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Get Your Tail on the Trail -- Big Lake Trail at Lacawac Sanctuary image
May 04, 2023
Get Your Tail on the Trail -- Big Lake Trail at Lacawac Sanctuary
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The 165 Challenge has officially begun! Log 165 miles, the completed length of the D&L Trail, from May 1 through November 13th to earn the 165 Challenge badge and Get Your Tail on the Trail swag! Don’t forget to post your progress and photos on social media using our hashtag, #GetYourTailontheTrail!

The Trail of the Month for May is the Big Lake Trail at Lacawac Sanctuary! Log miles at location “Lacawac Santuary” now through May 31st for the chance to win a gift card to Alice’s Wonderland in Greeley. Sign up today for FREE at!

Get Away From it All with a Spring Hike on Big Lake Trail at Lacawac Sanctuary

Photo courtesy of Lacawac Sanctuary.


Bring the camera along for incredible lake views and plenty of wildlife.

If you’re yearning to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, look no further than the enchanting Lacawac Santuary. A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts in the heart of Northeastern Pennsylvania, this breathtaking preserve spans 545 acres and boasts stunning lake views, picturesque trails, and forests teeming with wildlife.

Since its establishment in 1966, Lacawac Sanctuary has served as a center for “Research, Education, and Preservation” as stated by their mission statement. The cherished landscape has been the site of world class scientific research, exciting educational programs, and natural resource conservation, including its designation as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.


Photo courtesy of Lacawac Sanctuary.


An easily-accessible trail.

The Big Lake Trail begins near the Coulter Visitor Center, 94 Sanctuary Road, Lake Ariel, which is open to the public Monday-Friday 8:30 am – 4 pm. Visitors to this trail will traverse the heart of Lacawac’s property, along the shore of the “Big Lake” – Lake Wallenpaupack, and back to the Visitor Center.


Photo courtesy of Lacawac Sanctuary.


The 3-mile Big Lake Trail – a smooth and wide gravel path, traversing an old forest road.

The trail hosts a treasure trove of diverse habitats, creating homes for a wide array of flora and fauna. To begin, you will walk through a mixed hemlock and oak forest, then descend into a mixed hardwood forest. Most of this area was completely logged in the late 1800’s and periodically again in spots up until the late 1950’s.  Birdwatching aficionados should keep their eyes to the trees, as a pair of osprey can be found nesting high above the trail and Heron Pond! Once almost eradicated due to habitat alteration and the pesticide DDT, nesting platforms were implemented as a solution to restore populations in PA. Today, the osprey population is thriving and is considered a species of “Least Concern”!


Photo courtesy of Lacawac Sanctuary.


Plenty of wildlife on display.

The crown jewel of this trail is the path along the shore of Lake Wallenpaupack, an outstanding spot to view birds, animals, aquatic life and wetland plant species. Keep an eye out for a unique variety of wildlife including the wandering bog turtle, playful river otters, and the majestic bald eagle. To help you understand the environment and research taking place within Lacawac, QR codes can be found on signage along all trails. Take advantage of this great tool to reinvigorate your love for the ecological experience here!

As you make your way back to the Trailhead, consider exploring some of the other trails in Lacawac. From captivating landscapes to the stunning glacial Lake Lacawac, this preserve captures the tranquility and beauty of nature.


Photo courtesy of Lacawac Sanctuary.


Pets welcome!

Lacawac offers a variety of trail programming including guided hikes, paddles on Lake Lacawac, overnight accommodations, and other conservation programs. For more information, visit their programs calendar! Additionally, Lacawac hosts its annual 8K Lake to Lake Trail Run each October. Now in its 10th year, this highly anticipated event takes participants between Lake Lacawac and Lake Wallenpaupack using the Big Lake Trail.

Volunteers are the bread and butter of Lacawac.  Since the 1970’s, thousands of hours have been spent on habitat restoration, fundraising, education, and research, largely through the efforts of volunteers. If you are willing to meet new people, have a lot of fun, and help Lacawac grow, then their volunteer program is for you.


Photo courtesy of Lacawac Sanctuary.


The Lake Wallenpaupack area is the perfect spot to grab a drink or a bite to eat!

To fuel your morning visit, check out Black and Brass Coffee in Hamlin. This small brick and mortar in the Poconos is exponentially growing due to their freshly roasted coffee. After your hike, Drafts Bar & Grill in Lake Ariel offers a large beer menu in addition to some great BBQ and wings! For the craft beer fan, the Jam Room Brewing Company in Greentown is sure to be a summer favorite, with outdoor seating and live music on weekends. Lacawac is not too far from downtown Hawley a small town full of activity, culture and fun with an abundance of charm, shops and restaurants. You can also check out our previous trail of the month blog on the Wallenpaupack Lake & Creek trails for more ideas to inspire your visit to the area!

Thank you to Craig Lukatch, President of the Lacawac Sanctuary, for providing the details for this blog.

Featured image (top) courtesy of Lacawac Sanctuary.