Geology of National Parks, 3D and Photographic Tours
The PEEC is located within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on a Pennsylvania side of the river approximately six miles south of Dingmans Ferry (see Figure 72 on the Delaware River Valley page). The PEEC visitor center is located about a mile up Brisco Mtn. Road, a winding road that spurs off to the west of Route 209. The PEEC offers a variety of outdoor recreation and nature education possibilities, for individuals or groups (the PEEC can provide cabins and meals; call in advance: (717)828-2319). Of primary interest are several hiking trails that traverse the preserve.
The PEEC is located on the eastern side of the Pocono Plateau, an erosionally dissected upland region underlain by steeply westward-dipping Devonian strata that is locally fossiliferous. After the Wisconsin glaciers melted, the streams that drain from the upland areas haven't had enough time to scour away back the more resistant ledges. As a result, most streams that drain the Poconos region are host to beautiful cascades; several are accessible along the trails that begin at the PEEC visitor center. Be sure to pick up a park information brochure and trail guide at the visitors center, and ask about conditions of the trails before hiking.
The Scenic Gorge Trail (marked by red blazes) winds for two miles, leading to hilltop vistas overlooking the Delaware River Valley and descends via switchbacks to a series of falls along Spackmans Creek within a steep gorge with a small grove of hemlocks. The Fossil Trail, a one-and-a-quarter mile path (marked with blue blazes), begins along the road leading to the PEEC near the visitor center. It leads through forests to several outcrops of fossiliferous mudstone of the late Middle Devonian Mahantango Formation (upper Hamilton Group). Several species of brachiopods, crinoid columns, and occasionally parts of trilobites (Phacops) occur on surfaces preserved as limonite-filled molds and hollow casts (the original calcareous skeletal material has dissolved away). The fossils along the trail, as well as throughout the preserve, may be examined, but not collected.
Several exceptional fossil specimens are on display in the PEEC visitor center. Additional fossil collections are on display nearby at the Dingman Falls NPS Visitor Center (near Dingman Falls [see Figure 72]). While at the national park visitor center, be sure to walk the short trails that lead to Silverthread Falls and the more powerful Dingman Falls.
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