- Home - Hiking Trails - Hiking Near Philadelphia Ralph Stover State Park High Rocks Hike
The High Rocks hike at Ralph Stover State Park offers scenic cliffside views of Tohickon Creek and quintessential Bucks County scenery. This hike is a local's favorite.
2.7 miles (4.3 km)
Cliff Views, Creek Views
High Rocks Hike Trail Maps
Google Maps trailhead:
5987 State Park Rd, Plumstead Township, PA, 18947, USA Ralph Stover State Park is about 80 minutes from Philadelphia, 100 minutes from New York, 60 minutes from Allentown, and 25 minutes from New Hope, PA. The hike follows the cliffs above Tohickon Creek and then gently descends. Once you get to the creek, you go back the way you came. There's a little climb in the beginning, then you gently descend along the cliff down to Tohickon creek. Interactive Map High Rocks Hike Map Downloads View a Printable PDF Hike Map Download the Hike GPX File Gear for the High Rocks Hike The best hydration daypack out there. The CamelBak Fourteener has been perfect on hikes of all distances (including Mt Whitney and Cactus to Clouds). It's light, has plenty of room for snacks, extra layers, hiking gear, and comes with a 3 liter water bladder. I also like the raised sweat pads on the back that keep your back dry. It's the perfect blend of high-tech, durability, and simplicity. I've got hundreds of hours on it and still love it. CamelBak Fourteener Reviews My favorite hiking boot of all time. The La Sportiva Synthesis (for women and men) are waterproof, super-light, have incredible grip, and won a Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Award ( my review here). I've gone through a lot of boots and these are my favorite. They feel like comfortable sneakers with the protection of hiking boots. La Sportiva Hiking Boot Reviews Don't hike without this in your backpack. It's a GPS emergency beacon and can save your life ( more on that here). On the trail, you're often out of cell phone range, and even something as simple as a twisted ankle could become a life and death situation. This beacon works where cell phones don't and is the size of a fist. Just press a button and help is on the way. Your life is worth every penny. ACR GPS Beacon Reviews Be prepared! My complete list of hiking gear and survival kit contents is here, check it out! Help support this site by checking out REI outlet for great gear for a fraction of the full price. High Rocks Hike Directions What to Expect The High Rocks hike follows along a (fenced) 200 foot sheer rock face cliff overlooking Tohickon Creek, eventually reaching the creek itself. The argillite and shale cliffs are popular with climbers. You may notice ropes tied off along the cliff edge as you hike. Tohickon Creek ( Lenape for “Deer-Bone-Creek”) is a popular whitewater kayaking spot when spring rains flood it. Occasionally they release water from Lake Nockamixon, another popular time for kayakers. The High Rocks section of Ralph Stover State Park was donated in 1956 by James A. Michener, author of books such as Alaska and Texas. The original park dates to 1931. There are a few ways to start this hike. These hike directions start at a big lot with bathrooms. Be sure to use the address in this post. Map programs could take you to the other parking areas. Turn by Turn Hike Directions The parking lot is pretty big. Use my trailhead address to get to this parking area. There’s a sign at the road into the lot, but no ‘official’ Google address for it. There are bathrooms in the parking lot, as well as a picnic area. The High Rocks hike starts at the bridge on the far end of the parking lot. Ignore the closed sign, it’s only for cars. Unless you weigh over 10 tons. The bridge is pretty cool. Head across it and make sure to look over the side at the creek. Go through the gate on the other side of the bridge and walk up the paved road. Right after you start up the road, there’s a trail leading to the creek on the right. Stay on the road. The road goes through a residential area. Keep your eyes open for cars. At about 0.5 miles, look for the hidden trail start on the right, after the sign. The start of the trail is easy to miss. This is what it looks like. There should be a yellow blaze but it might be faint. After a minute or two the trail becomes much more defined. Look for a yellow blaze as you continue.
A note about the blazes. There’s a white blaze, yellow blaze, and red dot blaze. The trails here used to be marked much better, but these days they’ve been spotty. In general you want to follow the yellow blaze, but these directions are more precise. Stick to these directions or the GPX file if in doubt.
At about .7 miles stay left on the upper cliff. The trail to the right goes down to the creek. Not for us on this hike. The trail is well defined. Continue hiking straight. You’ll see some yellow blazes again. Continue straight through the junction. The trail comes to a sign for the Argillite Overlook. Follow the arrow and make the hard right to the overlook. The hard right brings you down to the fence by the cliff. Head up to the edge of the fence. The views off of High Rocks are great. Take it all in. Continue hiking along the fence on the side of the cliff. As you hike this stretch, there are lots of view opportunities. Heed the signs and don’t go over the fence. You’ll start to see Tohickon Creek from the High Rocks Vista as you hike along the cliff. Keep your eyes on the ground. You’ll see ropes from the folks doing rock climbing. Eventually the trail turns left away from the cliff. Follow the trail. Soon after, the trail dead ends. Hike to the right. The trail meanders through the woods and starts to descend. When the trail splits just after 1 mile, stay right along the cliff. Continue down the trail as it continues downhill. At about 1.1 miles, bear to the right. Continue hiking downhill. At about 1.2 miles, the trail splits again. Stay to the left this time. Just after 1.3 miles, bear right at the split. The trail is well marked and continues downhill. Almost there! At about 1.5 miles you reach a big clearing. Make the hard right to head down to the creek. The trail goes steeply down to Tohickon Creek. You made it! This is Tohickon Creek. Look for fish in the crystal clear water. In addition to bass, catfish, and perch, the state stocks the creek with trout. Take a break, soak it in, and go back the way you came. Hope you enjoy the hike! High Rocks Hike Video Please subscribe to my YouTube channel here!
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Hiking Near Philadelphia
I spent a lot of my childhood enjoying the hiking near Philadelphia. There are not a ton of options in Philadelphia itself, but head about 30 minutes out of the city and you have a ton of options. The hiking near Philadelphia tends to be full of wildlife, lush vegetation, and have easy to follow trails.
Read More A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.
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