Once again I am indebted to Mike Roush’s Berks Awhile blog for another place to hike. His posts on Birdsboro Waters and Mine Run led me to hike both locations, and now he’s led me to Monocacy Hill. Discovering Sue Repko of Positively Pottstown also wrote about the hiking made me even more eager to visit.
The Monocacy Hill Recreation Area is 420 acres of hilltop woodland behind the bustling Route 422 corridor between Pottstown and Reading. The hill is located in Amity Township, north of Douglassville. Owned by the township but managed by a not for profit Monocacy Hill is a step above what you expect from a township park – benches, picnic tables, bathrooms, educational displays, and extensive directional signage and blazing caught my eye. When I visited Sunday it was a busy place; the parking lot at the main trailhead was full, and cars were parked up and down Geiger Road. Including mine, so that my hike started with a five minute hill climb to reach the trailhead.
My goal was to reach the overlook, which according to Roush gives a view up and down the 422 corridor. To do that I hiked on the green blazed Lower Trail and switched to the white blazed Monocacy Hill Trail at the split. The climb isn’t difficult, but it is a climb. However its easy to pace yourself and the views, although obstructed, are great. And the trail itself doesn’t become Rocksylvanian until you reach the top.
Once I reached the view, I was disappointed to see it was an overgrown overlook. But through the trees I could still see the rolling farmland of Berks County on my right side, and on the left the 422 valley. I still enjoyed myself. I saw hawks soaring overhead and perching on a tree. And I’d accomplished something I set out to do, which isn’t a feeling I’ve had often when hiking lately.
Once down from the peak, I hiked parts of the Lower and Creek Trails, enjoying the woods. The tree color is past its peak, but there’s still a lot of yellow and red among the brown. The hike was two miles and a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
If you visit, and I think you should, check the park website beforehand. Monocacy Hill is open to hunting, and at times is closed to non-hunters. This includes December 1 through the 13th this year, aside from Sunday December 7. Hunting is, for now, prohibited on Sundays in Pennsylvania, so in season you might want to visit then.