Seven Tubs – Mountaintop
This section is still in development and will move the beginning of the trail from its current location in Mountaintop to Wilkes-Barre. Although some areas may be passable with a mountain bike, walking in this area with your pooch will probably be best when the trail is completed. The proposed trail will be about 7 miles in length, and will run through a heavily wooded mountain area just east of Wilkes-Barre.
The Seven Tubs Nature area is the highlight of this part of the trail. It covers more than 500 acres, with its most distinctive natural feature being the tubs. These “potholes” were formed by flowing glacial waters over 12,000 years ago. Rare birds, mammals and more than 60 types of wildflowers abound in this area.
The terrain is easy to navigate, and is excellent for the budding outdoorsman – dog and human alike. There are even wheelchair accessible areas along the trail. Some parts of the trail can be hilly and loose moss and rocks can make some areas a bit dangerous, so use some caution in order to avoid losing your footing.
Mountaintop – White Haven
This area, known locally as the Black Diamond Trail, is completed with only a small gap in the trail at Glen Summit due to private property. This 13-mile gently-sloped trail follows an abandoned rail line through an area bursting with bogs, ponds and large trees. The trailhead is wheelchair accessible.
The ground is made of crushed stone, so make sure to have strong mountain bike tires if you ride, and be sure to carry a first aid kit – for both you and Fido. You will pass Moosehead Lake and walk through State Game Lands. Along the way, Recycled Bridge will take you across two active rail lines, so be aware of this if your dog tends to be scared of loud noises.
White Haven – Rockport
This very short section of the trail passes through the streets of White Haven. Down on Main Street, there is a completely restored Union Pacific caboose complete with railroad memorabilia. While in town, visit a local restaurant or shop to load up on supplies, and get a quick snack for you and your pet.
If you need a break from hiking, consider taking a ride along Audubon’s Lehigh Driving Tour. You can purchase a CD or MP3 audio tour to enhance your trip. Follow the 53-mile route of John James Audubon’s 1829 visit to the region, where he studied countless birds and other wildlife species. You will pass through historic towns, and enjoy interesting geological features along the way, while Fido sticks his head out of the passenger window.
If you prefer to continue with your outdoor activities, follow the trail to Lehigh Gorge State Park. This park covers more than 4000 acres, with an 800-foot high gorge being the highlight of its natural features. You and your dog will enjoy waterfalls as well as the easy 26-mile long rail-trail biking path that slopes downhill towards Jim Thorpe. If you don’t want to walk the entire 26 miles south to Jim Thorpe, you can access this park from Rockport, and cut your hiking distance down to 15 miles.
Bucks, Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon and Luzerne
Mission is to conserve public space for all to enjoy