Situated on 2656 Hogback Road in Sunbury lies a hidden gem of natural beauty and serene tranquility – Hogback Ridge Park. Located on 41 picturesque acres of forested land, this park offers a delightful retreat for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a moment of peaceful solitude.
The Allure of the Outdoors
The park operates year-round with specific winter and summer hours. Summer hours, through October 31, are 8 AM to 7 PM. The District Offices and the Mary Barber McCoy Nature Center, an integral part of the park, operate between 8 AM. and 4:30 PM., and 9 AM to 4 PM respectively from Monday to Friday, with the building remaining closed on observed holidays.
Hogback Ridge Park is a sanctuary for various species of wildlife. Its trails wind through a captivating system of ravines, populated by hardwood and pine trees. The park is home to white-tail deer and wild turkeys, alongside numerous species of birds, including the pileated woodpecker. A scenic bridge spans one of the ravines, offering spectacular views and photo opportunities for visitors.
The Gift of Glaciation
The park’s striking landscape was partly shaped by glaciation during the last Ice Age. The process created the distinctive ridges that gave the park its name, and the meltwater from the glaciers helped carve the stream beds. The ravines and ridges provide the backdrop for a diverse range of woodland wildflowers that carpet the forest floor in the spring. Visitors can look forward to a colorful display of trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, mayapples, and more in April and May.
Mary Barber McCoy Nature Center
The Mary Barber McCoy Nature Center is a hub of education and wildlife viewing in the park. Here, visitors can learn about the reintroduction of osprey to the adjacent Alum Creek Reservoir, observe birds from a dedicated viewing area, and see numerous taxidermied wildlife. The initial 32 acres of what is now Hogback Ridge Park were left to Preservation Parks in the estate of Mary Barber McCoy in 1998. An additional nine acres were later purchased, bringing the park’s total area to 41 acres. The park officially opened to the public in 2002.
Visitors can embark on a nature-filled journey through two main trails: The Woodland Ridge Trail and the Pinegrove Trail. The former is a 0.4-mile gravel trail looping through a hardwood forest along a ridge between two ravines, while the latter traverses a planted pine forest and a hardwood forest over the same distance. Both trails offer the chance to spot the park’s resident wildlife, and a spur off the Pinegrove Trail even leads to a wildlife blind next to a pond, where waterfowl and resident snapping turtles can be observed.
The park also features the Ravine Crossing, a 40-foot-long bridge that connects the Woodland Ridge and Pinegrove trails across a wide ravine. Equestrians are catered for with a primitive trail that connects to the equestrian/hiking trail in Alum Creek State Park. Horse trailers, however, are not allowed in the park. Riders can tie their horses while visiting the Preservation Parks district offices and Mary McCoy Nature Center.
Leashed pets are allowed on the trails, provided that owners clean up after them, making Hogback Ridge Park an ideal destination for a day out with your furry friends.
The park’s pet-friendly policy extends to the Woodland Ridge and Pinegrove trails, both of which provide a wonderful experience for dogs and their owners.
Sources: Preservation Parks, 1808AI