Pocono Environmental Education Center
Directions to trailhead
From I-80 W, take exit 34B for Route 15 N, Sparta. Route 15 will converge with Route 206 N at Ross's Corner. Continue North on Route 206. From Route 206 North turn left onto Route 560 and follow signs for Dingmans Ferry Bridge ($1.00 toll each way - no EZ Pass). After crossing the bridge turn left at 1st traffic light onto 209 South. Follow 209 South for a little over 4 miles. Turn right on Brisco Mountain Road at the sign for PEEC. When the road forks bear right at stop sign and PEEC will be on your right.
If coming from the New Jersey side, be sure to bring a couple of singles with you as there is a $1 toll each way (no EZ Pass) over the historic 100-year-old Dingmans Ferry Bridge, one of the last privately owned toll bridges in the United States. Also bring some cash for optional trail guides, which provide great information corresponding to the color coded numbers you will see on trees throughout the hike. For this hike you would need the yellow, orange and blue guides. The Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) asks for 50 cents each and has a self-pay option outside the front door if the office is closed. Maps are also available at the office or on the PEEC website.
From the parking lot, facing the office building, proceed left towards yellow cabin #1. To the left of cabin #1 is the trailhead for the combined yellow/red trail. As the trail goes through oak hickory forests, the red trail will leave to the right at .45 mile, join back in from the right briefly at 1 mile before leaving to the right again in a hemlock forest. Stay on the yellow trail as it follows along and ascends the ridgeline looming above to the left. At 1.3 miles an outcrop to the right overlooks wetlands below. After another .2 mile, a very steep descent begins off of the ridge. A rope has been installed to assist although it is probably more useful for ascending if coming from the opposite direction.
At 2.05 miles stands a lonely chimney, the remnants of a former homestead. Bridge crossings at 2.85 and 2.9 miles bring you to a sharp left turn on the once again combined red/yellow trail. The trail now follows the creek through a lovely hemlock ravine. Note the forest service sign indicating 30% of the hemlocks have succumbed to woolly adelgid infestations and work is in progress in an attempt to save the rest of the hemlocks, most already in decline.
The trail veers to the right heading away from the creek at 3.15 miles, soon crossing over four consecutive bridges. When the red/yellow trail ends at the paved road, turn left and follow the road briefly, then turn left between any two of the brown cabins. Cross straight through the field towards a fire pit. At the far left side of the fire pit/seating area, turn left on the blue-blazed Fossil Trail.
An information sign on the left at 3.95 miles denotes the fossil quarry. The PEEC asks that you please leave any fossils found for others to enjoy. In compliance, a fallen tree is lined with fossils found previously. In another quarter of a mile arrive at views of the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey through the tree branches when leaves are down. At 4.65 miles turn left on the orange-blazed Tumbling Waters Trail when the blue/orange combined trail goes right.
At 4.9 miles cross over a paved road, rock hop over a creek, turn left, then right as the orange trail joins a woods road. A clearing and old phone pole a short distance ahead on the right is the site of a former landowner's home. At a fork, keep left and the trail will ascend steadily before it goes up and down over a few gently rolling hills through mixed oak forest. At 5.5 miles an old stone fireplace, what remains of an old cabin, makes a great break spot with a scenic view of the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey. More sweeping views of the Kittatinnies and the Delaware River Valley await you at a rock outcropping .3 mile farther along the trail. After the trail descends steadily it arrives at an intersection where a side trail to the left switchbacks down into a gorgeous hemlock ravine with cascading waterfalls. Even in the winter there is a noticeable temperature drop about half way down into the ravine.
After enjoying the waterfalls, retrace your steps back up the switchback to continue left on the orange trail. At 6.85 miles, as the trail travels a woods road, you will notice pine trees lined up in straight rows. These trees were planted 50-60 years ago after logging with the intention of harvesting once grown. Now that the land is protected, the trees remain.
At 6.95 miles the white-blazed trail joins in from the left. Continue on the white/orange trail as it skirts along Pickerel Pond. At 7.3 miles the trail goes through a red pine plantation before crossing a paved road. At 7.55 miles rock hop over a creek, cross a clearing, then turn right at the intersection on to a boardwalk, which will bring you to a wildlife observation blind. Leaving the blind, follow the boardwalk to the paved road, cross over and arrive back at the parking lot at 7.7 miles.
[ 0.00] Start at red/yellow trailhead to the left of yellow cabin #1
[ 0.45] Turn left on yellow as red goes right
[ 1.00] At #13 red trail joins briefly, cross creek on log bridge through hemlock forest
[ 1.20] Cross log bridge at #5 and ascend ridgeline
[ 1.30] Wetland overlook at ledge on right at #6
[ 1.50] Steep descent from ridge
[ 2.05] Chimney from old homestead at #10
[ 2.85] Cross bridge to right over creek
[ 2.95] Cross bridge over small waterfalls then immediate left on red/yellow along creek
[ 3.15] Trail veers to the right away from the creek
[ 3.20] Cross over 4 consecutive bridges
[ 3.55] End of red/yellow trail at #18; left on paved road; left between brown cabins; walk straight through field towards fire pit
[ 3.65] Left on blue Fossil Trail at far end of fire pit
[ 3.95] Fossil outcrop
[ 4.25] View of Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey through trees if no foliage
[ 4.65] Left on orange where blue/orange goes right
[ 4.75] #4 Cedar Knolls with red cedars
[ 4.90] Cross over paved road; rock hop over creek; turn left then right on woods road
[ 5.10] Clearing at site of former landowner house
[ 5.25] Left at fork; trail ascends
[ 5.35] Mixed oak forest
[ 5.50] Stone fireplace with view of Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey
[ 5.80] View of Delaware Valley and Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey
[ 5.95] Turn left on side trail at #9 down steps and switchbacks to falls
[ 6.10] Arrive at falls; retrace steps up switchbacks
[ 6.25] Left on orange trail
[ 6.40] Left at intersection at #3
[ 6.85] Woods road through pine plantation
[ 6.95] Keep straight on orange as white joins in from the left
[ 7.10] Trail turns right and crosses two bridges
[ 7.20] Arrive at Pickerel Pond as trail turns left following along the pond
[ 7.30] Red pine plantation
[ 7.45] Cross road diagonally at curve in road to continuation of orange/white trail
[ 7.55] Rock hop over creek
[ 7.60] Cross clearing, turn right at intersection on boardwalk to wildlife blind
[ 7.70] Cross paved road arriving back at parking lot