One of the things I’ve learned through my use of the All Trails app (AMAZING app btw) is how many cool trails there are in southeastern PA. I truly had no idea. One of the areas this app has allowed me to explore is Valley Forge National Park. I have lived most of my life within a half hour of this place yet I had never hiked it. There are so many options and varying degrees of difficulty that you could explore these trails for many months and never see all of it.
One of the trails I have started doing on a regular basis is the Mt. Misery to the Church Trail to Mt Joy loop. There are some variations of this trail that allow you to make it anywhere from 7.5 miles long to 9 miles long. That’s part of the fun of it. Additionally, it has over 900 feet of elevation climb. That’s a huge bonus as I’m a naturally slow climber and I don’t know a whole lot of places so close to me where I can practice those climbs.
I usually start this trail near the base of Mt. Misery and head right into the fight. Climbing the more difficult side of the mountain and peaking it at about 530 feet. Its about a mile and a half to the unofficial top of the trail and then rolls down the back down some gravel covered and slippery declines. There is an abandoned water structure and a small stream to cross before it calms down and gets to Valley Creek. The view on the bridge at Valley Creek is wonderful and one of my favorite images in the park.
There you cross Route 23 and pass Washington’s Headquarters. There is a train station and a restroom that are at about the 3 mile mark. From there the climb follows the creek and hits the Church Trail. This is a long section that winds through woods and has some technical spots to it. The final assent from the low point of the trail to the church itself is quite steep and switchbacks at a good angle.
Crossing the road at the church takes you down to an old house a wonderful field crossing. Last time I was there, a stunning red fox (not the comedian) seemed to be guiding me through one section. The fields wind around the arch memorial and eventually take you to the base of Mt. Joy. This climb feels quite easy compared to the starting climb and leaves you on a downhill past an old farm house and over a stone path back to the parking area.
An amazing trail that has varying levels of difficulty and some fantastic historic views. I hope you enjoy the photos