18 April, 2017
Hiking the Pinnacle in Hamburg, Pennsylvania
The Pinnacle is a moderately challenging mountain hike along 8.7 miles of trail near Hamburg, Pennsylvania, within the boundaries of Berks County Park. It contains one of the more popular segments of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. Elevation gain is about 870 feet, providing a good — but not too strenuous — workout for hikers.
To reach the trailhead, follow State Highway 22 from Hamburg to Reservoir Road. Park at the reservoir gates, where the Appalachian Trail leads away from the parking lot.
Pulpit Rock Route
The first part of the route is clearly marked with the horizontal, parallel white blazes that guide hikers along the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. After leaving the Appalachian Trail, hikers head east and begin climbing through a series of switchbacks up the slopes of Pulpit Rock.
Reaching the Pinnacle
The blue-blazed trail will guide hikers to the summit, known as the Pinnacle. There is a guest log for visitors to sign at the top, and the Pinnacle offers fine views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, including Hawk Mountain and Lehigh Valley. The trail then continues down gently sloped fire roads back to the trailhead where the hike began.
Trail Length & Condition
The Pinnacle is a suitable trail for a day hike, as it follows a loop and takes four or five hours at a steady pace. The trail condition is generally very good, but there are muddy stretches where natural springs emerge from the earth. Good waterproof shoes are required.
Rock-strewn patches are challenging on descent and would be difficult under adverse weather conditions, so try to save this hike for a dry day. Hikers should also be aware of snakes, especially poisonous copperheads.
Camping & Recreation
There are several campgrounds in the area, including Blue Rocks Family Campground. Kayakers can enjoy the rapids of Nesquehoning Creek or Lizard Creek; more boating is available at Hamburg Dam reservoir, which adjoins the trail. Also worth a visit in nearby Kempton is the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the first sanctuary specifically designed for birds of prey.
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