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Tucquan Glen & Pyfer Nature Preserves

River Road | Martic Township Parking lots are currently closed

Preserve can only by accessed by hiking in via the Conestoga Trail Do NOT park along River Road (unless you want a ticket or your car towed)

 

Tucquan Glen is one of the most impressive wild spaces in Lancaster County. It starts off as a tranquil steam, meandering through the forest and turns into wild rapids tumbling over giant boulders. Back in the day it was known as the "Seven Streams" because the trail would pass over the creek seven times. It really is the perfect spot to go creek stomping and cool off on a hot day. My mother tells me stories of how they used to drive their cars right into the creek to wash them (eeeeek!!), making sure to drive to the second pool because it was deeper.






Tucquan Glen is probably one of the most sought after hikes in Lancaster County. Not only because of it's beauty, but like everything in life, everyone wants what they can't have. In March of 2020 The Lancaster Conservancy closed the parking lots for the preserve, allowing access only by hiking in via the Conestoga Trail. The parking lots still remain closed today. 

The preserve had gained notoriety in past few years because of a proposed pipeline that was going to cut through this amazing natural space. Fortunately, the pipeline was diverted away from Tucquan, unfortunately it was still built in Lancaster County. After all of the publicity, this once quiet preserve, that I used to have all to myself, became THE place to hike. And in 2020 it became even more popular with everyone looking for a "safe" physical activity to do during the pandemic. The Conservancy decision to close the parking lots was absolutely necessary. I've seen many other spots ruined by overuse and the Conservancy's number one priority is to protect the land.


 

Length: 3 miles of trails plus additional to hike into preserve

Terrain: dirt | rocks | wooded | water

Difficulty: medium to well

Activities: hiking | trail running | leashed dogs

Parking: 1 small & 1 medium lot- currently closed

Restrooms: no




 

Upper Pyfer Trail (White Trail) | .8 miles point to point

Medium- Medium Well | 15-30 minutes

This trail starts at the small parking lot along River Road and follows the Conestoga Trail briefly before continuing on its own. A lot of love has gone into this trail. There are stone steps and walls that add function and charm. The trail is high on the hillside running along the stream, so depending on the time of year there are beautiful views of the water. The last .2 miles of the trail continue toward the river away from the Conestoga Trail. This section is very steep and can be quite challenging if going uphill. This portion as well as some of the yellow trail was once part of the Conestoga Trail, faded orange blazes still remain.


Blue Trail | .5 miles point to point

Medium | 10-20 minutes

This is the trail to take if you are looking to do some creek stomping. The blue trail starts at the Upper Pyfer Trail (yellow) and ends at the Lower Pyfer Trail (white). There is a total of 4 creek crossings along the way. You will get wet on this trail. After the 2nd creek crossing you do have the option to cross again or continue on along the Yellow/Conestoga Trail. If you cross you will have to cross a 4th time to connect to the Yellow/Conestoga Trail.


Lower Pyfer Trail (Yellow Trail) | .7 miles point to point

Medium - Medium Well | 15-30 minutes

The Lower Pyfer Trail (yellow trail) begins where the Upper Pyfer Trail (white) and the Conestoga Trail go their separate ways. It follows the Conestoga Trail into the glen and along the stream. Natural steps and rails have been built to help navigate the steep terrain. It then intersects with the Upper Pyfer Trail (white)and continues downhill to the train tracks.


Conestoga Trail (orange) | 1.6 miles point to point Medium Well | 30-60 minutes At the border of the preserve you will connect with the Upper Pyfer Trail (white) and then turn down the Lower Pyfer Trail (yellow) trails taking you down to the water. Once you reach the water, you will need to cross it. There are strategically placed rocks to help you across if you don't want to get your feet wet, but if the water is high, you will get wet.

After you go through a rhododendron grove, the trail turns slightly and heads uphill. But if you go straight the old portion of the trail that went across the wooden bridge is still there, even though the bridge is not. You are able to go along the water for a while before you reach a "Trail Closed " sign. You are also able to go along the old trail on the other side. After you come down the hillside the old trail picks up after a large log along the trail. Both sides of the old trail are worth exploring. There are beautiful views of the rapids.

After coming down the hillside the trail becomes challenging. This section is very rocky and the footing is very uneven. It's more boulder scrambling than hiking. The trail continues on to the railroad tracks, where the preserve ends.

Conestoga Trail (orange)from Clark Nature Preserve | 1.8 miles point to point Medium Well | 40-80 minutes




I usually go clockwise when heading to Tucquan. From the parking lot go back onto the road to the small roped off lot to enter the preserve. Follow the blue Ralph Goodno Trail (blue) through the grassy meadows. The trail then dips into the woods. You will cross the stream twice, then the trail connects with the Conestoga Trail (orange). The trail heads towards the river and continues up a very steep hill. Look for the amazing rock the looks like Darth Vader. When the trail levels off you will pass the mile 7 marker for the Conestoga Trail and then map for Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve. To the right of that map you will see a narrow trail the heads toward the river. This is the old route for the Conestoga Trail and I recommend taking it. It will reconnect with the trail and it has some pretty amazing boulders and views of the river. The trail continues on until you reach the Upper Pyfer Trail (white).



Conestoga Trail (orange) from the Pinnacle | 1 mile point to point Well Done | 20-40 minutes



This trail is to the right of the overlook and starts on a wide pathway that is lined with a rock wall. The trail then cuts into the woods towards the river and will take you to a large outcropping of rocks that jut out over the Susquehanna for a spectacular view. From here you will go down a very steep dirt hill, that at times goes almost straight down. The trail takes you around a large boulder and levels out a bit, crossing over several streams. You will then climb over and even through some boulders and eventually down to the edge of Tucquan Glen, by the train tracks.


 

Directions:


To Clark Nature Preserve: From Lancaster city go south on N. Prince St/PA 222

S Right onto PA 324 S/New Danville Pike

Left onto PA 324 S/ 741 E

At Cherry Hill Orchard go straight to continue on PA 324 S

Left on River Rd.

Slight Right onto House Rock Rd.

Left on West View Rd.

Right on House Rock Rd.

The road dead ends and the parking lot is at the end of the road to the Right.





To The Pinnacle Overlook:

From Lancaster city go south on N. Prince St/PA 222

S Right onto PA 324 S/New Danville Pike

Left onto PA 324 S/ 741 E

At Cherry Hill Orchard go straight to continue on PA 324 S

Left on River Rd.

Right onto Pinnacle Rd.

Road dead ends at Pinnacle Overlook




 
 






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