Each month, Get Your Tail on the Trail’s Northeast Pennsylvania chapter will share a Trail of the Month to explore. This month, we’re featuring the Front and Back Nine Trails at Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Log your miles on tailonthetrail.org at the location “Cherry Valley NWR” through April 30 to be entered in a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card from Dunkelberger’s in Stroudsburg. We will also be launching our Monroe County badge and giving away a gift card to one lucky winner who completes the badge during the month of April.
Mark your calendars for our next 165-Mile Challenge, starting May 1, 2022, and ending November 7, 2022. Register online and log 165 miles—the length of the D&L Trail upon completion—during this time period to earn a fitness incentive! Past incentives have included insulated mugs, t-shirts and more. Share your trail selfies on social media with #GetYourTailOnTheTrail.
Experience the Wonders of Spring at Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge
One of three National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in Pennsylvania, Cherry Valley NWR is a must-see local gem. Nestled near Stroudsburg in Monroe County, the 5,000-acre site was established in 2008 to protect wetland and upland habitats for several species of migratory birds, federal trust species and even a few endangered species.
The refuge consists of several large blocks of unfragmented forest throughout the region. Two of the properties offer trails and kiosks. The most fascinating feature, the Front and Back Nine Trails, are located on the site of a former golf course at 2138 Croasdale Road in Stroudsburg. Each of the paved trails are 1.7 miles long for a combined 3.4 miles. They previously served as paths for golf carts, making this site accessible to all. Pets are not permitted due to the potential disturbances to sensitive wildlife.
When you arrive at the visitors center, you’ll find ample parking next to the trailhead on the right. From here, check out the kiosk for updates, maps and general information about the refuge.
The Back Nine Trail will take you on a 1.7-mile loop behind the visitors center. One of the first notable features is the bridge crossing Cherry Creek, a beautiful waterway full of fish and amphibians. Anglers are permitted to fish along Cherry Creek with a valid PA fishing license and a free day-use fishing permit for catch-and-release fishing. The refuge only gives out three permits per day, so make sure to plan ahead.
After crossing the creek, you’ll hike through meadows and pollinator fields where you can spot singing birds, fluttering butterflies and colorful plants. Along the trail, you will also notice informational signs about the ecology and species of the area.
The loop comes to an end at the back of the visitors center, where you can also find a restroom facility. Here, you can end your hike or switch to the Front Nine Trail, a 1.7-mile loop covering the front of the property. Again, you will cross streams, meadows and fields with informational signage. The trail also passes wetlands where you can spot turtles, birds and amphibians. Take a seat on one of the many benches along this trail and soak up the peacefulness of the preserve. You’ll find a perfect spot to draw, paint, journal or simply connect with nature.
No matter what time of year you visit, the dazzling number of species at the refuge provides great opportunities for wildlife watching. In spring, you can witness birds arriving from winter migration, awakening reptiles and lively streams. Along the Kittatinny Ridge is an active flyway where visitors can spot up to 20,000 migratory raptors and more than 140 bird species every autumn.
The park often schedules guided tours where you can experience a peaceful walk with knowledgeable staff or volunteers. For announcements about guided events, like and follow Cherry Valley on Facebook. There are also volunteer opportunities to get involved. Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something that you love.
One of the largest threats facing wildlife refuges across the United States is the presence of non-native invasive species. Often, non-natives are brought to the US from other countries and are spread through lumber trade, animals or even visitors’ shoes! Some of these non-native species become invasive, harming native species by outcompeting them for sun, nutrients and water. Do your part to minimize the spread of invasive species by using the shoe scrub station on the property before you hike. Learn more about invasive species and how you can prevent the spread with DCNR.
Things to Do Near Cherry Valley NWR
While you’re in the area, be sure to stop in Stroudsburg for some food and fun! After your hike, relax with a glass of wine at Eagles Rest Cellars. The beautiful winery and vineyard offers outdoor seating and plenty of events to keep you coming back. Then, head to Stroudsburg and take a walk along Main Street to enjoy local shops for outdoor gear, organic beauty items, books, games, candy, wine, cider and more. Stop by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau on Main Street to learn more about places to visit or check DiscoverNEPA for attractions and restaurants in town.
After you’ve wined and dined, check out the upcoming schedule for the Sherman Theater. This historic theater has served the community since 1929, featuring nationally recognized artists in a beautiful venue. You can also try your luck at Klues Escape Room. When your evening comes to an end, consider staying overnight so you can explore the nearby Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area the next day. There is no shortage of things to do in this region, so do your research and enjoy your weekend!
About the National Wildlife Refuge System
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth. The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Thank you to Jared and his staff at Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge for providing information for this blog.
Address: 2138 Croasdale Rd., Stroudsburg, PA 18360
Surface: Paved trail, mostly level or low gradient
Accessibility: This trail is accessible for wheelchairs.
Pets: Pets are not allowed, but service dogs are permitted.
Trail Connections: Parts of the 9/11 Trail travel through Cherry Valley NWR.
For more information, visit the refuge’s website and Facebook page.