Hike: Hawk Rock (Duncannon, Pennsylvania)

Sunset at Hawk Rock on Earth Day 2021

What better way to spend Earth Day than out hiking in nature itself? Is there a better way to spend Earth Day then… actually spending time with the Earth? Its like visiting your mother on mother’s day, or watching a baseball game with your dad on father’s day. Its what you do.

Thats called “being a good kid” or “being a good offspring”.

This is the second “hike review” here on the blog. I’ve covered Hawk Rock before (Hiking Hawk Rock and Visiting Liquid Noise) as a bit of a travelogue. Liquid Noise, the brewery, in Marysville is right on the way to and from Hawk Rock (if traveling to / from Harrisburg) and makes for a great re-hydration spot and refreshment location.

My previous “hike review” was the Rattling Run and Walking Tank Trail which you can read there by clicking that link.

Earth Day

Earth Day 2021 was a bit windy, “blustery” as one might say, but not horrible, a slight chill with the wind, but not too bad. Still a great day for hiking with my favorite trusty puppy friend. By now, I like to think most people know what Earth Day is, or at least that its “a day”. Not that its an incredibly special day, there’s no fireworks, most people still have to go to school on it, etc, but its still a ‘notable day’. But for those interested, here’s some more information, as per Wikipedia:

Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org (formerly Earth Day Network)[1] including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.[1][2]” (Source: Earth Day – Wikipedia) (I’ll include a longer passage from the site later on in the article.)

Years ago, on Earth Day, Troegs Independent Brewing in Hershey gave away free hop rhizomes. Two consecutive years, at their Hershey brewery on Earth Day, if you bought a draft of Cultivator you could get a can that was filled with topsoil and had a hop rhizome in it. The one year it was Chinook and the other year it was Saaz. They might have done it more than those two years, but those are the ones I’m aware of / and went and participated in.

Hawk Rock

Hawk Rock is a beautiful vista view that’s in Duncannon / Marysville Pennsylvania. It’s a vista just off of the Appalachian Trail, as well as its own trail from a trailhead at the base of the hill. If you go up past the lookout view of Hawk Rock, there is the Appalachian Trail (the AT) and that stretches in both directions and provides some nice views and hiking as well. Most travelers to Hawk Rock go for just the climb to the vista and back down, and its a relatively easy to moderate climb, and not too far either (1.9 Miles according to AllTrails). It has a few steep (and really, thats stretching the term a bit) areas on the climb up, but for the most part, its moderately difficult at best. There’s a lot of rock cut steps and it does switch – back on itself a fair bit, but its a pretty steady, easy climb.

Most vista views aren’t this easy, or as short of a distance either, so this is perfect for someone just wanting a nice quick, somewhat taxing view. A good hike and climb that will make you ‘feel like you did something’ or ‘accomplished’ a goal despite not having to do that hard of a workout. Plus, the view is incredible from the top, at all times of the year, and especially at sunset.

Speaking of sunsets:

Lead Up

I had wanted to take pup dog (Leela) out for our hike earlier in the day, but due to a slow morning start, and then getting a call that my daughter was needed to be taken to a doctor’s appointment, it didn’t happen until a bit later. So after running some errands and taking my daughter to her appointment, and dropping her back off with the ex-wife I took Leela to Hawk Rock. From Hummelstown, its roughly a 30 minute drive (Google Maps will say anywhere from 30 – 35 minutes depending on time of day). I arrived at the parking area at the base of the trail at 5:20PM.

Hawk Trail via Appalachian Trail

Hike: Hawk Trail via Appalachian Trail
Location: State Game Lands Number 290
Near: Duncannon, Perry County, Pennsylvania
Length: 1.9 Miles (as per AllTrails)
Elevation Gain: 761 Feet Gain (as per AllTrails)
Route Type: Out and Back
AllTrails Map: Hawk Rock via Appalachian Trail
AllTrails Description: Hawk Rock via Appalachian Trail is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Duncannon, Pennsylvania that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

The Hike

My hike of Hawk Rock and Appalachian Trail via MapMyRun

As you can see, I didn’t just do the 1.9 miles of the Hawk Rock trail that AllTrails shows. I decided I would hike and walk some of the Appalachian Trail as well. Why not right? Beautiful day and night and a beautiful scenic area. Why not hike it! Plus its Earth Day afterall!

At the start of the hike, at the foot of the trailhead, I could immediately hear the sound of a woodpecker. and sure enough, about two minutes onto the trail, there he was.

I tried taking a video of him as he ‘worked’ on the tree, but of course he just stared at me instead, so I left him be and continued my hike up to the Hawk Rock vista with Leela. The walk up was pretty uneventful, only passing one older (I would say late 60s) couple.

Got to the top – (well, the vista outlook, there’s a small incline to go yet to get to the Appalachian Trail) – and as always, the view was amazing and wonderful, and Leela was a good sport posing for me – to the best of her ability – while I took some pictures.

I sat and enjoyed the view and my time with Leela for a bit, until another couple came up, and I then took my leave and went up the small incline to the Appalachian Trail. I first took it out towards the river, where I know there’s another outlook and view over the river. From here, there is the trail down to get back to the road and to continue on with the Appalachian Trail, but I instead turned back and went the way I came, then passing the spur to get back to Hawk Rock, I kept going as if I was on my way to Cove Shelter. The way out was uneventful… but the way back… was at least… new to me.

