Backpacking on the A-T: April 30-May 1


  • Start/End point A at Lehigh Gap (Route 873 just north of Slatington).  There is some parking here, perhaps enough for 8 cars, and a Friday arrival typically guarantees a spot.  The fastest way to get  to this point is Northeast Extension through the tunnel to Mahoning Valley exit, #74, then West on Route 209 to Route 248, then South toward Palmerton, then right on/toward Route 873, across bridge toward Slatington.  Parking lot is immediately across bridge on right.
    [Waypoint: 40.781196,-75.608726;  MAP]
  • Start/End point B at Route 309 by Blue Mountain Summit.  There is ample parking at the trailhead here.  The time to get here is about the same whether you take the Northeast Extension as above, then continue along Mountain Road to Route 309,or get off in Allentown, go West on Route 22/I-78, then North on Route 100 to Route 309.  [MAP]
  • Length in either direction is 13.3 miles, with an extra .5 miles loop to get to New Tripoli Campsite and an extra .5 miles loop to get to Devil's Pulpit.
  • I propose we leave at least one vehicle at Bake Oven Knob Road (P2 on the elevation map) with water and other emergency supplies.  This could be my car, as there's a key-safe in the trailer hitch and I could provide the combination to everyone.
Southbound Notes
  • As you can see from the elevation profile, the climb to Outerbridge shelter from Lehigh Gap is steep: 800 ft. climb over .6 miles.  This should take about one hour (we'll be heavy at the start as we can't be sure of water at the spring).  The shelter here can hold about 12 to 18 people, and there's room for tents nearby.  The side hike to Devil's Pulpit the next morning is a highlight, as is the hike over the ridge.  The section between Bake Oven Knob Shelter and Bake Oven Knob is hand-over-hand scaling of large rocks; slow and tedious but very cool.  Good spot for lunch and possible meeting with Northbound crew.
  • Short stop for water or anything else at B.O.Knob parking lot then on to Bear Rocks.  Bear Rocks is a fun side hike where we have to allow 30 to 45 minutes for sightseeing, as long as we're not far behind schedule.
  • Continue over Knife Edge, which is precarious for a while, then easy hike down to New Tripoli Campsite.
Northbound Notes
  • Fairly easy hike into New Tripoli Campsite from the trailhead, probably an hour.  Water is typically plentiful here.
  • Same notes as above for Knife Edge, Bear Rocks and Bake Oven Knob, although you might want to take lunch at Bear Rocks (really cool).
General Notes
  • Additional camping areas abound, but good spots are marked just east of Bear Rocks (C4) and, of course, the Bake Oven Knob Shelter (C3), one of the oldest shelters on the A-T.
  • Additional parking is possible at P1, but with limited spaces.
  • It's possible, but probably not advisable, for all three crews to go in the same direction.  To "protect" Al Saah's post-operative knee I recommend he hikes Northbound, turning around and joining the first Southbound crew he meets.  This could be "scheduled" to happen at Bake Oven Knob so he can avoid one of the hardest traverses of this section.  Al, the views from there to Knife Edge are so good they're worth seeing twice.
  • I'm not sure we're going to need extra drivers at this point (we're at 18 Scouts right now but I'm sure we'll get more; the only person I know is not going is Jimmy Pogo, from my crew; we're taking Andrew Johnson in Jimmy's place).  We can discuss the Friday and Sunday "car shuttle" a little later in the week.  Al, it looks like there are plenty of drivers for the campout so it would be best if you could bring the minivan.  If needed I can borrow the "Troop 98 Suburban" from the Sanfillipos.  Phil, my gut is that we'll be able to get you a ride up and back as long as you're still interested in joining us.  It would be great to have you!
  • It looks like the earliest departure time is 5PM, although we should get everyone that can do so to meet earlier, like 4PM, to get everything together.  It should go faster this time.
  • Allentown Hiking Club has a trail maintenance and cleanup day scheduled for Sunday.  I'd like to contact them to offer our services picking up any trash/debris we seen on the trail and they/we can claim credit for our efforts.
  • I would expect we can be home by Noon on Sunday, 1PM latest.  Maybe plan the latter.

Get psyched for one of the best sections of the A-T in Pennsylvania!

Bake Oven Knob

Knife Edge
Knife's Edge.jpg

Devil's Pulpit