great views of the River to the south. Then have lunch at the Doyle.
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    i forget which would be the easiest approach, but there are multiple approaches and i dont think theyre too bad, but go to the pinnacle

  4. #4
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    i forget which would be the easiest approach, but there are multiple approaches and i dont think theyre too bad, but go to the pinnacle
    Cool. Where is that? Remember I've not hiked in PA...
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    i forget which would be the easiest approach, but there are multiple approaches and i dont think theyre too bad, but go to the pinnacle
    I started to say the same thing. There is a gravel road that goes along the reservoir making its way up to the back side of the Pinnacle. But it is further than way further than 3 Miles. Here’s a local map.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    Cool. Where is that? Remember I've not hiked in PA...
    the Pinnacle is just northeast of Hamburg PA.
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    sorry didnt fully appreciate the mileage limit/didnt properly recall how far the pinnacle hike is.

    cant say i have good options then but will say wolf rocks, if i'm remembering it corrctly, is kind of a big uneven tricky unlevel rock you have to sort of balance on, though i may be thinking of a different spot in the same sort of area. im about 75% sure.

    i dont recall what the actually knob at bake oven knob is like.

    how far is the top of mt minsi? that might come near to 3 miles total but is quite rocky

  8. #8
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Yeah, not sure about Mt Minsi and where we would start, not at the bottom of the gorge, natch.

    Looking at Google Maps there are lots of photos of the view from Bake Oven Knob. Nice rock outcrops and good views. Lots of graffiti. Looks like an easy hike with a good payoff.
    Ken B
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  9. #9

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    If you go through the guide book and look for the camera icons, there aren't many of them in PA. Although the climbs in PA are short, they can be on the steep side. E-W roads cut across the ridge at low spots. Some are shallow dips, some are significant cuts in the ridge.

    The DWG requires a very steep climb to get up to the top of the ridge. There's a place called "council rock" 0.5 miles from the parking lot. Couple 100 foot climb, popular with the tourists. It's just before the climb gets really steep, just around the corner.

    I don't think Wolf Rocks has a view. I took a picture at every view I came to in PA and I don't have one for the day I passed by Wolf Rocks. That's also the section with the real ankle twisty rocks. All in all, I don't have very many pictures from PA.

    Bake Oven Knob has no view. But there is one at Bear rocks, 2.4 miles south of the shelter, which is 2.4 miles from the nearest parking area. That was a real easy stretch. That could be your best bet for an overnighter. I seem to remember that was a nice place.

    The Pinicale is the "McAfree knob" of PA. I think there is a way up there which is shorter then the AT, which is a long ways.
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  10. #10

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    Rats, I tried to delete all those sideways photos. Anyway, if you turn your head sideways, that's superman on as best I can tell, Wolf Rock. I found Superman my first day on the trail crossing the field at the War Correspondents Memorial in MD, he traveled with me all the way to NH and had his picture taken flying over every vista along the way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post


    The Pinicale is the "McAfree knob" of PA. I think there is a way up there which is shorter then the AT, which is a long ways.
    its been about 8 years (yikes) and i dont remember the exact route but i could swear i made my way up there some way that didnt involve the AT that was really quick. something to do with the astronomy installation thats nearby.... parked there maybe i dunno and i'm feeling to lazy to go dig the map of the area out, but the notion that its a 10 mile roundtrip to get there seems off with my recollection.

  12. #12
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    Big Cranky - I live just N of your dad. Does it have to be PA? The AT in NJ just N of Mohican Outdoor off Flatbrookville Road center makes a nice flat walk along ledges and vistas for about 3-4 miles. Easy to get on and easy to walk. Views to both the east and the west (at spots)
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  13. #13

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    Pinnacle is $, but I think too far. Bake Oven Knob isn't too hard, but quite rocky. The view is amazing, but too crowded and covered with graffiti. Wolf rocks is very tricky and not really a view. However, heading NB from 191 there is a pipeline view past the Kirkridge Shelter. Another option would be 501. The shelter is just NB from the road and a cool indoor shelter. There is a short walk SB to a pipeline view and some rock views I believe. Some parts of that are a little rocky, but I think that it might be doable. I live near Wind Gap and have done all of PA. It is tough with the rocks.

  14. #14

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    Looking at the map, I think 501 you can get to both views SB without too much rocky. NB past the shelter is smoothish if you need distance. Bake Oven Knob, I wouldn't go to the shelter. If he can make it to the view, I would turn around and head SB over Bake Oven Knob Road. The trail is smooth woods road there for a bit. Depending how far you make it, there is cool rocky glacial deposits near the trail.

  15. #15
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Thanks for reminding me about the PA rocks. Maybe in early May we'll get out there before the trail maintainers sharpen them.

    This isn't an overnight. We don't need mileage. Just a taste of the Trail, and a view would be great. Doesn't have to be PA, could be NJ, I'll take a look at that, and also the hikes around 501. I do like the Bake Oven Knob idea because we can stop at a brewpub in Allentown for lunch on the way home. Also very easy to get there on the Northeast Extension.

    I'm hoping we can pull this off. He's in good physical shape right now, but he has an illness that will, at some point, start to get worse and prevent anything like this.

    Thanks for all the suggestions.
    Ken B
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  16. #16
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    From the parking at Fox Gap, it is only 0.6 to Kirkridge Shelter and a nice view from a field/camp area just past it. in the other direction, Wolf Rocks is only 1.1 the other way. Not sure how short you need, but that is at least an easy-ish section and is short.
    Last edited by Kaptainkriz; 02-11-2019 at 19:44.

  17. #17
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    I concur with another comment about Wolfrocks. It is easy for many people but it is rock scrambling, scary if you don't like heights and scary if you don't rock scramble lots. I had to do a small part on my butt, and was much slower than others in my group. Also the stretch in NJ with the boardwalk is good on a nice dry day. And there is bridge to climb up and down with well built steps, so you have the feel of climbing but less danger.

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  18. #18

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    It might be a little far for you to drive, but there is a nice overlook on the AT outside Duncannon PA called Hawk Rock. Very nice view. 1 mile in. 1 mile back out. It may be a little much for your dad as it is about 700-800 feet of elevation gain.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ap...!4d-77.0409393

  19. #19
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    Shartlesville-Cross Mtn Road to Eagles Nest Shelter would be a little over 2 miles of ridge hiking with little elevation change. Don't know if the road is open though, nor how rocky. You might want to contact Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club and tell them your situation and ask if there's vehicle access/parking.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Shartlesville-Cross Mtn Road to Eagles Nest Shelter would be a little over 2 miles of ridge hiking with little elevation change. Don't know if the road is open though, nor how rocky. You might want to contact Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club and tell them your situation and ask if there's vehicle access/parking.
    AWOL says that's an overgrown dirt road. There is parking on Game commission Road (Gravel), 5.3 miles south of Eagles nest.
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