Lehigh Gap East Loop
Lehigh Gap East Loop
Part of the Appalachian Trail, this section of the AT overlooks Lehigh Gap, a large hole carved by Lehigh River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain. Though I read about the rock climbing on this trail, I definitely didn’t expect a vertical ascend. The view on top is INCREDIBLE! The shaky knees and burning thighs were all worth it.
It’s a beautiful day today. We arrived at the trail head right around sun rise (about 7:30). It’s very quiet and peaceful.
Some posters near the trail head. In the background, Appalachian Mountain on the west side of Lehigh River, showered in the morning ray.
Taking the AT up, the trail started like these. They are pretty steep. Your thighs can definitely feel the ascend.
The sun is rising, Appalachian Mountain on the west side of the river was golden. I am so glad I started the hike early to take in this view. This bright golden color doesn’t last very long.
As the trail turns left, it flattens out and offers this great view of the bridge and the valley.
As the trail continues heading toward the top, rocks come into play. There are some very interesting rock formation. While they are great to look at and admire, climbing over them was a different story. There are plenty of white blazes, you won’t get lost even though it’s just rock pile after rock pile.
It is getting really difficult to climb up. I was on my fours, literally. My knees started to shake. It was very very windy. I had to lean on larger boulders, or I felt like being blown away. We stopped every few steps to rest, to take in the view and to remind ourselves all the hard work was well worth it.
Take a final picture of the bridge, the valley with the rock pile in view (we somehow scrambled up without breaking anything, LOL!). Climbing over these rocks, we continued on the other side of the peak.
Finally, the trail returns to normal, from rocks to solid dirt and grass.
After about a quarter of a mile of relatively flat trail, we past a fenced in area on the right and reached a sign on the left with a blue blaze that marks the Winter Trail.
The winding trail of switchbacks through the forest down the other side of the mountain was equally steep. From time to time, through the trees and leaves, we got a glimpse the mountain.
Although the bridge is no longer in sight, on a clear day like today, we can see couple miles up the Lehigh River, and the town of Palmerton in the distance. The river is so blue and shimmery, it looks like silk. Some trees are finally turning red.
Right across the river, there were people hiking the D&L Trail, probably my next trail to hike.
We turned left once reached the bottom and follow the road the river. Every few steps the view is different. I couldn’t stop taking millions of pictures.
The bridge is once again in sight, but offers a very different, yet still
A fall foliage trip is not complete without fall scenery.
What a satisfying hike! To recap, the trail was about 2.8 miles long. We climbed up nearly 1000 ft in the first mile which was very exhausting and scary. The descend wasn’t all that easy either, quite tough on the knees. Without a doubt I will do that again, probably at different time of the day to get different lighting.