When I’m traveling, I’m always on the lookout for new waterfalls and fun hiking trails to check out. So, when I discovered the Hassen Creek Nature Trail near Allentown, I knew it was a spot I needed to check out.
It’s worth noting that this area is sometimes listed as the “Hassan” Creek Nature Trail, but both the official park website and the sign in the parking lot say “Hassen”, so that is the spelling I’ve decided to go with here.
While the trail here is less than a mile out and back, it’s a great spot for a hike that goes past some concrete ruins, several historical signs, and ends at a man-made waterfall. There’s definitely a lot to see here in such a small area.
Parking for the Hassen Creek Nature Trail
The parking area for Fogelsville Dam Park and the Hassen Creek Nature Trail can be found along Hilltop Road, a short distance east of Route 100 and about 20 minutes from downtown Allentown.
This gravel parking area can be found at the following coordinates: 40.600040, -75.629340.
The parking area isn’t large but can accommodate a handful of cars. Make sure to use caution when entering and exiting this parking area as sightlines aren’t the best on Hilltop Road.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
Hiking the Hassen Creek Nature Trail
The Hassen Creek Nature Trail starts at the yellow gate which marks the trailhead for the hike.
Beyond this gate, the trail quickly climbs a short but somewhat steep hill through a beautiful woodland. The trail for the entire hike is around 4-6 feet wide and is very easy to follow.
Along the path, you may notice side trails branching off. Given that there seems to be no map for Fogelsville Dam Park, the trails didn’t seem to be blazed, and I was heading specifically towards the waterfall at the end of the trail, I didn’t take any of these side trails.
If you opt to take them, use caution to make sure that you don’t get lost.
Shortly after cresting the hill at the start of the hike, you’ll notice the first of several historical signs along the trail. These offer nice insight into the area’s past and what the concrete foundations are that you can see in places.
According to the signs, this area used to be owned by the Lehigh Portland Cement Company, and the concrete ruins that you can see here date back to that era. The dam, which was built in 1914, was used to store water for the cement factory that once stood here.
The factory itself was in service from 1907 until 1970, but little trace of it remains other than the dam over which the waterfall flows.
(If you want to learn more about the area’s rich Portland cement history, visit the Coplay Cement Kilns north of Allentown.)
The Hassen Creek Nature Trail continues to follow the ridgeline for most of its distance, providing occasional views of Hassen Creek and the road below. However, as you approach the dam, the trail narrows somewhat and gets a bit steep.
At this point, there are actually several trails that diverge, offering you a bit of a choice of which way you go down, but they all end near the same point at the bottom of the hillside.
For those that don’t want to tackle the steep hill and get a close look at the waterfall, you can see it in the distance from the trail near the top of the hill.
Once at the bottom of the hill, the trail turns back on itself as it heads the short distance to the base of Fogelsville Dam Falls.
Within a few yards of the bottom of the hill, you’ll come to the base of the waterfall, also sometimes called Hassen Creek Falls. For those that hike with coordinates, this spot can be found here: 40.605444, -75.629189.
While this waterfall is man-made it’s quite striking in its appearance because of the trees and rocks that surround the area. While I’m not always a huge fan of dam waterfalls, this is definitely one of my favorites in PA.
The waterfall itself is approximately 12 feet in height and, at its maximum width, would be around 20 feet wide. However, on the day of my visit, it was closer to 10 feet wide.
The dam here used to be about eight feet higher, but age-related structural issues required it to be lowered a bit in 2019. This also means that the lake that once sat above the dam is no longer there, instead replaced by a meandering stream.
Take a moment to enjoy this beautiful spot in what was once a very industrial area. It’s amazing what nature can do to reclaim land like this.
Once you have finished enjoying Fogelsville Dam Falls, simply retrace your steps back up the hill for the third of a mile or so walk back to your vehicle.
Overall, the Hassen Creek Nature Trail is a great little hike that features some interesting history and a historic waterfall. That being said, because of the length of the trail here, this probably isn’t somewhere I’d go far out of my way to see.
Still, if you find yourself exploring the Allentown area or are looking for a short hike while traveling I-78 (The parking area is only a mile and a half from Exit 49), this is definitely a beautiful, interesting, and peaceful spot to explore.