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Hiking at Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center

10 miles of trails

The trails of Nolde Forest meander throughout the park under tall trees and near creeks. Some trails are footpaths and others are remnants of old gravel roadways used by early settlers and the foresters who planted Nolde’s Forest.

This activity or structure is ADA accessible. ADA accessible trails are located by the Historic Sawmill and C.H. McConnell Environmental Education Classroom. 

The park is enjoyed by many visitors and students. Please be courteous to other visitors, remain aware of your surroundings, and share the trails while quietly enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. Please restrict your hiking to the trails provided. These trails are used extensively by students for the purpose of discovering the world of nature.

Hike Safely and Responsibly

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Check the weather forecast and sunset time. Storms may roll in quickly. Park hours are 8:00 A.M. to sunset each day.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots to protect your feet.
  • Carry the proper safety equipment, like a park map, first aid kit, and a rain jacket.
  • Stay on the trail. If you hike off of the trail, you might get lost, disturb wildlife, or damage the fragile habitat.
  • Carry drinking water and a snack. DO NOT drink from streams, springs, or ponds without properly treating the water first.
  • Leave the trails and park cleaner than you found them. Dispose of all garbage in appropriate receptacles. Do not carve on trees or leave a mark.
  • Be a courteous visitor. Many animals and other visitors enjoy this forest too.
  • In the winter, do not use trails without snowshoes or skis. Snowshoers should not walk on ski trails. Also, always yield to trail users forging uphill. 
  • If you see a problem in the park, contact the park office at 610-796-3699.

Nolde Forest Trail Map (PDF)

Dog Walking

Well-behaved dogs are permitted on hiking trails. All dogs must be on a leash, physically controlled, and attended at all times. Uncontrolled pets may chase wildlife, frighten visitors, or interrupt park programs.

Be prepared to clean up after your pet and properly dispose of waste to prevent the spread of disease.

All park users appreciate a safe, clean park. Be considerate of wildlife, visitors, and school groups. If pets are left at home, visitors will have a better chance to see wildlife. 

Trail Definitions

Difficulty Ratings

Easiest -- For beginner trail users. Grade is gentle with few obstacles.
More Difficult -- For the majority of trail users. Grade is steeper and trails narrower with embedded rocks or roots on the trail surface.
Most Difficult -- For trail users with advanced skills. Grade is steep and provides a definite physical challenge. Routes may not be well marked. Elevation gain or loss is severe.

Trail Route Type

Loop -- Start and end at the same location and follow a single trail to form a loop.
Out-and-back -- Start and end at a trailhead and follow a single trail to an endpoint or specific point of interest, then return along the same route.
Point-to-point -- Trails are generally longer in distance and parks may often contain only a portion of the trail within their boundary. Hiker starts and ends in different locations, often requiring a shuttle.
Connector -- Begin and end in connection with another trail or trails but do not terminate at a trailhead.

Apple Tree Trail

0.45 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Apple Tree Trail bisects a coniferous plantation. Apple tree Trail is named for a small orchard of apple trees that once grew here along an old homestead that was once here.

Beech Trail

0.3 mile  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Beech Trail has steep and wet sections, and is best avoided in Winter and Spring due to ice and/or muddy trail conditions. Beech Trail is named for the a gigantic beech tree that once grew on the ridgetop that the Nolde Family enjoyed visiting. The tree has long since fallen ad rotted--returning vital nutrients back into the soil. Kohout Trail is a nice alternative.

Boulevard Trail

2.3 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended, cross-country skiing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Boulevard Trail is a single-lane, gravel trail that ascends through the heart of Nolde Forest. The trail parallels Punches Run for a time, and allows visitors to walk across the point of highest elevation in the park at 860-feet above sea level. The trail winds through both hardwood and coniferous plantations.

Buck Hollow Trail

0.7 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Use Buck Hollow Trail to explore the eastern portion of Nolde Forest. Buck Hollow Trail is generally level, though dips down through a small drainage, (that flows rainwater to painted Turtle Pond). The trail traverses through both hardwood forests and coniferous plantations.

Cabin Hollow Road

0.6 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Cabin Hollow Road parallels the southeastern branch of Punches Run.

Chestnut Trail

0.4 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Use Chestnut Trail to walk from the Environmental Education Center to Painted Turtle Pond Trail or connect to Buck Hollow Trail. 

