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A couple of weeks ago the hubby and I took Radar (our 1-year-old Treeing Walker Coonhound) to Nolde Forest for a nice Sunday afternoon hike. I have lived in the Reading area my whole life, and I’ve NEVER been here before. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of it until about a month ago when I was asking my coworker if she had any ideas for good hiking trails.
Sam and I go for hikes a lot, and after a while you start to frequent the same places over and over again. It’s not really a big deal, but when you want to go someplace new it’s hard to come up with an original idea. So when I heard about Nolde Forest, it sounded like a cool place to check out. It’s located about 10 minutes south of Reading off of Route 625.
Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center (what a mouthful) has over 665 acres of deciduous and coniferous trees – and they are big, old, and gorgeous. It kind of reminds me of a fairy tale.
Weaving through the forest is 10 miles of hiking trails. I was warned ahead of time that you can get lost very easily. I didn’t think much of it – I mean, we are expert hikers here – but I was not prepared for the extensive amount of trails and the way they connect and weave all over the place.
As you can see – pretty crazy.
We started at the sawmill parking lot and made our way up the Watershed Trail. We then made our way along Boulevard Trail down to Ridge Trail and back to Watershed. To be honest, we just meandered along, not really having a plan where we were going to go. We didn’t have a map with us so we didn’t even know where we were going or where we’d end up. It was fun to do it that way but I think next time I’ll print out a map so we can plan our course and make sure we see the things we want.
The map shows there are two ponds in the forest you can walk to, and also the Nolde Mansion, all of which I want to check out next time we are there. Presently, the mansion houses the offices for the staff, but it was built as a residence by a son of the founder of the forest (if you are interested in this sort of thing, check out a more detailed history here). The mansion and its parking lot are only open during the work week, but I’d still like to see the outside and get some neat pictures.
We had a very enjoyable hike with good weather (which if you are in the eastern PA area, you know has been pretty scarce this spring) and I certainly plan to go back sometime this summer/fall. The hike we took wasn’t overly strenuous, but I’m looking forward to checking out other parts of the forest and getting better photos (I was trying out my new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens, which if you know anything about photography is not ideal for landscape shots, but I couldn’t resist playing around with it anyway).
Have you ever discovered an awesome place near your hometown you never knew existed? Has anyone else been to Nolde Forest? Leave some love in the comments!