I was going to keep going for a while, but it was starting to get late, and doing the mental math of my walking and time, I figured it’d be a bit after 8PM til I came down from the mountain (and with no tablets and commandments to show for it!), so instead of going as far as I’ve gone before in this direction, I turned back towards the spur for Hawk Rock.

On the way back, around 7:15-7:30PM, I encountered… for the first time in the wild… Mr…..

Mr. Porcupine. This was my first time encountering one in the wild. Was very interesting to see one, and relatively up close (at about a distance of 15 feet or so). I quickly grabbed Leela’s leash (because up on the trail I had left her go, but hadn’t unhooked her leash just in case), and she also immediately saw the animal. Leela isn’t an extremely excitable dog, nor is she very aggressive, but I was still taking no chances, especially with the limited knowledge I have of porcupines. But, luckily, she too was in the ‘cautious’ frame of mind, and kind of stayed behind me and kept a close distance to me behind my legs, as we skirted the path and area around the porcupine. It turned its back on us, which I was pretty sure wasn’t going to be a good sign, but he stayed still, and then as we kept moving, he went back to his foraging, and we kept on our way.

We then made it back to Hawk Rock just in time for a gorgeous sunset. This is about the fourth or fifth time I’ve visited Hawk Rock now, and each time I just can’t get enough of the view, especially at sunset, always gorgeous, no matter what time of year.

I then made my way down the mountain and back to my car. Sadly, like I said, there was no commandments or tablets given to me up on the mountain, and I didn’t look like a man who had led people in a desert for forty years, but all the same, it was a wonderful trip and hike, and a great view and was a much needed refresher for the lungs, brain, feet, body, and soul.

If you are ever in the Duncannon, Marysville, or Perry County area, I highly recommend this small hike. It has a gorgeous view, it is moderately tough to get your blood pumping a bit at least and to make you think like your working hard, and just offers a wonderful getaway from the hustle and bustle of life. Also, nearby is Perry County’s first brewery – Liquid Noise, so give them a visit as well for some tasty re-hydration brewskies.

As always, thanks for reading everyone, hope you enjoy these hike reviews, there will be more to come. As well as more travelogues, brewery visits, beer reviews, brewery news, book reviews, and more, so be sure to check us out regularly, and to make sure to stop by and see what all we got going on. You can read on for more information from Wikipedia about Earth Day and Porcupines. Hope you all had a wonderful Earth Day as well, let us know what you did on Earth Day in the comments section!


More Information

Earth Day:

Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org (formerly Earth Day Network)[1] including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.[1][2]

In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be observed on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature’s equipoise was later sanctioned in a proclamation written by McConnell and signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later United States Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed the idea to hold a nationwide environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. He hired a young activist, Denis Hayes, to be the National Coordinator. Nelson and Hayes renamed the event “Earth Day”. Denis and his staff grew the event beyond the original idea for a teach-in to include the entire United States. More than 20 million people poured out on the streets, and the first Earth Day remains the largest single day protest in human history. Key non-environmentally focused partners played major roles. Under the leadership of labor leader Walter Reuther, for example, the United Auto Workers (UAW) was the most instrumental outside financial and operational supporter of the first Earth Day.[3][4][5] According to Hayes, “Without the UAW, the first Earth Day would have likely flopped!”[6] Nelson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in recognition of his work.[7]

The first Earth Day was focused on the United States. In 1990, Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international and organized events in 141 nations.[8][9][10]

On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and 120 other countries. This signing satisfied a key requirement for the entry into force of the historic draft climate protection treaty adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Numerous communities engaged in Earth Day Week actions, an entire week of activities focused on the environmental issues that the world faces.[11] On Earth Day 2020, over 100 million people around the world observed the 50th anniversary in what is being referred to as the largest online mass mobilization in history.[2] (Source: Earth Day – Wikipedia)


Porcupines are large rodents with coats of sharp spines, or quills, that protect them against predation. The term covers two families of animals: the Old World porcupines of family Hystricidae, and the New World porcupines of family Erethizontidae. Both families belong to the infraorder Hystricognathi within the profoundly diverse order Rodentia and display superficially similar coats of quills. Despite this, the two groups are distinct from one another and are not closely related to each other within the Hystricognathi. The largest species of porcupine is the third-largest living rodent in the world after the capybara and beaver.

The Old World porcupines live in Southern Europe, Asia (western[1] and southern), and most of Africa. They are large, terrestrial, and strictly nocturnal. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Hystricidae.

The New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America. They live in wooded areas and can climb trees, where some species spend their entire lives. They are less strictly nocturnal than their Old World relatives, and generally smaller. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Erethizontidae.

Most porcupines are about 60–90 cm (25–36 in) long, with a 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long tail. Weighing 5–16 kg (12–35 lb), they are rounded, large, and slow, and use an aposematic strategy of defence. Porcupines’ colouration consists of various shades of brown, grey and white. Porcupines’ spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and Australian monotreme echidnas as well as tenrecid tenrecs. (Source: Porcupine – Wikipedia)

Hawk Rock
Hawk Rock via Appalachian Trail is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Duncannon, Pennsylvania that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. (AllTrails)

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