By: Pat Kobela, Guest Blogger
Photo: Adventure Out Photography
The Delaware and Lehigh Trail (the D&L) carries hikers and bikers over historic routes that once carried coal from Luzerne County over the rugged mountains to the Philadelphia area, fueling the urban industrial boom. When it is fully completed the D&L will stretch 165-miles from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol, Pennsylvania.
Here in Northeast Pennsylvania, Mountain Top to White Haven is one of the latest sections to open on the D&L. It connects to the Lehigh Gorge Trail White Haven Trailhead and then on to Jim Thorpe. A popular local trail that many use, not only for biking, but for walking, running, trail running and dog walking. This is a quick way to grab 10 miles each way. Mountain Top to White Haven is an easy “downhill” ride and great for beginners, families and children. Be aware, on the way back it is “uphill” with a constant grade that doesn’t allow for any coasting. If you do not pedal, you will not go anywhere.
The trail has a cinder surface and runs parallel with the Lehigh River. Take a break to enjoy the river and view any kayakers and rafters. Cyclists will ride by a few lakes, cross a power line, see several hiking off-shoots as well as wooded and open areas. As you get closer to White Haven, residential homes will begin to appear along the trail. Cross the only bridge on the trail and come to Middleburg Road, just outside of White Haven. Still under construction, the road crossing allows you to maneuver close to the trail, but bikes need to be walked across the road to continue on the trail.
The last two miles on this section are muddy and grassy. The trail leads directly into downtown White Haven where The White Haven Diner, famous for its home cooking and huge burgers, as well as The Ugly Mug and Renee’s Sandwich Shop are great to grab a bite to eat just off the trail. The shopping center across Route 940 has an ice cream shop, drug store and supermarket. Check out the old train caboose that greets you as enter the shopping center. There are a few geo-caches hidden in the caboose, (But to date I haven’t been able to find any!).
Grab something to eat or an ice cream cone and turn around back to Mountain Top. Or ride through the shopping center to connect to the rest of the 25 miles to Jim Thorpe. The White Haven trail of the Lehigh Gorge Trail begins at the end of the shopping center.