The Heath Barrens Trail at Dick & Nancy Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain near Jessup, Pennsylvania is an easy 0.5-mile out-and-back trail that leads hikers into the scrubland of the heath barrens.
This trail begins along the Cliff Trail at the park, located around 0.2-miles down the trail on the right-hand side and heads downhill and then back uphill at a mostly-gradual grade. The low-point along the trail is filled with blueberry bushes and other low-growing shrubs. This trail gives the hiker an idea of what the heath barrens is all about. The trail continues onward, but we turned back to explore the Cliff Trail further. As of May 2021, this trail was a bit overgrown in certain places, so it's likely lightly-trafficked regularly.
Hikers will find a large parking lot at the coordinates provided. The lot is large enough to fit about a dozen vehicles as of May 2021.
Dogs are allowed if leashed and their waste must be carried out by the hiker.
About the Heath Barrens
The Moosic Mountain heath barrens are made up of stunted pine and oak forests that are dominated by low-growing shrubs like blueberry, huckleberry, rhodora, and others species that affect an entire ecosystem of wildlife including birds, butterflies, deer, bear, and other native animals to Pennsylvania. Additionally, the globally-rare swallow moth and barrens buckmoth call this area home.
In 2001, The Nature Conservancy purchased 1,200 acres in the center of Moosic Mountain that were previously designated for development. With this purchase, TNC was able to protect this rare natural ecosystem.
In 2009, TNC named the preserve after Dick and Nancy Eales, whose generosity has allowed the expansion of the preserve, which today encompasses around 2,250 acres.