One of the most dramatic hawk-watching lookouts here is wheelchair accessible and less than a mile from the parking lot – and the other one, at the summit, is just a bit further and up a long staircase. If, however, you enjoy a good rock scramble, we highly recommend the 4.5 mile scenic route through the woods, across the rock river and along the ridge that ultimately gets you to the very same spots.
The Visitor Center is a really informative place to start. Park rangers at the ticket booth give updates on hawk sightings and can explain the lay of the land – and your possible routes along it. There’s also a gift shop stocked with, among other things, popsicles!
Just beside the Visitor Center, it’s worth spending the 15 minutes it takes to explore the gated native plant garden surround a lily pond. From there, follow the path across the street (aided by crossing guards) and up a slight hill toward the first look-out. Here you can either turn left for the shortcut up to the summit or head right, and onto the “difficult path.” The five-year-old among us had no trouble scrambling over the boulders that pave the difficult route, but this isn’t a beginners’ path. Its final 30-foot ascent to the summit is almost vertical – a nice confidence booster for my 4th grader.
VISIT HAWK MOUNTAIN SANCTUARY WEBSITE
Seniors (65+): $7
Children (6-12): $5
Children 5 and under: FREE
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