Maple Tract Preserve
What to do when looking for somewhere new to hike? Start looking for preserves, that's what. In the past few years more and more organizations like Wildlands Conservancy have been coming to my attention and they offer a whole new batch of areas to hike.
- GPS will tell you to turn on to 5 Mailbox Rd, that is incorrect. The parking lot is on Stoney Hollow Rd approximately 1000 feet north of 5 Mailbox Rd. It appears as if the trails are still being blazed (as of 9/12/2020) with the outer most trails being the best blazed. The inner trails are navigable, but are a bit of a criss-crossed mess.
We started along a very well orange blazed trail, that blaze disappeared fairly quickly near the first glacial pond. There are plenty of well worn trails throughout the preserve, but if you don't have a map and a sense of direction you could get turned around. That didn't really matter to us though, we were enjoying the varying terrain and ecosystems. Once we found our way back to the outer loop of trails the blaze was much easier to follow.
The trails are mostly rock free, a surprise in Pennsylvania I suppose, or follow along old access roads. The forest is a mix of conifers, hard woods and rhododendron with a lot of ferns... which is my favorite kind of forest. Maybe the only real downside is the fact that this preserve is wedged in between I-80 and Pocono Raceway making it a little loud in some spots.
Although it might not always be the most peaceful spot due to it's location, it is a beautiful section of forest. Definitely worth a return trip.