The D&L Blog

Delaware & Lehigh - Off The Beaten Path: Lehigh Gap Nature Center

Blog Post By: Janet Wright Starner, D&L Guest Blogger

It’s 8:00 AM on a June morning and already the D&L Trail is bustling with activity: walkers, bikers, runners, hikers, crawlers, and hoppers.

Toad spotted along the D&L Trail in Lehigh Gap.

My love affair with the D&L Trail began in the summer of 2011 when I used it extensively to train for a half marathon, and for five years that is primarily how I experienced it. But in the last year and a half, I have begun to explore some very interesting offshoots, detours that are “off the beaten path,” that you might want to investigate the next time you are on the Slatington/Lehigh Gap section of the trail.

Today I’m on a fit walk with a group sponsored by the Lehigh Gap Nature Center (LGNC). We meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and although most days we stay on the D&L Trail, today we are going to hike the LNE Trail, which is just a dozen steps off the D&L Trail itself. To get there yourself, walk north, down the LGNC driveway to find a marker for the trail at the bottom, near the wooden fence.

Flowers spotted along the D&L Trail in Lehigh Gap.

Looking down on the D&L Trail and Lehigh River from the LNE Trail.

The first quarter mile or so is a relatively steep uphill climb, and no bikes are allowed on this section, but if you are moderately fit, you should have no problem traversing the path. The view from the top is spectacular, well worth the time it takes to get there.

Once you get to the top of the first section, the LNE Trail is level, flat, and an easy walk or run. If you follow it all the way to Bowmanstown, which is about 3 miles from the Nature Center, you end up at a lovely Arboretum. And there’s lots to see on the way. On recent walks, we have seen a variety of different birds—a Bald Eagle on one occasion—lots of interesting insects and wild flowers, even a porcupine, standing stock still at the side of the trail.

The Lehigh Gap Nature Center sits on a 400-acre super fund site, and the LNE Trail provides an excellent vantage point from which to observe the significant improvements to the landscape, made possible by a coalition of organizations and people who have brought life back to this area of the country over the last fifteen years. The LGNC, and the trails it maintains are “bonus” add-ons, if you will, to the D&L Trail that you may not have known about.  Try out one of these hidden gems. I promise they won’t disappoint.

The transformation of Lehigh Gap.