Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch is situated atop Blue Mountain, and is one of seven hawk watch sites along the Kittatinny Ridge. This extraordinary ridge boasts 185 miles of forests stretching from the Delaware River to the Mason-Dixon Line. The ridge serves as a road map for the tens of thousands of hawks, eagles and falcons that migrate each fall.
The Audubon Society has been involved with the site since 2000, although hawk migration statistics at Waggoner's Gap date back to 1952. Hike the .18 mile trail to the top of the rocks and you will find avid bird watchers recording hawk sightings, snapping photos or just enjoying the view. There are sixteen species of birds that are counted each year, including Turkey Vultures, Coopers Hawks, Sharp-Shinned Hawks, Broad-Winged Hawks, Red Tail Hawks, Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles. Visit during the last two weeks of September for peak migration counts, where over 5,000 Broad-Winged Hawks have been spotted in just one day!
If you're not a birding enthusiast, the site is still worth the visit as it offers stunning views for a relatively short and easy-to-moderate hike. Although you'll feel totally remote standing at the peak of the rocks, you are just a short, 15 minute drive from downtown Carlisle. The vista, rising 1,535 feet above the Valley, is a gift, allowing you to unwind, enjoy the bird song of the woods and gaze out over the communities of Cumberland Valley. If you're lucky enough to enjoy repeat visits through the years, you'll be able to see a bird's eye view of how our landscape develops and changes.
It is important to note that the Hawk Watch is only open from August 1 - December 31 each year. Find more information, including links for finding current and past migration numbers, here.