I don’t seem to go to the Poconos to hike as much as I should. Over the last decade, new preserves and conservation easements have greatly expanded the hiking opportunities in the area. We drove out to check out two new places, and another I’ve been to before.
Our first stop was Mt. Wismer, located at the Gravel Family Nature Preserve, known for its vast 20-30 mile views. The trail followed an old woods road along blueberry meadows in bloom, and jungles of rhododendron. We followed the orange trail up the slope with massive boulders and ledges. A right turn onto a blue trail took us to the vista. It was impressive. The escarpment of the plateau has this grassy meadow with views from the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey, to Blue Mountain, near the Lehigh Gap. We could see the Camelback Mountain ski slopes. Most unique is that we could see straight through the Delaware Water Gap to the rolling hills in New Jersey. I think the views from Mt. Wismer are better than those from Big Pocono. There were rolling foothills to Blue Mountain and the water gap. We returned via the steeper, narrow, and rocky red trail to complete the loop. Overall, this was a great hike.
Our second stop was to the Childs Park in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. I had been there before, but I wanted to see the reconstructed trails. This short hike features a scenic gorge and three impressive waterfalls. There were ruins from an old mill and many large, old growth hemlock and pine trees. While crowded, it is always a pleasure to hike at Childs Park.
Our final stop was the Long Swamp preserve, featuring a loop around a wetland. The land is owned by Camp Speers YMCA, but public access is allowed. The most scenic part of the trail was the southern boardwalk as it traversed a spruce and moss bog that was unique and mysterious. Carpets of water-logged moss covered the bog as spruce trees grew from tangled roots. Pitcher plants and sundews can be seen from the boardwalk in season. I’m glad I did this hike, but if I were to return, I would only include the southern boardwalk across the bog.
Mt. Wismer/Gravel Family Nature Preserve
- Park here. N41 13.611 W075 15.842
- We returned to complete the loop via this red trail.
- Bear right/straight at this meadow.
- Yellow blazes appear on the trail.
- Trail ascends among large boulders and beneath ledges.
- Reach a blue trail and turn right to the view.
- Return via the steeper, rockier red trail, or retrace your steps.
What does Mt. Wismer look like in the Autumn? Check out this post from the superb Gone Hikin’ website.
George W. Childs Park
This is a short loop hike along the impressive gorge and waterfalls of the park. While popular, this hike is worth it.
- Park here. N41 16.750 W074 56.266
- Follow trail to left of office.
- Turn left on the pink trail.
- Hike around the swamp, but the trail stays in the woods, with no views of the swamp.
- Bear left/straight on wider grade and pass a lean-to.
- Turn left at next intersection down to platform and boardwalk. This is the most scenic part of the trail. Complete the loop via the Bog and Lower Deer Run Trails.