Lehigh Valley is home to beautiful outdoor recreation and natural assets including hundreds of miles of greenways, trails, rivers and streams, plus thousands of acres of preserved open space. Whether you’re looking to explore on foot, by bike, or via the water, Lehigh Valley gives you plenty of chances to connect with nature. The South Mountain Preserve in Emmaus is one of nine preserves owned and managed by Wildlands Conservancy, giving locals and visitors a chance to appreciate and understand the natural resources around them. It contains nine miles of mountain biking, trail running, and hiking along nine trails on South Mountain in Emmaus, PA.
South Mountain Preserve
In 1973, South Mountain gave rise to Wildlands Conservancy’s mission as the organization’s first land acquisition. The preserve boasts more than 350+ acres of woodland trails, pronounced rocky outcroppings and unique vistas tucked into an otherwise urban landscape. South Mountain Preserve is considered part of the 750-acre Robert Rodale Reserve, an important natural area in the region. Trails are accessible for hikers, pet owners, trail runners, birdwatchers, mountain bikers, and other passive recreation.
The first permanent European settlements on the mountain were founded by the Moravians, Germanic missionaries, who settled in areas with permanent sources of flowing water. The water sources were springs and streams fed from the mountainside, which flowed reliably even in dry periods. Much of the drinking water in the surrounding communities is still sourced from South Mountain springs, streams, and wells. This aspect of the mountain makes conservation efforts of vital import to the surrounding communities who rely upon the unpolluted waters of the mountain.
Wildlife found in South Mountain Preserve:
South Mountain provides habitat for endangered bat species, and shelter for rare insects and amphibians. A large variety of interior forest dwelling birds are found on the preserve. Notable species include Scarlet Tanagers, Cerulean Warblers, Pileated Woodpecker, Veery, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Worm-eating Warblers, and Ovenbirds.
Plant Life found in South Mountain Preserve:
The preserve serves as a green oasis rising above the urban areas of the Lehigh Valley, proving a stronghold for five plants of special concern. The preserve is a large portion of the South Mountain Natural Heritage Area and contains an exemplary natural seep community. The forests are a blend of Red Oak, Tulip, Maple and Beech, with some stands of over 100 years.
About Wildlands Conservancy:
Since 1973, Wildlands Conservancy has worked to protect and restore critical natural areas and waterways and educate the community to create a legacy of a healthy, sustainable, environment for future generations.