Coffee Pot Hollow Trail

1.2 miles  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Coffee Pot Hollow Trail traverses the western edge of Nolde Forest. 

Colliers Way

0.3 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Collier's Way is a steep trail that connects Coffee Pot Hollow Trail to Boulevard Trail. Collier's Way is named for the individuals who once made charcoal from trees here to supply local iron forges. Those forges then produced bars of iron used by local blacksmiths.  

Deer Path

0.1 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Deer Path connects Boulevard Trail to Coffee Pot Hollow Trail.

DeLong Trail

0.1 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

DeLong Trail is named for Charles Aubrey DeLong, (1883-1974) the second of the two foresters employed by the Nolde Family to plant and manage the forest. DeLong Trail connects Buck Hollow Trail to Owl Trail.

Kissinger Road

0.8 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended, cross-country skiing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Kissinger Road bisects coniferous plantations. 

Kohout Trail

0.2 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Kohout Trail was named for William Kohout (1858 - 1929), the first forester employed by Jacob Nolde to plant and manage the forest. Kohout was a trained forester from Austria and credited for planting hundreds of thousands of trees, and laying out many of the trails within Nolde Forest. Kohout Trail ascends the ridgeline through a coniferous plantation near the Historic Sawmill. 

Laurel Path

1.0 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Laurel Path is a narrow trail that parallels Middle Road. In May and June, see the Pennsylvania State Flower--the Mountain Laurel, in bloom along the trail. Note that there are often many bees in the vicinity pollinating the flowers.

Middle Road

0.6 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended, cross-country skiing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Middle Road bisects coniferous plantations.

Oak Trail

0.1 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Oak Trail connects the EE Center to the network of trails on eastern and southern section of Nolde Forest. 

Owl Trail

0.6 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Owl Trail meanders through pine forest plantations and woodland habitat. Owls including the Barred, Great Horned, and Screech Owl call Nolde Forest home, and help keep rodent and small mammal populations in balance.

Painted Turtle Pond Trail

0.1 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Painted Turtle Pond Trail connects Chestnut Trail to Painted Turtle Pond where frogs, salamanders, and turtles thrive. 

Pileated Trail

0.1 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Pileated Trail is named for pileated woodpeckers that frequent Nolde Forest. The pileated woodpecker is North America's largest woodpecker, though can be difficult to see. Listen for it's drumming on decaying logs, or unique alarm call drifting through the forest.

Pond Loop Trail

0.4 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Use Pond Loop Trail to circumnavigate North Pond. North Pond is a learning pond for environmental education program participants. Trees including pines, oak, and walnut grow in this area.

Ridge Trail

0.6 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Ridge Trail traverses along the ridge, providing an alternative to a segment of Boulevard Trail. Visitors are asked not to shortcut trails as this causes erosion, can lead to soil compaction, and can create hazardous conditions by causing rocks to fall onto the trails below.

Sheerland Trail

0.1 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Sheerland Trail is a narrow trail that connects Watershed Trail to the Pond Loop Trail. Sheerland Trail is named for a word once associated with the area which means "plow land."

Spruce Trail

0.5 mile  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking, snowshoeing recommended
Trailhead amenities: none

Spruce Trail traverses through a Norway Spruce plantation planted by Jacob Nolde and William Kohout. Planted as seedlings, the largest of these trees are now more than 100 years old. 

Watershed Trail

1.1 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Trail markers
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, picnic tables

Watershed Trail invites visitors to walk along Punches Run from the place where it springs from the earth to it's confluence with the Angelica Creek near the Historic Sawmill. This trail crosses the stream numerous times on narrow foot bridges. As this stream is both monitored and studied by researchers, visitors are asked to please remain on the trail and stay out of the stream. 

Leave No Trace

​By taking the time to practice Leave No Trace Principles and ​following responsible outdoor ethics, we can ensure that Pennsylvania state parks and forests remain premier outdoor recreation destinations for generations to come.

  • Please stay on trails to protect the life that borders the paths.
  • Plan ahead and prepare for your hike.
  • Bicycles and motor vehicles are prohibited on any trails or roads, except the paved entrance road to the center.
  • Enjoy plants and animals in their natural setting. Leave them for others to enjoy.
  • Picking, digging, and collecting plants and animals is prohibited.
  • All wildlife should be left undisturbed.
  • Carving trees or park property is prohibited.