Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain

View from the trailhead

I first visited the Moosic Mountain preserve about four years ago.  The preserve is owned by the Nature Conservancy and protects some of the finest heath barrens in the northeast.  These barrens are home to two rare species of moths and feature stunted forests of pine and oak, along with rhodora, huckleberry, and blueberry.  The preserve also has more mature woodlands; it covers a total of 2,250 acres.

The preserve is now laced with many trails and is a prime destination for mountain bikers. The trails meander through woods, across meadows and along the barrens while dodging rock outcrops.  The trails are generally easy to moderate, although they can be rocky and wet.

The preserve is an odd place.  First, it was going to be turned into a business park, and some of the infrastructure had been put into place.  There are a few gravel roads the trails interconnect with and old ditches and ponds for storm water retention.

However, the views are simply beautiful.

We began on the Blueberry Trail as it meandered wildly across a burned meadow; there are controlled burns at the preserve to maintain the barrens.  The trail entered the woods and passed a neat bubbling spring before returning to the meadow.  Mountain biking trails tend to meander crazily, so we left it and hiked the perimeter of the meadow to a gravel road.

I noticed an unmarked trail to the right that seemed to climb through a larger meadow, so we took it.

Blue sky

The trail climbed up the meadow, offering amazing views across the Lackawanna Valley and northeast Pennsylvania.  You could probably see for 20 or 30 miles.

Views galore

You could see the ridges and the high plateaus beyond.  Unfortunately, I did not know where there is unofficial trail went to, so we retraced our steps under a deep blue sky and bright sunshine.

As far as the eye can see

Without a map, I wasn’t sure where to go next.  We followed another gravel road, turned on a trail, and turned on another unofficial trail that passed a bog that looked more like a canal.  We soon returned to the car.

I plan to come back to the preserve and hike more of its trails, which feature rock outcrops, a waterfall, pond, and forests of hardwoods and pine.

For more information about the preserve, including a trail map you can download, click here.

For pictures from my September, 2007 hike, click here.




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