December’s Trail of the Month is the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, developed and managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority. Get your tail on the trail and log your miles along the “Lackawanna River Heritage Trail” on TailontheTrail.org through December 31 for the chance to win a prize!
Not registered? Register for free to be eligible for the trail of the month prize and compete in other challenges!
Rediscover the Scenic Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail is a storied route that stretches more than 35 miles.
The trail passes through the heart of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area. The trail is tied together with mining, rail, and Native American history, a sculpture park, and accessibility to Class-A Trout waters and attracts more than 450,000 annual visitors. Many residents and visitors of all abilities use the trail throughout the year for walking and jogging, bicycling, enjoying nature, exercising their dog, and fitness activities.
The Lackawanna Heritage Valley is located amid the mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania where the waters of the Lackawanna River flow. The trail is an artery that connects more than 30 communities through Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, and Wayne Counties. The trail begins at the river’s confluence with the Susquehanna River at Duryea and Pittston in Luzerne County. It travels through Lackawanna County and joins the Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Rail-Trail in Simpson, managed by the Rail-Trail Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania. From that point, the D&H Rail-Trail extends north to the New York State border.
The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail is broken into four distinct sections of the Lackawanna Valley. A full list of current trailheads and parking areas can be found here. For the latest trail updates and information about upcoming events, please visit the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail’s official Facebook page.
The Lower Valley: A Trail of Native American Diplomacy
The southernmost section of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail connects Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties through Pittston, Duryea, Old Forge and Taylor. The trail winds through small towns in the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys where industrial activity and industrious people shaped the region you see today. Breakers, bore holes, and culm piles left from mines long since closed share the landscape with green space and wildlife that is reclaiming the future.
The City of Scranton: A Proud Past and Brighter Future Meet
Spanning more than five miles, the Scranton sections of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail offer a number of different experiences. Following the flow of the Lackawanna River, trail users can journey from a serene natural setting, through an exciting urban environment, and ultimately to a reclaimed mining site now rich in history and recreational opportunity. Between Elm Street and Seventh Avenue, the sounds and sights of the nearby city are muted by birdcalls and glimpses of abundant wildlife. The Scranton Riverwalk follows for about one mile, offering a lit pathway perfect for taking the Lackawanna Avenue Connector to downtown Scranton or staying the course along the river where magnificent murals and the views and sounds of city life are separated by the flowing waters of the Lackawanna.
The Mid Valley: Connecting Communities and the Outdoors
The Mid Valley section runs more than twelve miles from the northern border of the Marvine Colliery in Scranton to the town of Jermyn, leading trail users through Dickson City, Throop, Olyphant, Blakely, Jessup, and Archbald. Much of this area, once dominated by industry, has been reclaimed by nature and returned to the public for recreation. Old culm banks and bridge abutments offer testimony to the industrious past of the Olyphant Colliery while a Shifting Shanty, Fan House, and Oil House stand proud in Archbald marking the site of the Gravity Slope Colliery.
The Laurel Street Trailhead in Archbald features an accessible fishing pier and a self-guided historic walking tour of this corridor adds to the recreational opportunities found in the Mid Valley. This corridor is also a popular launch point for those wishing to kayak the scenic Lackawanna River.
The Upper Valley: Your Outdoor Adventure, Uninterrupted
This section of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail provides an interesting transition from the urban character and small-town charm of the trail corridors to the south to a more rural and uninterrupted outdoor experience heading north. Beginning in Jermyn, the trail travels through Mayfield, Carbondale and Simpson before meeting with the D&H Rail-Trail and continuing north for an additional 38 miles toward the New York State Border.
Much of the history of the Upper Lackawanna Valley reflects the stories of anthracite, railroading, industry, and immigration that are common across the Northern Coal Field, but the Upper Valley is home to many ‘firsts’ for the nation, including the discovery of anthracite coal, first deep underground mine, and first anthracite breaker near Carbondale and the development of “First Aid” taught to miners at the Windsor Hotel in Jermyn.
About the Lackawanna Heritage Valley
Renewal Through Preservation, Promotion & Development
The Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania and encompasses the watershed of the Lackawanna River in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Luzerne Counties. The organization is uniquely positioned as a government authority of Lackawanna County, a National Heritage Area designated by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, and as Pennsylvania’s first State Heritage Area, under the oversight of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
The organization was established as the first Pennsylvania Heritage Area in 1991 to capture the story of the Lackawanna Valley and to promote the stewardship of the region’s founding and fundamental resources — its land, its historic Anthracite coal and rail industries, and its resilient people. Since its inception, LHVA has continued to support and coordinate a diverse array of projects that preserve, promote, celebrate, and enhance the historic, cultural, and natural resources of northeastern Pennsylvania. While we aim to promote our region’s history and heritage and foster a brighter future through many projects and programs, we are best known as the developer and caretaker of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail system.
For the most up-to-date trail or event information and a copy of our latest trail map, residents and visitors are invited to visit the Lackawanna Heritage Valley office, located at 213 Railroad Avenue in Scranton. You can also download the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail Guide App at LHVA.org/app for all of the great features of the printed version, plus up-to-date developments and site histories available to access from your smartphone at any time and from anywhere.
Featured Image (top) Courtesy of Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority
Counties: Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna & Wayne
Length: 35+ Miles
Surface: Crushed stone rail bed and paved road
The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail begins at the confluence of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna Rivers in Duryea. It generally follows the Lackawanna River northward. Enjoy river scenery, historical sites and plenty of wildlife along the way.