Clear, cold and home to native brook trout, Cranberry Creek is the hidden heart of the 150-acre Nothstein Preserve in Paradise Township, Pa. On Saturday, Nov. 25, join Brodhead Watershed Association for a free guided hike of about 3 miles – including stream crossings – to explore this conserved land.
New trails created by the township and a new map made by the county planning commission help hikers investigate the preserve’s unique features. Discover an old stone quarry, a gorge cut through by the creek, and the bleached remains of oaks killed by gypsy moths standing like tall, ghostly fingers among thousands of promising oak seedlings and saplings.
Swinging around the end of the quarry, the trail soon drops steeply into different terrain – a forest amphitheater littered with boulders and glacial till. Evergreen Christmas ferns abound. Mosses as thick and dense as a bear’s pelt soften the steep, rocky, single-track trail.
The trail continues on the far side of the creek. The bridge is out, but the creek is low, and crossing the rocks is easy. (Paradise Township is working on creating simple bridge stream crossings.) Able hikers will relish the challenge and its reward: the natural beauty of Paradise.