Hanging Rock via Allegheny Trail

based on 6 tracks & routes #1 hike out of 4 in
2.1 mi
1 hrs 7 min
299 ft
Elev Gain


This is a easy and locally popular out and back trail to Hanging Rock in Jefferson National Forest (Eastern Divide district).

The trail follows the yellow blazed Allegheny Trail, starting in the back end of the parking lot, heading uphill.

After a half mile, begin the big climb of this hike, a relatively easy 280 feet over nearly a half mile.

At 0.9 miles, a trail sign signals a blue blazed trail on the left. Take this trail to reach the observatory.

A short distance later, reach the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory, which sits at elevation 3812 and features spectacular views. This tower was originally built in 1956 as a fire tower, but was closed in 1972 and the land on which the tower sits was purchased by the United States Forest Service in 1983. The tower was restored by birders, as this has been a popular raptor count location dating back to at least the early 1950’s. Inside the building, recent raptor counts are logged on a white board and there is a log book for human visitors to record their visit. The tower is used as an overnight spot for long distance hikers on the Allegheny Trail. There is a privy nearby.

To return to your vehicle, you can either retrace your steps or follow the blue blazed trail further south along the ridge until it reaches the Allegheny Trail again. Turn right, and walk through the woods with the observatory high above you. Follow the Allegheny Trail north for one mile back to the parking lot.

Getting Started

Start the hike at the Hanging Rock Observatory Parking Lot, with space for about 15 vehicles. Finding the trailhead parking lot may be the hardest thing about this hike! Fortunately, you can find the trailhead in Google Maps labeled as “Hanging Rock Observatory Trailhead/Allegheny Trail,” but do not let your GPS take you on Fire Tower Road – stay on Limestone Hill Road until you reach a sign for the parking lot.

Taking Children

This is a great hike for younger children. The trail is not very steep, and the observatory is not far from the parking lot. You can picnic inside the observatory! There is information about some of the migrating birds visible from the mountain inside of the observatory.

Sights to See

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Public Tracks

prdfew 2 years, 8 months ago