Discover a Quiet Retreat for Hiking, Biking, Boating & More
Here in NEPA, you’re never too far from the forest. A short trip can take you from the heart of the city to the middle of the wilderness, and that’s just the case at Lackawanna State Park in North Abington Township. This 1,445-acre park is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Scranton.
The journey takes you down winding country roads and alongside rolling pastures. The quiet serenity is perhaps the best part about the park. You won’t find crowded trailheads or packed parking lots here—just lots of space to roam, things to see and adventures to discover. Tranquil Lackawanna Lake is a haven for fishing and boating, while 18 miles of multi-use trails welcome hikers and mountain bikers (some are even open for equestrian use).
If you’re not sure where to start, grab a park map and check out these highlights.
Lee Hill Trail
This easy 2-mile loop will give you a little taste of everything the park has to offer. The trail crosses through stately groves of trees, then meanders down toward the lakeshore for views of the water. The climbs are short and mild (just to keep you honest), but still gentle enough for a family hike with the kids.
The Lee Hill Trail is a relaxing walk on its own, or you can create a larger loop with the other nearby trails. For the easiest access, park at the small lot on Rowlands Road and take the short connector trail to the trailhead.
Frost Hollow & Snowflake Trails
These two trails create a lollipop loop in the southwest corner of the park. Despite a few short, steep climbs, the trails are generally easy and family-friendly, and the dense forest keeps them shady and cool. The fast, fun terrain is also a favorite for mountain bikers.
Make sure to stop at the dam at the western end of Frost Hollow, where the water tumbles into the South Branch of Tunkhannock Creek. Sure, it’s not a “true” waterfall, but it’s a pretty spot nonetheless. A small bridge provides the perfect spot to soak up the views.
Lackawanna Lake is open to electric motors only, which means that the water is usually calm and glassy. This 198-acre lake is a perfect, peaceful spot for kayaking and canoeing. Boat launches are available at Bullhead Bay, South Shore and the parking lot off of Route 407.
As for fishing, the lake is known for bass, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks the waters with trout. The shoreline off of Lake View Drive offers plenty of grassy, open space to cast a line, and fishing docks are available, including an accessible pier near the main boat launch. In the winter, the lake freezes over and becomes a prime spot for ice fishing.
If you’d rather stick to dry land, then try the Lakeshore Trail. It’s only about a mile long, but don’t be fooled—this short and sweet trail offers endless scenery with views of the lake and evergreen forests that look like they came out of a storybook. You’ll find the best views just east of the Kennedy Creek inlet, where a small point juts into the water.
The Lakeshore Trail is an out-and-back trip, although you can create a loop with nearby trails like Lee Hill, Bassett Path and Kennedy Creek Trail. The closest parking lots are on Cole Road and Rowlands Road.
Winter Fun at Lackawanna State Park
During the winter months, the park transforms into a scenic, snowy landscape. The frozen Lackawanna Lake hosts dozens of brave ice fishers, angling for panfish, perch and bass. The hills near the park pavilion provide the perfect location for family sledding trips. And while all of the park’s trails remain open to hikers, winter brings out plenty of cross country skiers and snowshoers. When weather permits and the ice is the proper thickness, park staff clear an area near the fishing pier just for ice skating.
Summer Fun at the Swimming Pool
The Lackawanna State Park swimming pool usually opens around Memorial Day weekend and closes for the season after Labor Day. Swimming is not allowed in the lake, so the pool is the best spot to cool off on warm summer days. There’s also a splash pad for the kids, complete with fun sprinklers and play equipment. The pool is ADA accessible and includes zero-entry points.
Countryside Conservancy Preserves
At Lackawanna State Park, the adventure doesn’t have to end at the park boundary. Countryside Conservancy owns several nature preserves nearby, including some that directly connect to the park property. Trail systems currently link the park to the Quarry Ridge Preserve, Ziegler Preserve, Gardner Spencer Preserve, Messimer Preserve and Meadowsweet Preserve.
The preserves are especially popular for mountain biking with flowy singletrack trails and epic jumps, berms and rollers. For the latest trail news and maps, check out the Lackawanna State Park Trail Crew. This all-volunteer group maintains trails at the park and preserves, keeping them clear and beautiful for hikers and bikers alike. They also work to build new trails (keep an eye out for volunteer days to come help out!).
Make a Day Trip Out of It
Come for the park, and stick around for some good, old-fashioned fun in the NEPA countryside. Lackawanna State Park is surrounded by outdoor activities, family-friendly attractions and even some farm-fresh ice cream to hit the spot after a day on the trail. Check out these cool things to do, all within five miles of the park.
Things to Do Near Lackawanna State Park:
Trolley Trail – Clarks Summit to Dalton
Clarks Summit, PA
Manning Farm Dairy
Roba Family Farms
North Abington Twp., PA
Woodlands Campus at Keystone College
La Plume, PA
Last Leg Cidery
Spring Hills Farm
North Abington Twp., PA
Trolley Trail – Keystone College to Factoryville
La Plume, PA
Waverly Community House
The Great Produce Experience Farm Stand
La Plume, PA
Waverly General Store
Article updated from its original version published on 9/13/2021.