Springtime breathes new life into the mountains and valleys across Northeast Pennsylvania. Trees sprout new greenery and wildflowers bloom. After a long winter, it’s one of the best times to hit the miles of trails winding across NEPA. Grab your backpack and check out these top spring hikes in Luzerne County:
Red Loop Trail at Bear Creek Preserve: The preserve is home to wildlife, like bald eagles, migratory songbirds, coyotes and black bears and is just a short drive from Downtown Wilkes-Barre. The Red Loop Trail is about 6 miles long and is classified as “difficult.” Start at the parking lot, just off Route 115, hiking the loop counterclockwise. The trail merges with other trails at a picture-perfect spot, at the top of a waterfall. Cross the footbridge to continue on the Red Loop as it inclines for beautiful views.
Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park: Heading out on this trail during the spring is a good way to skip some of the traffic that frequents the area’s most popular trail during the summer months. Often described as the best waterfall hike in the United States, this 8-mile semi-loop, which falls under the park’s “Most Difficult” category, takes hikers by 21 named waterfalls, including the 94 foot high Ganoga Falls.
Farmstead Trail and Lupine Loop at Nescopeck State Park: An easy hike along Nescopeck Creek and through grassy meadows. Be on the lookout for the variety of wildflowers in bloom along the trail during the spring months. The Farmstead Trail and Lupine Loop connect, so you can start on one and then move on to the other.
Larch Tree Trail at Frances Slocum: This 2-mile hilly loop in the northeast corner of the park takes hikers through a stretch of soaring larch trees. Be on the lookout for turtles sunning in the pond on your walk from the parking lot to the trailhead. Once on the trail watch for deer and a variety of birds.
Luzerne County Levee Trail: This paved out-and-back path stretches for 12 miles in four different sections on either side of the Susquehanna River. It’s a smooth surface perfect for walking, running and road biking while you watch for bald eagles and other wildlife as spring returns to the riverbanks. Park in Kirby Park in Kingston to view the spring cherry blossoms that bloom around the park’s pond. Hop on the levee there, before crossing the iconic Market Street Bridge and continuing on the levee in Downtown Wilkes-Barre by the campuses of Wilkes University and Kings College.
Know Before You Go
Spring can be a wet time on NEPA trails, so make sure to wear proper, waterproof footwear.
Temperatures can fluctuate throughout the season and with elevation. The mountain areas, where many trails are located, can be noticeably cooler than the valley cities like Wilkes-Barre and Pittston, so dress in layers or throw a light jacket in your pack.
Find more Luzerne County Trails here!