Date: June 30, 2011
Total Distance: 1.54 miles
Time to Completion: 45 minutes
Elevation Gain: 128 feet
Terrain: Dirt, boulders
** Note: This is a continuation of our first day of hikes in Jim Thorpe, PA. See Hike #15a for our hike through Hickory Run State Park.
After our hike through Hickory Run State Park, our dutiful, highly experienced tour guide Tom (see The Jim Thorpe Experience), took us for a brief sojourn to Hickory Run Lake (see photo gallery) before a snack and a sit-down in one of the most amazing places Hiking with Impunity had yet to set their sights upon: the 16-acre, 12-foot deep natural wonder Hickory Run Boulder Field.
Now, to be completely honest, we didn't make it very far into Boulder Field. While it had been almost 8 weeks since I sprained my ankle on Hawk Mountain, I was not going to risk another injury when we had so much more planned for our trip. We made our way a couple of yards into the field before sitting down, and having our snack.
What a view! And, I'm not just talking about watching the visitors make their way halfway through the field while only wearing sandals, and then hobble back out. Boulder Field itself is about 400 feet wide and 1,800 feet long. Made of sandstone and red conglomerates with white quartz pebbles, the boulders range in size from 4 to 25 feet! The picture on the left really cannot accurately show you the depth and magnitude of this field. Another "you've got to see it to believe it" moment. And, while our readers may point out that we've seen another Boulder Field (see Hawk Mountain), it does not measure up to the Boulder Field in Hickory Run.
After our visit to Boulder Field, Tom took us to our last stop of the day: Hawk Falls (the stats at the beginning of this article apply only to this part of our hike). This was yet another highlight of the day serving up some of the best views of a waterfall that we've had to date.
Unlike Hawk Mountain, you won't be seeing any birds of prey flying overhead here. The area is actually named after a family that owned the property on which the falls are located. This is a heavily trafficked area, a popular attraction with both tourists and locals alike. Before getting to the eponymous Hawk Falls, you'll hike almost 3/4 of a mile. Beginning our hike by walking through a tunnel of rhododendrons, we took the trails at a leisurely pace making sure to stop intermittently to appreciate the area's offerings.
Eventually we made our way to Hawk Falls. The waterfall is formed when Hawk Run converges into the lower creek. When we first arrived there was no other people around, giving us ample time to stand and set our eyes on this breathtaking beauty.
After getting a great view from the bottom, Tom took us back on the trails and up to the top of the waterfall (see gallery). Besides seeing the water crashing into the creek below, a family had moved into the area - the children splashing and swimming in the water. Fifteen minutes went by before we set off back the way we came.
By the time we arrived back at Tom's car, we were re-energized yet exhausted. We had started the day with a fantastic hike through Hickory Run State Park and ended with an amazing view of Hawk Falls. Jim Thorpe was proving to be a great area to hike. In two days time, we would hook up with Tom again for our second guided-hike in the Jim Thorpe area: this time hiking the Switchback Railroad.
We hope you enjoyed this presentation of our first hike through Jim Thorpe! Post a comment below and let us know if you've been on the trails of Jim Thorpe and what you thought of them!
For more information about Boulder Field, check out this brochure.
”Hiking” Mike Magro is the primary contributor and editor of Hiking with Impunity. Always on the look-out for a good hike, Mike is hoping to get through the rest of the year having minimal to no injuries while on the trail.
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