IF YOU GO
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
• This land is part of approximately 500 acres that are protected forested land under an easement with the township.
• No facilities, no trashcans. Pack out what you pack in.
• Fishing and hunting are not allowed.
• For brochures and a map of this and three more Mount Airy trails, click here.
From the trailhead, the path is wide, level, and made of gravel.
Signs along the trail help walkers understand what they are seeing.
Get your family outdoors again with Woodland Trail
By Carol Hillestad
The Mount Airy trail network in Paradise Township offers family-friendly trails with wetlands, creeks, views, native plants and wildlife. A good place to start for children of all ages is Woodland Trail along Forest Hills Run.
The trail is mostly easy and wide — great for little kids and challenging enough for young teens. There is so much to see and learn! With a little imagination, you can engage everyone’s senses, including your own.
Ask the kids to listen for the bubbly chuckling sound of fast water tumbling over river rocks. Did you know that this little creek starts in Mount Pocono, and its water eventually joins the Atlantic Ocean? Tell the kids to lift their faces and feel the warm sun on their closed eyes and skin. How different it is in May from the cold, white sun of winter! Then open your eyes and look around — native plants from low ferns to enormous hemlocks are everywhere. Crush a wintergreen leaf between your fingers and hold it to their noses to breathe in that unforgettable smell.
For older children, signboards along the way tell them about what they see — what lichens look like, the names of plants, trees and animals that live here, and how fish make creeks their home.
As you leave the trailhead, you walk along the edge of a field that has been overgrown with non-native mugwort. As you start to hear the creek, the trail crosses on giant stepping-stone boulders the kids will love.
In May, new growth surrounds you. Red maples are starting to leaf out. The ash trees are unfortunately succumbing to the emerald ash borer. But keep an eye out for some strong, tall, century-old hemlocks, survivors of the woolly adelgid, along with lots of little next-generation hemlocks.
The forest understory is heavily browsed by deer, but May-blooming native laurels are here, along with low-bush blueberries, and masses of hay-scented fern. Healthy thickets of native rhododendron throng the banks of the creek. Look closely: the flower buds look like miniature yellow pineapples, delicately tinged in coral. These Pocono natives bloom in late June and early July — mark your calendar for a return trip!
The trail winds along the creek then rises above it, with many places for children and their grownups to get close to the rushing water. Look for quiet pools. You might see water striders or even tiny trout.
Natural, forested land like this helps keep drinking water safe and air pure throughout the Brodhead watershed. The water in dozens of fast-running, cold creeks like Forest Hills Run rises high on the Pocono Plateau and tumbles down to join Brodhead Creek. The Brodhead flows into the mighty Delaware River, one of America’s “Great Waters.” On its journey to the Atlantic, it provides drinking water for millions of people.
After a winter spent cooped up indoors, just being outside raises the spirits; human beings aren’t made to spend whole days with nothing overhead but ceilings! Give Woodland Trail a try — let the kids lead the way, and you might find them asking for more.
Carol Hillestad is a hike leader and writer for Get Outdoors Poconos, a series administered by Brodhead Watershed Association. The series is supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
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