A trip to Ringing Rocks Park in Bucks County is far from your typical walk in the park. Instead of trees, creeks and woodland creatures being the main attraction here, visitors are drawn to a unique geologic phenomenon. Ringing Rocks Park contains an eight acre field of boulders that emit a bell-like sound when hit with a hammer.
On a recent visit with my family, we found one small sign post in the parking lot marked "Trail" which began the journey. Visitors walk a short path through the woods and soon arrive at the rock field. There are a few forks on the trail but they all eventually lead to different entry points in the field. It is definitely a "wow" moment upon entering the field. My family was amazed by the vast sea of various-sized rocks wedged together forming a giant climbing adventure. We each had a different sized hammer in hand and took off exploring the rock field. We found that the boulders with the most pock marks were usually the best ringers. My children were entertained by banging their hammers on different sized rocks and hearing the distinctive sounds made by each. Some rang like bells, others like a hollow pipe.
A park ranger that we met provided some insight into the science behind Ringing Rocks Park. He explained that the boulders are made of a volcanic rock (diabase) that has a high content of iron and aluminum. These rocks broke apart through numerous cycles of severe freezing and thawing during the last Ice Age, forming the boulder field. The high metal content is what causes the rocks to ring when struck by a hammer. A park ranger that we met provided some insight into the science behind Ringing Rocks Park. He explained that the boulders are made of a volcanic rock (diabase) that has a high content of iron and aluminum. These rocks broke apart through numerous cycles of severe freezing and thawing during the last Ice Age, forming the boulder field. The high metal content is what causes the rocks to ring when struck by a hammer.
After carefully making our way across the massive boulder field, we found another trail that took us to a stream. We followed it up along layers of rock and eventually came upon Buck County’s largest waterfall. There hadn’t been much rain prior to our visit, so the waterfall wasn’t very strong, but the views were still magnificent.
Practical tips for families:
Map it: Ringing Rocks Park is located about a half hour north of Doylestown, on a scenic ride up Route 611 North. There are a few signs guiding you to the park, but it helps to have a GPS or mapped out directions to “Ringing Rocks County Park, Ringing Rocks Rd, Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972” before going.
Don’t leave home without it: Depending on the time of year, visitors may want to bring sunscreen, bug spray and water bottles. Most definitely pack a camera and various-sized hammers if you have them. Do not plan to hold loose items in your hands because you will want your hands free for climbing the rocks. A backpack worked best for me. My camera has a neck strap, which was convenient for snapping pictures of the kids while moving around the park.
Think on your feet: This is not a day for flip flops or sandals. Absolutely wear sturdy shoes such as sneakers or hiking boots.
Baby talk: Ringing Rocks Park is most definitely NOT stroller-friendly. I wouldn’t even suggest placing a baby in a carrier and entering the rock field. Navigating the rocks could be difficult for children under age four unless they don’t plan to go far into the field or the child is very adventurous. I did see a family with a toddler but he seemed content to hang out on a few rocks by the edge of the field.
Chow time: There are a few picnic tables in the parking lot for families who want to pack a lunch but this isn't an all-day trip. We only spent two hours here which included a long hike around the exterior of the rock field to the waterfall.
When nature calls: There was one Port-a-Potty in the parking lot and that is the last restroom that I saw. Best to go first!
If all that hiking has made you hungry and you didn’t pack a lunch, I highly recommend a stop at MOO, about a five minute drive from the park. The clean, modern décor was a welcome sight after a strenuous morning outside. All of the food is locally sourced and the hamburgers and fries were delicious. Be advised, however that they don’t accept credit cards. An ATM is onsite.
Although we ate a big lunch, my family couldn’t resist a stop at oWowcow Creamery, just up the road from MOO. I had heard great reviews about their ice cream with all natural ingredients from local farms, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. With unusual flavors such as honey lavender and strawberry cava cream, we had a hard time choosing. They offered samples, so everyone was thrilled with their ice cream selection. It was a great way to end a tiring hike with a sweet treat.
4010 Durham Road
Ottsville, PA 18942
4105 Durham Road
Ottsville, PA 18942