Friday, November 11, 2016

Where to Go: The Pinnacle Trail, Hamburg, PA

I meant to write about this popular trail almost three years ago, the first time I visited Pennsylvania. It was the dead of winter, with a thick carpet of snow and sub-freezing temperatures, but when Zach asked if I wanted to hike, I didn’t hesitate. So we bundled up in our bulky coats and drove to the trailhead. What followed was a grueling, but exhilarating, hike through the barren forests, crunching over snow, flexing our fingers to keep warm, and chatting animately about that hike we were taking this summer, the PCT. It was so cold that our water bottles iced over.

This time, when we hiked it for our anniversary, the sky was cloudy but the weather mild, and even though a light, cold rain fell on us, we were soon sweating as we clambered over the rocky trail through bursts of autumn colors. It’s a good hike, no matter the weather.

The Pinnacle is a loop trail that coincides with a few miles of the Appalachian Trail, with two notable lookout peaks, Pulpit Rock (actually my favorite in autumn) and the Pinnacle. MidAtlanticHikes has some good info about directions to the trailhead as well as routes on the path itself. There are a few maps along the trail, and you’ll want to study them to make sure you don’t get lost.

We hiked the trail clockwise last time and counterclockwise this time. I prefer the latter, because you climb the steeper hills and cross more rocky sections first, which are easier to hike up than down. Zach and I finished the trail in just over three hours, including a long break. It’s a beautiful hike that’s a bit challenging (but not too much) with some great views along the way. If you’re ever in eastern Pennsylvania, it’s well worth checking out!


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