Hike: Turkey Hill Overlook Trail (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania)

Hike: Turkey Hill Overlook Trail (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania)

The Susquehanna River from the top of the Turkey Hill Overlook – from the Turkey Hill Overlook Trail.

Turkey Hill

No, this isn’t a run to the store to get your favorite ice tea or ice cream, this is a pretty cool trail that overlooks the Susquehanna River. I’ve hiked and walked this trail several times in the past, doing the full trails, and all the encompassing views and parts of the different paths (the Enola Grade, the flat area, etc.), mostly with Ming or with my trusty canine companion Leela, or just by myself even.

This time however, Leela and I and a friend, took the hike up and did just the Overlook Trail, which is just a portion of the Turkey Hill Trail found on AllTrails. There isn’t a specific or technical “Turkey Hill Overlook Trail” on maps or on AllTrails; there is however the Turkey Hill trail, and several conjoining trails that use the name and there is the lower portion that runs along the river. I am calling this the Turkey Hill Overlook Trail because it turns left and takes you to the overlook, and then you can turn right back around and head back down. So basically its a simplified and shorter version of the Turkey Hill Trail, and primarily would be just to climb / hike to the top, get to the overlook and look out over the river, and then back down.

AllTrails Turkey Hill Trail

The above screenshot of the AllTrails app shows what one of several possible Turkey Hill trails look like. The red is the followed trail for that particular one. The dotted lines are several other trails that could be also followed. The path we took was from the starting point to where that little tip of a dotted line stick out near the beginning, as that is where it the trail turns up to stand underneath the windmills and be at the overlook to look out over the Susquehanna River.

Ok, enough preamble, lets get down to the hike itself.

The Turkey Hill Overlook Trail

Our MapMyRun workout from the hike

We got to the Turkey Hill Trail parking lot around 3PM or so, parked, let the dog out and got her to do her ‘dirty sinful business’ (as Reverend Lovejoy would say) right away so we could dispose of it before doing the hike. We then started on the path which was pretty despite the fall foliage already being done. As it was also late in the season, there was nobody around either (we passed three people total on the entire trip).

The path is nice and decently wide at the start before you head into the hillside proper and begin your ascent upwards. At this time of year, there was a lot of leaves down which made it a bit slippery (especially on the way back down). The hill up isn’t too excessively difficult or hard to climb, and its not extremely rocky, but there is some moderate difficult spots and some rocks to navigate. At certain points of the year you can see what could be modestly called a waterfall but I would be more inclined to call it a stream running downhill. When we hiked there wasn’t any water flowing down as it had been pretty dry for a bit.

It was a crisp cold day on the hike, with a slight breeze, but it was still nice for the hike, and was beautiful. My hike beer for the trip was Golden Sky by South County Brewing Co.

Beer: Golden Sky
Brewery: South County Brewing Co
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 4.2%
IBU: 12
Untappd Description: A session-able but flavorful Blonde Ale, dry-hopped with Citra & Hallertau Blanc. Nice honey malt tones with pear and apple notes. A real crusher!
My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.78 (as of 12.9.21)

The hike up to the top went uneventful with no falls, slips, or spills. Leela was a good hiking buddy up and knew the way perfectly (this wasn’t her first trip). Getting to the top, instead of following the path of the Turkey Hill trail which would lead out over a plain area and down into the Enola Grade, we turned left and went to the overlook underneath the wind turbines.

The view from the overlook area of the Susquehanna River and surrounding area is very pretty, especially on a lovely clear, crisp day like it was. And behind the actual overlook spot are the wind turbines on the top of the hill, which give the whole area an interesting buzzing / helicopter like background noise. The top of the trail, where the overlook itself is; is a nice structure to stand on, with a railing (as you can see in the one beer pic), there is some kind of smaller structure nearby that looks like it at one time housed one of those binocular / telescopic view things (the ones where you put a quarter in them to look through the eye – hole lenses).

Some pics from the overlook and the trail:

The Hike Back Down

The hike back down with Leela was relatively uneventful. Due to the abundance of fall leaves that were down, we did slip a bit every so often, but overall it was a relatively easy descent. Only passed one hiker on the way back down, as it was starting to get closer to sunset on the way down.

All in all, the trip took us a total of one hour and a half. Its a shortened version of the main trail which can take a much longer time, depending on if you take all the different routes and side-trails and other parts of the Enola Grade and Turkey Hill area. It also depends on how long you spend at the top of the hill at the overlook enjoying the wonderful view. I would suggest going in early fall to capture all the fall foliage.

Post Hike

After the hike, we of course had to re-hydrate. So what better way to re-hydrate than to do so at breweries? In the area near the Turkey Hill trail, you have several options. We chose to stop at Columbia Kettle Works in Columbia, and then check out the new River Trail Brewing (formerly Pig Iron Brewing – same building – new owners / brewers) in Marietta. Been to Columbia Kettle Works before and enjoyed every visit there. Food was delicious and the beers on point. River Trail Brewing was leap years ahead and better than the old Pig Iron Brewery that was in the same building. Didn’t get any food there, but the beers were good, especially for a new and starting out brewery. I would recommend both, especially Columbia Kettle Works; I’d say at least stop in and give River Trail Brewing a try.

Thanks For Reading

As always everyone, thanks for reading. We will definitely be doing more hike posts in the future, especially in 2022, I want to go on a lot more hikes (and varied and out of state places too) and want to keep up on writing up a post after each hike. So be on the lookout for that in the future.

For more hike posts from us here at The Beer Thrillers, check out these hikes:

For more reading and sources on Turkey Hill Trail and the Overlook:

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

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