Go Poconos

 

Minisink Park

IF YOU GO

Where: In Smithfield Township near Delaware Water Gap

Trail information: Easy-to-moderate hike of about 2.4 miles. Trails are packed gravel, with only very gentle inclines, making them accessible for people of most abilities.


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

• Facilities include a playground, portapotty, dog-waste station, well-cared-for gravel walking trails, soccer fields, information kiosks and benches along the trails.
• No motorized vehicles allowed on trails.
• Leashed dogs are welcome; owners must pick up waste.
• Please respect rules and regulations posted at the site.

 

A summer walk from creek to village

By Carol Hillestad

 

On a cool and misty morning in late spring, as I set off to walk at Minisink Park in Smithfield Township, I hear the cheerful bubbling song of a house wren. There’s nothing showy or rare about a house wren, but it’s a busy, bustling little thing, and its happy song lifts the spirit.

Minisink Park is a natural oasis within walking distance of Delaware Water Gap Borough, at a point where the Brodhead and Cherry creeks meet, just before flowing into the Delaware River.

Soccer fields and playground equipment share the 28 acres with walking trails. Much of the land has been left natural, providing food, nesting sites and cover for wrens, goldfinches, and many other birds, as well as fox, deer, raccoons, skunks, and other mammals. The trails are packed gravel, with only very gentle inclines, making them accessible for people of most abilities.

At this time of year, I catch only glimpses of Brodhead Creek, which forms one boundary of the park, because the edge of the trail is head-high with knotweed (and poison ivy — be careful!). The water comes into view a little farther along, where the Brodhead meets Cherry Creek. Just beyond, the wide waters of the Delaware River roll by. It’s easy to imagine the Lenni-Lenape and their ancestors — as far back as the last ice age — making this their summer home.

Nowadays, nearby Route 80 roars with traffic, and a railroad bridge and tracks are part of the scenery, too.

Yet down here, by the creek and surrounded by tall sycamores, a wood thrush’s ethereal “ee-oh-lay” and the rush of water prevail. For an easy walk of less than a mile, from this point you can loop back to the start and call it a day. With time on my hands, I continue on the trail along one of the soccer fields, back down to Cherry Creek and over the stepping stones.

Across the creek, after a bit of a climb, you get a bird’s-eye view of Route 80 from the footbridge that spans the highway and leads to the walkable village of Delaware Water Gap. The “trail” is now a shady sidewalk lined with small businesses — an outdoors outfitter, a coffee roaster, the famous Deer Head Inn. After an easy stroll and a slice of deliciousness from the Village Farmer and Bakery, I’m back at the trailhead.

Conservation-minded people have a saying: “Protect the best, develop the rest.” Sometimes, “the best” land to protect drinking water is also land that’s not great for building anyway, such as marshes, wetlands, and the banks of creeks.

Minisink Park is a great example. When the Brodhead and Cherry creeks rise and overflow their banks, as they do from time to time, these fields are inundated. When the creeks subside, the flood water naturally seeps into the soil and the fields dry out. Housing, strip malls or industry – even a park-and-ride – would be a mess here. Instead, thanks to the citizens and supervisors of Smithfield Township, this is a place that protects safe water, provides healthy recreation — and lifts the spirit.

Carol Hillestad is a hike leader and writer for Get Outdoors Poconos, a grant-funded series administered by Brodhead Watershed Association.

 

 
Cherry Creek starts near Saylorsburg and joins Brodhead Creek before flowing into the Delaware at Minisink Park.  

 

   
A different view of Route 80.    
The Antoine Dutot Museum and art gallery is just off Main Street in Delaware Water Gap at the end of the hike. Santa Mama Coffee roasters was recently established in Delaware Water Gap village.

 

Comments from other hikers:


Be the first to comment!


 

Share your experiences of this trail -- what you saw, how you liked it:


  FIELDS MARKED WITH * ARE REQUIRED!


 Name:*                                

 E-Mail Address:*                 

 Add me to BWA's FREE e-Newsletter:    Yes      No

 Post my response anonymously:          Yes      No

 Preserve and trail name:*  

  Please add your comments:*

 

 When done, please  or