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Nice views of Valley Creek and the Knox farm while climbing through the Inner Line of Defense

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Point to Point

401' 122 m


121' 37 m


213' 65 m


369' 112 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

7am - Dark


This trail is part of the "Mount Joy Trail" cluster. This is the primary path over Mount Joy. The trail is a nice climb/descent with only a few rugged sections. That majority of the trail is crushed gravel surface and is wide enough for two people . The trail starts at the Knox Farm parking area off of Rt 252 in Valley Forge National Park. From the trailhead map in the parking lot, follow the paved Joseph Plumb Martin Trail Northeast until the unpaved Mount Joy Trail .42 miles up. This switchback will take you on the east side of two soldier bunkhouses. A path directly up the field on the west side of the bunks is a social trail that cuts the switchback. Please follow the paved path and help prevent erosion along the unofficial path.

The trail then gradually climbs up through two high points on Mt. Joy, but does not summit them. If you're looking to reach the summit, there are side trails to the top where an observatory used to stand. Along the way there are several places to look out into Valley Creek and onto the Valley Forge Farms section of the park. In this section will be General Knox's Quarters (present during encampment), PC Knox Estate (highly modified since encampment), Lord Stirling's Quarters (Modified after encampment) and General LaFayette's Quarters (far to the South-Southwest on the far side of Valley Creek).

The trail then descends into the valley in which George Washington's Headquarters is situated. After hiking to the headquarter's end of the trail, add a small bypass look on the return trip by turning left on Mount Joy - East Side Alternate Route.

A second connector trail, Mount Joy - Joseph Plumb Martin Trail Connector departs the Mount Joy Trail to the East to join up with Joseph Plumb Martin Trail near Artillery Park.

The third option used to be a side loop to an old observatory. The observatory was removed many years ago and part of the trail has recently been abandoned. The Mount Joy - Observatory Loop connector still summits Mount Joy, but there is no Observatory and no return loop. This trail is less maintained, several large steps required at the Mt Joy end of the trail before entering an open field where the observatory had been. Without the observatory there is no clear view past the trees. The connector then heads Northeast towards Inner Line Drive and Joseph Plumb Martin Trail. The original loop is no longer maintained and difficult to pick out.

Flora & Fauna

Deer, Fox, rhodendron, wildflowers


Shared By:

Jeff Menaker

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 3 votes


  3.7 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Pennsylvania


20 Views Last Month
3,712 Since Dec 31, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate



David Potts House sits across from the Gulph Road end of the trail
Dec 31, 2015 near Chester…, PA
The sign lasted a lot longer than the observatory, but it too is gone now, a short metal pipe base can still be seen
Dec 31, 2015 near Chester…, PA
Nearly all of the Mount Joy trail is well maintained hard pack surface two people wide
Dec 31, 2015 near Chester…, PA
Looking into Valley Creek Valley
Dec 31, 2015 near Chester…, PA



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 5 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Mar 22, 2024
Andrew M
Mar 27, 2021
Kyle Milbrand
1.4mi — 0h 35m
Sep 8, 2020
Noah Turner
Walked the Valley Creek Trail up and back 3mi — 5h 40m
May 26, 2019
Tony Cinquini
Jul 9, 2018
Tarun Reddy
Feb 17, 2018
Nick Preston
Sep 8, 2017
Frank U
Combined with Joseph Plumb Martin Trail 7.6mi
Jul 23, 2017
Nick Preston
Did Mount Joy and part of Mount Misery. Trail was a bit buggy, but good hiking today anyway. 6mi

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