Catch a Bird’s-Eye View of Eagles, Hawks and Falcons
About 18,000 raptors soar over Hawk Mountain Sanctuary each autumn.
Hike to the lookouts at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and you’ll spot dozens of raptors riding the wind. Major migration paths converge at this conservation site in Kempton, making it one of the best spots in North America to view the fall hawk migration.
Visitors from around the globe visit Hawk Mountain to watch eagles, hawks, falcons, ospreys, vultures and other birds of prey swoop and soar through the skies. But the visitors aren’t the only ones traveling far and wide. Most of the birds are gearing up for an incredible journey, with some species flying as far as South America. The mountain breezes make Hawk Mountain the perfect pit stop on their long trip.
The official “hawk watch” began on August 15 and continues through December 15. September and October are the peak times, when you might spot hundreds of birds in a day.
Bring Your Binoculars
Between the majestic birds, mountain views and fall foliage, Mother Nature puts on a dazzling display.
To score the best views, take the Lookout Trail, which leads to nine raptor viewing sites. The trail stops by the popular North Lookout, a mountaintop vista offering breathtaking views of the Kittatinny Ridge and the valleys below. On a clear day, the lookout boasts a 200-degree panoramic view that stretches 70 miles into the horizon.
Another option is the South Lookout, which you can reach from the wheelchair-accessible Silhouette Trail. You’ll be able to watch the birds in action and enjoy the views, all within an easy walk from the Visitor Center.
During the migration season, an official counter spends the day at the North Lookout, tallying the different birds that fly by. Interpreters are also stationed at the North Lookout and South Lookout to answer any questions.
A Haven for All Nature Lovers
Hawk Mountain is a year-round destination for everyone from expert birders to backyard birdwatchers to those who simply enjoy the outdoors.
As a world-class research facility and education center, Hawk Mountain turns the great outdoors into a fun, interactive classroom. During migration season, they hold special weekend programs where you can learn to identify raptors and meet live hawks and owls. They also host art exhibits, birding events, guided hikes and ecology programs throughout the year.
Hawk Mountain is also a nonprofit organization. This year, they’re celebrating 85 years of protecting birds of prey and preserving NEPA’s natural beauty. Come see why this peaceful, pristine sanctuary has captivated so many visitors over the years.
Tips to Plan Your Trip
When to Visit
The hawk watch continues now through December 15, with the peak migration in September and October. The raptor count tends to increase after a cold front or a storm sweeps through, so keep an eye on the forecast.
What to Bring
Many of the trails are rocky and steep, so wear sturdy shoes. To take advantage of the views, bring your camera and a set of binoculars (or rent a pair at the Visitor Center).
Hawk Mountain charges a small trail fee, which helps support their conservation efforts, research, educational programs and maintenance. Become a member to receive perks like free trail access.
Check Out Hawk Mountain’s Fall Programs: