Get wrapped up in the breathtaking views and crisp, refreshing mountain air of Hawk Mountain. Located in east-central Pennsylvania along the Appalachian Flyway, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary seamlessly blends natural beauty with wildlife education.
Dedicated to preserving birds of prey, Hawk Mountainopened in 1934, educating the public on the importance of conserving the ecosystem. As the world’s first refuge for raptor preservation, the bird conservatory works to “reverse negative attitudes toward predatory birds.” The Sanctuary keeps annual counts on the migrating raptors. These counts are especially important because they keep a steady watch on any changes in the birds’ migration patterns.
Upon entering the 2,600-acre conservatory and education center, one is struck by the sudden shift in the environment. Gone is the stressful world that lies at the bottom of the mountain. At Hawk Mountain, one is completely surrounded by nature. And with nature comes a more serene locale. In Kempton Valley (which is where Hawk Mountain is situated), it’s the beauty of nature that overwhelms visitors. Upon arriving at the nature-centric attraction, one can expect to see the awe-inspiring beauty of Mother Nature at her most pure and unadulterated. Eight miles of meandering trails, a plethora of wildlife and tall, gnarly trees all contribute to Hawk Mountain’s charm.
In addition to walking the trails and admiring nature’s finest, Hawk Mountain offers a variety of educational activities to take part in. In the month of April, the reserve will be hosting a wealth of activities to celebrate Earth Day which will include events specifically for children. As the months grow warmer, Hawk Mountain will begin their moonlit walks. North Lookout Moonwalk allows visitors, ages 12 and up, to hike their way up the rocky terrain to the popular lookout at night, with the moon’s soft rays as their guide.
Hawk Mountain also hosts weekend programs that include viewing hawks up close, learning the history of Hawk Mountain, a guided tour of the native garden plants that are found on the mountain, to name a few. The program also caters to kids, so be sure to check out “Birding with Binoculars,” in which attendees will learn how to identify raptors and other birds. Most of these programs are relatively short, running at less than an hour long. This allows for visitors the flexibility to explore the majestic Hawk Mountain how they wish.
Hawk Mountain boasts several astonishing lookout points. East Rocks (elevation: 1475 ft.), located on Skyline Trail, offers a picturesque, overhead look of Kittatinny Ridge. During the spring and fall seasons, this is one of the best places to see migrating raptors. One of Hawk Mountain’s most eye-popping sites is North Lookout. Its 10-foot vertical drop requires visitors to climb over large rocks in order to see the amazing view.
The River of Rocks (elevation: 700 ft.) involves the most endurance of all nine trails because it requires 3-4 hours of daylight in order to walk the entire trail. Sunset Overlook is perhaps the most stunning lookout point. True to its name, Sunset Overlook faces the west which supplies a beautiful view of day bleeding into night as the sun sets over the mountain. Skyline and Golden Eagle Trails are the most physical of trails that only experienced hikers should attempt to climb because they are very steep and can be exhausting to non-hikers.
Hawk Mountain is an excellent choice for anybody seeking to take an inexpensive day trip. Parents will love the kid-friendly Visitor Center and kids will love the opportunity to see the myriad of wildlife scampering about. Hawk Mountain also presents a great opportunity for friends to spend a day together or it can be the perfect way to spend time alone.
To find out more information about Hawk Mountain’s events, visit their web site.