“A loop on wooded trails with the added bonus of a glimpse into the park's rich pastoral past.”
— Kristen Arendt
Fall Colors · Wildflowers
While the full loop may be slightly too long for younger children, this loop will give older kids a sense of traveling back in time to explore the history of the park.
This hike offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the park as well as views of the Delaware River and stretches of quiet trail through the woods.
Parking can be found at the Donkeys Corner Trail parking area. The hike starts on the Orchard Trail: Millbrook Village to Hamilton Ridge Trail Connector
which can be accessed off of Old Mine Road, just north of the Millbrook Village Historic Site and Millbrook Ranger Station.
From the start, climb a short hill on the Orchard Trail: Millbrook Village to Hamilton Ridge Trail Connector
. The trail quickly flattens out and then starts a very gradual descent to its junction with the Hamilton Ridge Trail
where you'll take a left. Continue along the Hamilton Ridge Trail
for a little over a mile and a half. The trail continues gradually descending through the majestic eastern hardwood forests the are prominent in the area. This trail was once a road, and you'll come across crumbling remnant of pavement along the trail.
From the Hamilton Ridge Trail
, take a right onto the Pioneer Trail
. The trail briefly flattens out and you may spot remnants of old farmhouse buildings and structures such as stone fences and old lime kilns. This is a particularly special opportunity to observe the active reclamation of farm fields by the forests from which they were originally cleared. You may also spot views of the Delaware River through the trees.
At about 4.5 miles, the Pioneer Trail
starts to climb with a couple steeper sections back up to its junction with the Hamilton Ridge Trail
. This section will be the most strenuous part of the hike so be sure to save some energy for the hike back up.
Take a left back onto the Hamilton Ridge Trail
and trace your steps back down to the Orchard Trail: Millbrook Village to Hamilton Ridge Trail Connector
and back to your car. If you have some additional time, stop by the Millbrook Historic Village - on summer weekends several of the buildings are open to the public.
Flora & Fauna
Eastern hardwood forests are predominant in this area. Keep your eyes peeled for chestnut, white oak, and northern red oak along the trail. Mountain laurel has also been seen in this area from time to time.
History & Background
You may spot remnants of old farmsteads, overgrown fields, stone fences, and old lime kilns along this trail, reminding visitors of the rich pastoral history of the park.