Hike the Pinnacles and Pulpit Rock

Details

Distance

9 miles

Elevation Gain

1200 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Ian Carey

The Pinnacles and Pulpit Rock offer some of the best views in Pennsylvania, only a short drive from Harrisburg and Allentown. There are two different vista views of the rolling Lehigh Valley Farmland.

Park in the lot near the Hamburg Reservoir and hike around the barrier and up the gravel road. Shortly on your right the Appalachian Trail branches off the road. Follow the white blazes of the AT for around 2 miles to the Pulpit Rocks, just before the trail passes the Lehigh Valley Astronomical Society road.

From the Pulpit Rocks you will get a glimpse of the sweeping grandeur the Pinnacles will have to offer only a few miles later. Note the Pinnacle itself, sticking out like an anthill just off the main ridge.

Continue along the AT for around 3 more miles until you come to the pinnacles, marked by a massive pile of rocks along the trail. Hike out on to the rock face of the Pinnacles to see the quilted farms before you. Also climb down the rocks to explore a series of small caves and crevices below.

After thoroughly exploring the pinnacles, follow the AT west through relatively flat terrain on what turns into an old fire road. You will pass two trails branching to your left. Take either of these to return to the parking lot for a 7 mile or 9 mile round trip respectively. If you wish to turn this trip into an overnight, perhaps to take it slow and really enjoy the area, continue on the AT shortly past the second left-bearing trail. You will encounter signs for State Gamelands. After passing these signs and the barrier, you can look for a spot to camp. There are a number of areas which appear to have regular use.

Water for purification can be located a half a mile back up the trail from a spring. However this source may be seasonal and is usually at a trickle so total reliance on it should be avoided.

The next morning, retrace your steps back to the closer branching trail you passed yesterday and follow it past Hamburg Reservoir to the parking lot.

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Know for

Chillin
Camping
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

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Reviews

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🥈 Contributor

almost 4 years ago

Great views but super crowded

This might be the most popular hike in Pennsylvania. The views from the Pinnacle and the Pulpit are fantastic. Best to hike early in the morning (sunrise hike is amazing here) though because the trail does get crowded. Very rocky trail (average for PA) makes for healthy snake population on the mountain.

🥉Contributor

over 4 years ago

Beautiful

What a beautiful hike! trail was nicely marked, only issue we ran into was after the pinnacle we were looking for the two trails and never found them but we did follow the AT until we came to sign for the reservoir which led us back to our car, round trip was 10.2 miles. Also the bugs were kind of bad (Nats, mosquitos, and flies) to avoid constant swatting and bugs in your eyes I recommend bringing a mosquito net face cover.

Longer, Rewarding Hike

To start, you gain elevation quickly but it evens out after that. Definitely would recommend hiking shoes, as there's not too much scrambling but the trail is practically all rock. Watch your step and enjoy the beautiful views! Some of the best in PA

593 total saves

4.2/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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