150 Park. Rd. | West Nottingham Township | Chester County
OUTSIDE OF LANCASTER COUNTY
Nottingham County Park is great place to spend the day with your family. Not only does it offer many different trails, but it also has pavilions, playgrounds, a pollinator garden and a mystery hole.
The Park also sits atop an outcropping of serpentine stone and is part of one of the largest serpentine barrens on the East Coast. For its natural history and conservation efforts, the National Park Service recognized Nottingham Park as a National Natural Landmark in 2008.
Serpentine, a geological outcrop of rare, light-green rock found only in three small geographic areas in all of North America, has soil so low in essential nutrients and so high in some metals that most ordinary plants will not grow. The barrens have their own community of plants, some of them globally-rare, with practically no species in common with the surrounding forests and fields.
Within the park there are former feldspar and serpentine quarries, and numerous former chromite ore mines. They Mystery Hole along the Feldspar Trail is actually a former feldspar quarry that has filled in with water.
Length: Over 6 miles of trails
Terrain: gravel | wooded | sun exposure | grass | paved
Difficulty: rare to medium well
Activities: walking | hiking | biking | horseback riding | leashed dogs | birding
Restrooms: port-o-potties throughout park
Parking: Many lots throughout park
Doe Trail | .99 mile
Medium | 20-40 minutes
This trail can be picked up from Buck Trail, Chrome Trail and Feldspar Trail. Half of this trail runs along the Serpentine Barrens, which means that you will be exposed to the sun. The other half is through a young forest next to Black Run. Along the way, you will pass the WWII monument at Victory Run and Black Run.
Fawn Trail | 0.25 mile
Medium Rare | 5-10 min
This short trail begins at the Pavilion #7 gate, running in a southerly direction and crossing Black Run stream. The trail starts of in the woods going downhill. Once you start going uphill you enter the serpentine barrens.
Feldspar Trail | .64 mile
Medium | 10-20 min
Feldspar Trail starts near Pavilion #4 and connects with Buck Trail. You will be exposed to the sun for most of the trial. This is the trail to take if you want to visit the Mystery Hole. This old quarry is surrounded by a fence, but you are able to walk around and get a pretty good look.
Buck Trail | 2.73 mile
Medium Well | 1-2 hrs
This trail begins at Pavilion #7 and can be difficult to locate. It begins at a gate that leads to a cornfield. It runs parallel with the fawn trail for a while then turns left so you are between the cornfield and the meadow. It then turns once you hit the pond. It's here that I first saw the red trail marker. This trail has a lot of connecting trails, so you need to pay attention, that you don't get off course. If you see a green sign with a number on it that means that you are going down a firebreak trail. There is not a lot of shade on this trial, so make sure you are prepared in the summer months.
Buck Trail travels east to west and is situated on the highest elevations in the park, providing some of the most spectacular views of the valleys to the north. You are truly in “the barrens” when hiking this trail.
Chrome Trail | 0.20 mile
Medium Rare | 5-10 min
This short trail starts near Pavilion #8 and connects with the Doe Trail. There are several connector trails along the way, one of which passes an abandoned quarry.
Fitness Trail | 1 mile loop
Medium Rare | 30-60 min
This paved trail starts near the pollinator garden and loops around with 18 exercise stations. There is also an abundance of wildflowers along this trail.
Firebreaks | 1.68 miles in total
Medium | 30-60 min
There are 5 different Firebreaks along the Buck Trail. They dead end at the parks perimeter.
Serpentine Barrens Heritage Hike
Starting at the grassland demonstration area, follow portions of the Chrome, Doe and Feldspar Trails, exploring the relationship between the natural resources in our serpentine barrens and the history of mining. Brochures for this self-guided hike are available at the park office.
From Lancaster take US-272 S
Turn Left at US 272 S/ Nottingham Rd. (at the Fireworks store) Right onto Cemetery Rd.
Left onto Park Rd.
Park entrance is on Right
William Penn State Forest
Chrome Barrens Preserve