Appalachian Trail - Pinnacle and Pulpit

9.0 miles of trails

What’s to love

The definitive writeup of this hike already exists, so I’m going to borrow liberally from our friends at “Through hikers consider Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle to be the two premier vistas on the entire PA stretch of the Appalachian Trail, offering endless views of Lehigh Valley and its surrounding ridges.” And they’re right—the views here are impressive. I recommend following this site’s excellent and very detailed directions, which guide you on a 9-mile loop up a few steep climbs and rock scrambles to the two main viewpoints—first Pulpit Rock, and then a spot called The Pinnacle which reaches an elevation of over 1,600 feet.

Of course, you won’t be climbing straight up all 1,600 feet, but the loop hike does cover approximately 1,300 feet in elevation change, so prepare to be tired. And the drive to get to the trailhead from Philly is technically over the 90-minute limit I self-imposed on this site (so prepare to be double-tired on your drive back home). But I’d be remiss to keep this location from you. You can sit at the Pinnacle for hours, just watching the hawks and vultures wheel in circles as the clouds roll by over Lehigh Valley farmland. Pack a lunch and make a day of it.

Tips and quirks

  • This is one of the more popular day-hike destinations for those looking for something a little challenging, so be prepared for crowds. Going early probably helps.
  • At the summit of the Pinnacle, you’ll find an observation tower owned by the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society.

Last updated: March 1, 2019

A small disclaimer: This website is not affilitated with the City of Philadelphia, its parks department, local non-profits, or any state or federal organization. Opinions reflected here are solely the author's: a regular person who happens to enjoy hiking. Like all outdoor activities, hiking carries some risks (including medical and personal safety risks) and requires preparation and supplies. Routes and conditions may have changed since this post was written. Make sure you follow all posted rules and local laws, as certain activities (like off-leash dogs or leaving marked trails) are frequently prohibitied.