Hoffman Park was a working farm before it was turned over to the county a dozen years ago. It remains pretty much as it was with fields, forest and ponds. This hike follows the exterior gravel paths to make a loop from Baptist Church Rd to Mechlin Corner Rd and back.
There is a downhill from the Baptist Church Rd lot side which must be navigated to reach Manny's pond. From Mechlin's Corner lot the access is flat (but boring).
There are several lanes that the cross the loop which can be used to shorten the hike.
This hike starts at Baptist Church Rd entrance and proceeds to Mechlin Corner entrance and back using the outside road loop. The Baptist Church Rd entrance is at an elevation which allows one to view the mountains around Clinton, and to see Spruce Run Reservoir in the distance. One can start this at the parking lot, but make sure to check out the views on the driveway in.
From Baptist Church Rd. proceed down the driveway, which offers a fantastic view of the hills to the north and Spruce Run Reservoir. Just past the parking lot head downhill using the grass path. At the bottom of the path turn right on the paved path. Where the paved path splits next to Manny’s pond, turn left onto Manny's Pond Road
and follow it past the pond. Many birds including geese, ducks, herons and kingfishers can be seen on Manny’s pond.
Continue straight past the pond until the paved path ends and makes a 180 degree turn, turning onto Lower Lane
. Do not follow the path towards the silo and barn, but instead follow the gravel path as it curves through the fields. As the trail enters the woods, it becomes Powerline Road
; it passes several ponds. At the junction with Lehigh Lane
, take a left and head east. Follow this way through the woods, and fields ignoring all the side lanes until you get to Mechlin’s Corner Road.
Once at Mechlin's Corner Road, turn around and retrace your steps back until you come to the first path on your left at the edge of the field, Owl's Roost
. Follow this path south as it curves around and heads straight through the woods. At the junction with Birch Way
, which heads off to the right, stay straight and the trail becomes Heron Road
. Again ignore all the side lanes until you get back to Manny’s Pond.
Continue back up the hill, but stay on the paved path this time, following Hairpin Lane
. When you get to the top of the hill turn right and proceed back to Baptist Church Rd.
There are the usual deer in the park. Bear have been sighted, and there is evidence of a beaver in the ponds.
Park is well known by birders - large birds like vultures, Canadian Geese, Blue Herons and Red-tail hawks have been seen. Smaller birds like swallows, bluebirds, orioles, finches, red-wing blackbirds and bobolinks can be seen at different times of the year.