Location: Kent or Carmel
Distance: 4 miles
Skill Level: moderate
Elevation Gain: 400′
Type of Hike: loop
Trail Condition: rocky, wet in places, dirt
Wow Factor: 30′ glacial erratic that looks like a hawk
Note: you need a DEP permit–free and immediate here
How to get there: Go all the way to the end of Whangtown Road (will be Carmel or Kent depending on your device). The lot is small and can only hold around 4 cars.
From the parking lot, head toward the kiosk and pick up the orange trail as it heads uphill. There are a few spots that try to trick you so keep your eyes open as there is only one trail.
You’ll pass a large stone chamber on your right and I always think they are worth checking out. This one is often very wet to get to but its worth it if you can make it.
Get back on the trail and continue on the orange as it hangs left. (The hidden Mother chamber is through the woods here but impossible to find unless you know where it is. There is also another broken chamber that faces away from the trail so not easy to find either.) Keep your eyes open for the markers as the trail winds back to the right. You’ll pass over a stream and the orange trail will end a little after.
Hang a left on the red trail and follow it down through the hemlock trees past balancing rock.
The trail will end and Hawk Rock will be just beyond. It is a huge glacial erratic that looks like a bird. I love this spot and it just feels different. Its a little cooler and quieter under the trees. Spend a good amount of time here checking out the area and the rocks and little caves. I think another rock there looks like a revolutionary man with a wig and hat. There are some etching on Hawk Rock that might be from the Native Americans, might be graffiti.
When you’re done, head back up the red trail past balanced rock to where you left the orange trail.
Continue on up red trail a mile and a half making sure to stay on the trail and not the unofficial ones. You’ll pass some old foundations from the Mead Farm. The trail climbs up more, heads left and then right again. You’ll follow the trail between two rock walls for a nice bit (muddy when wet), pass a wetland, and come back out on the side of the parking lot.