Casual hikers and serious bird watchers fill the lookout points at Hawk Mountain on Columbus Day weekend, which falls during high season for hawk migration.
People used to swarm to the mountain to shoot hawks before New York socialite and conservationist Rosalie Edge leased 1,400 acres and hired a warden to patrol the land and stop the slaughter in 1938.
The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary now spans 2,600 acres in Berks and Schuylkill counties and features a trail system that's only a few miles from the Appalachian Trail. The sanctuary is near Kempton, about 35 miles northwest of Allentown.
Hawk Mountain's South Lookout is an easily accessible 300 yards (just 100 steps) from the parking area and visitors center. Visitors can hike a mile (one way) to the North Lookout, accessible by climbing a steep section of stone steps.
Hawk Mountain includes a book store and native plant garden.
A daily count of raptor sightings is posted on Hawk Mountain's website. The sanctuary's busy season will continue through November, which is peak migration time for golden eagles. Some call it "nature's greatest air show."
- Autumn weekends (September through November) $8 adults and seniors, $4 children ages 6-12
- Weekdays year-round $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children 6-12
- Free for members and children under 5
- Visitor Center open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. September
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily the rest of the year
Hawk Mountain is seven miles from the Hamburg interchange (Cabela's) of Interstate 78 in Berks County.