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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Northern Berks County, PA
I have. I wouldn't say I've done so exhaustively, but I've seen most of them.
A nice loop is to park about 1/2 mile or so from the Fire Tower (down the mountain on the main road up). There's a picnic area and then right after is an access road that's gated. If you take that access road, it'll run east just below the crest of the ridge for a couple or three miles. There it hits the AT, and if you turn left, you'll go north over the ridge down the other side and on the climb up, you hit SGL land. You can turn left on an access road and leave the AT, and that access road runs up to the road/trail network that goes from the Fire Tower to Eckville. You'll hit a 4-way intersection near some of those plots you mentioned. Turning left, you head back up to the Fire Tower, coming out at the gate at the lot by the tower itself, and then you can work down the road to your vehicle. I think that's somewhere in the 6-7 mile range total. Nothing SUPER steep...not real rocky, either, for that matter. Some parts aren't well shaded, so maybe not the best on a roaring hot day, lol.
Last summer in the run up to my elk hunt, I was taking my 50lb pack up to Pulpit Rock from the gate at the Reservoir, making it out on the rocks at the overlook in something like 50 minutes. I was pretty pleased with that (it's 2.5 miles, but if you've hiked it, you know the last 1/3 - 1/2 mile is absolutely soul-crushing with its steep slopes and large boulders).
The AT actually crosses Rt 61 just south of Port Clinton. You used to be able to park on the east side of 61, but that got blocked off when they clamped down on the nonsense going on at the river and "The Rock" the kids would jump off into the river. Now you have to park on the west side and cross 61 to Port Clinton Ave (the road coming out to 61 from the north end of Hamburg). The AT goes up the mountain off the old parking area along Port Clinton Ave (the one that's blocked off to cars now). It climbs that steep "nose" that sticks out against 61 on the east side, then runs the ridge until you get close to the reservoir, where it drops back down, passes right at the reservoir itself, and then climbs back up to Pulpit Rock. From there, it stays pretty much up high until you hit the Pinnacle, where it then does a pretty big double-back to the west, and then drops north off the ridge line and continues north to Hawk Mt. Road/Eckville area, eventually climbing back up to a ridge line on SGL106 and then following that ridge top for miles to the east and into Lehigh County. I haven't gone out as far as the county line on it. Yet.
The trail in SGL106 is BRUTAL with rocks. That's where Dan's Pulpit is situated. The rocks really ramp up on the last climb up to Pulpit Rock, sort of maintain that level through the Pinnacle, and then start to get worse on the north side of Hawk Mountain Road (it passes about 1/4 mile east of the bottom of the River of Rocks trail on the Sanctuary, which is where those big boulder fields are...it's just an extension of those boulder fields that you're crossing). Once you gain the ridge top on 106, the rocks come and go.....but they're there most of the way, and get really rough in spots.