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Lehigh Gorge Loop

Intermediate
 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A recommended loop along Lehigh Gorge visiting one of the best viewpoints and a trout-filled section of Hickory Run.


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Map Key

4.9

Miles

7.9

KM

90%

Runnable

1,352' 412 m

High

1,014' 309 m

Low

755' 230 m

Up

755' 230 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Fishing · River/Creek · Views

Overview

This loop run provides quick access to a memorable viewpoint above Lehigh Gorge within 0.5 miles from the parking area. From there, it continues south along the Fireline Trail where some steeper grades are met along with secluded sections of forest beside Hickory Run and a moderately strenuous switchback climb up the Switchback Trail.

The return links the Switchback Trail with the Skyline Trail, back to the Fireline Trail to the parking area. Both the Skyline Trail and the Gould Trail provide opportunities to cut across earlier from the Fireline Trail to loop back to the beginning, cutting down the overall mileage and elevation gain. See the Trail Run Project mobile app to navigate the trails.

The trails throughout the park can be traveled in any direction so this run can be reversed or adapted to accommodate for time and ability.

Runner Notes

Secluded and shaded, with steep and rocky sections around Hickory Run.

Description

From the parking area off PA 534, duck into the woods on the Fireline Trail, which used to provide access to the local fire crew. The wide, gradual grade descends toward the viewpoint above the gorge within 0.5 miles. From the viewpoint, head south to follow above the Lehigh River.

The Fireline Trail passes the Skyline Trail and then the Gould Trail. Both trails provide ways to cut across to the eastern half of this loop run, cutting the mileage and elevation down.

To continue on this route, continue across Goulds Run to begin a half-mile climb and descent over to Hickory Run. Around the 2.2-mile mark, the Fireline Trail meets its southern terminus, transitioning into the Hickory Run Trail. The trail heads east along the trout-filled Hickory Run before arriving at the Switchback Trail.

Here begins the biggest sustained climb of the run. Luckily, the trail is named accurately as a handful of switchbacks help ease the grade. After gaining the hill, continue north along the Switchback Trail until it arrives at the Gould Trail and eastern half of the Skyline Trail.

Continue onto the Skyline Trail for another up-and-over hill to return to the Fireline Trail, heading right (east) for the final section of trail to retrace back to the parking area.

Flora & Fauna

Blackburnian warbler, red-breasted nuthatch, northern waterthrush, Jefferson salamanders, and wood frogs. American redstart, red-eyed vireo, and scarlet tanager, American robin, wood thrush, hermit thrush, Swainson's thrush, veery, and eastern bluebird.

Serviceberry trees, mountain laurel, rhododendron, and highbush blueberries. Beech and chestnut oak trees.

History & Background

This land was part of the territories of the Lenni Lenape, Susquehannock, and Iroquois, though no traces of settlements have been found. It was later bought and developed with dams, mills, and logging during the 19th century, before becoming an established state park in 1945.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zander Göpfert

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3599

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#74

in Pennsylvania

#3,599

Overall
21 Views Last Month
512 Since Feb 12, 2020
Intermediate

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Photos

Sam 52607 - 09
Feb 12, 2020 near White H…, PA

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