October 1, 2017 – Beach Lake, Pennsylvania
Length: Approximately 1.1 miles
Max elevation: 1,169 ft.– total elevation gain approximately 93 ft.
Route type: Circuit
Trailhead parking: 109 Maccubbins Rd, Beach Lake, PA 18405
The Damascus Forest consists of 58 acres of woodland for low impact activity, including nature study and low-impact hiking, which is open to the public. This Township-owned property is a nice quiet retreat for those who enjoy nature. The trail itself features wetlands and old growth forests.
The Damascus Forest Trail is one of six trails featured in the “Take a Hike!” brochure, which gives names, locations, descriptions, and difficulty levels of trails in the Upper Delaware River Valley. It also provides a checklist to keep track of the trails you’ve hiked which can be turned in upon completion for a “Take a Hike!” patch.
Having just completed the Bouchoux Trail, we were now on to hike #2 on the list. Cell phone service was nonexistent in this area and a GPS signal was hard to come by. My recommendation is to print the directions from one trailhead to the other to avoid wasting time waiting for a signal while driving aimlessly. Since we got a late start in the morning, we didn’t arrive at the parking area for the Damascus Forest Trail until shortly before 3:00 pm. The National Park Service lists this trail as 2 miles long, but it is actually more like 1.1 miles. We did this hike counter-clockwise from the parking area.
The parking lot is sizable and I can’t imagine it ever being at capacity. No other vehicles were in the lot when we pulled in and none were there when we departed. We began our hike by entering through the split rail fence by the kiosk. The kiosk must have been moved at some point and the info not updated, because the information on getting to the trail was confusing.
About 300 feet past the kiosk, there is a piece of rebar sticking out of the ground with faded yellow paint at the tip. We turned right and entered the woods there, heading east.
The trail is well marked from this point on and easy to follow.
The yellow-blazed Damascus Forest Trail then starts heading north and enters a power line cut.
The trail travels northwest along the power line cut for about 500 feet then turns right into the woods. The forest is heavily shaded by the tall trees and makes for a nice walk on a hot day.
The trail travels through a stone wall and turns left.
We followed the yellow blazes downhill towards a wetland area.
There, the trail turns left and begins to head west, paralleling the wetlands.
The Damascus Forest Trail then turns left again and heads south on an old woods road, through a stand of old-growth Hemlocks.
The trail continues south, passes some restrooms (which were locked) and comes out on Maccubbins Road, by the west end of the parking area. We turned left on the road, walked a few feet, then turned left into the parking area. A very short and uneventful hike. Nothing more than a quiet walk in the woods. It was now about 3:30 pm and we still had one more hike to do. Cobey Pond, here we come!
Pros: Quiet and secluded area, easy walk in the woods.
Cons: No points of interest to see.