Hiking at Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center
June 26, 2013

If you’re going to take a day trip somewhere to enjoy the outdoors, make sure the whole family has fun! Luckily, one of our favorite places—the Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center, located an hour and a half north of Philadelphia at the foot of Blue Mountain in Northampton County—has a little something for kids of all ages. We began taking our now 8-year-old son Lucas there when he was just a tot and are now taking our younger son Miles, 16 months, to explore and enjoy his first hikes.

Even after many years visiting Jacobsburg, Lucas never seems to get bored. Being the self-proclaimed trail master of the family, he still has a blast leading the way up the steep incline of the Henrys Woods Trail (1.9 mi.). He loves informing us of upcoming rocks, roots, and other obstacles and looking down from the top of the tall hillside at Bushkill Creek below. Lucas’s favorite hiking memory is of a visit to Jacobsburg, two years ago, when we came across a snake swallowing a bull frog whole. Kind of gross for me, but pretty awesome stuff for a 5-year-old boy! Miles, who truly is a rough and tumble kind of boy, loves running along the flat trail by the water, climbing on the fallen trees and splashing in the creek. Once he’s tired out, we can put him in the baby carrier and head out on our hike.

Of course, the creek makes for great summer fun. If you plan to go near the creek, bring a change of clothing and some water shoes. There are bridges to run across, streams to hop across, and numerous places to skip rocks and watch minnows. During our last visit, Miles ended up playing at the water’s edge until he was soaked from head to toe. Plus, some of the larger rocks at the bottom of the creek can be slippery. We didn’t take our dogs with us last weekend, but we often do. Zoe and Obi, our boxer and black lab, love the hike and the water, and the Center and its visitors are pet-friendly.

Near the parking lot off Belfast Road, you’ll find picnic tables and an Amphitheater for kids to play on. If you are looking for a longer hike, the Center has 18.5 miles of trails, some of which can be used for horseback riding or bike riding. For specific information about the various trails, there are maps located by the main parking lot off Belfast Road or you can look on-line at www.visitPAparks.com.

In addition to all of the nature trails, Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center also has several historical sites, including the Boulton Historical Site located near the Henrys Woods Trail. There are self-guided trails through the Henry Homestead, built in 1812. The Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum is also located there. The Center also offers family programming.


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Make a simple bug cage by washing out an empty plastic peanut butter jar and poking holes in the lid (or use plastic strawberry or salad containers). Invite some insects inside for observation.

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