Moon Lake Park is a place that seems forgotten. First established in 1968 and covering 800 acres, the park has clearly seen better days. Or has it? Even though its campground is shuttered, the swimming pool sits empty, and the tennis courts lack nets, in some strange way, this has only forced people to explore the hidden beauty of this once bustling park.
Instead of families packed around the pool with the blaring whistle of a lifeguard, Moon Lake is now known for its miles a technical singletrack. It has become a prime mountain biking destination, with a web of trails that stitch the forest. Instead of concrete amenities, it is now the simple beauty of the park and its trails that attract people.
Mountain bike trails are notoriously curvy and hard to navigate from a hiking perspective. While these trails are not ideal for hiking, they do explore some stunning places. The premier highlight at Moon Lake is along the Flume Trail, as it follows an abandoned aqueduct under one of the most impressive old growth forests in the region.
We decided to do a quick hike along the Flume Trail and parked off of PA 29 in a dirt lot near Pikes Creek Reservoir. The skies were deep blue and the temperature was warm as Spring slowly made its presence known. The reservoir is part of a water supply, but shore fishing is allowed and we followed a trail to the shore. There we were treated to a beautiful sight as puffy clouds sailed across a deep blue sky, perfectly reflected by the still, clear waters.
After crossing PA 29 and following the 5858 Trail, we reached the Flume Trail along an old, impressive concrete flume that once fed a waterworks. It is a fascinating man-made feature. The flume is still in excellent condition as it slides and curves through the forest, descending to a shallow pool and an old dam.
The trail then followed the crest of an old aqueduct as it entered an ancient forest. The aqueduct collected some spring water, but otherwise sat empty. Giant trees of pine and hemlock towered through the canopy, as ferns and moss covered the forest floor. A small stream meandered along the bottom. Some trees were of impressive height. The aqueduct was still in good shape, other than its carpet of moss, and it appears it once fed the dam where the flume also entered.
We explored this forgotten forest as shafts of sunlight divided the canopy of green. Maybe the forest’s salvation from being cut was that it was on watershed lands.
We retraced our footsteps and returned to the car. We drove up to Moon Lake itself before heading home. While Moon Lake Park may never again be as popular as it was decades ago, popularity is not what makes it special.
Moon Lake Park is described in Hike No. 19 in Hiking the Endless Mountains.