Trail Closure Update
The Back Mountain Trail is now open.
Trains to Trails
Three Hundred Thousand (300,000) miles of railroad track once spread like an intricately woven web across the United States connecting the tiniest towns to the largest cities and creating the framework for the largest transportation system in the world. By 1980 many lines were sold and abandoned. In 1987, President Reagan’s Commission on American Outdoors (PCAO) recommended a national system of greenways be developed. The newly formed Rails to Trails Conservancy pointed out that the backbone of the Greenways could be these railroad corridors which would preserve a colorful part of our national heritage while creating scenic byways to promote outdoor recreation and tourism. Since then, over 5000 miles of rails in many States have been converted to trails. A trans American route is underway.
In Pennsylvania, there are currently 144 rail/trails totaling over 900 miles being developed by local municipalities, State Parks, Land Trusts, County Parks and Recreation Departments, and Rail/Trail organizations. Our Trail in Luzerne County is proud to be part of this State and National program and the first County rail/trail with a segment finished!
Back Mountain Trail
The Back Mountain Trail, originally built by lumber and ice king Albert Lewis of Wyoming Valley 115 years ago, was acquired by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1887. Lumber, ice, leather goods and anthracite coal were milled, tanned, mined and routed to urban markets and steel mills from the Endless Mountains and Susquehanna River Basin well into the 1940s. The corridor fell into disuse in 1963.
In 1996 the Anthracite Scenic Trails Association acquired easements and recorded deeds with Luzerne County for public use of the corridor. Eventually, 14 miles will be developed from Riverfront Park on the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre to Harvey’s Lake, bringing back memories and supporting a new mode of travel in the region.
Today you’ll find a 7 mile trail that cuts through scenic woodlands, complete with a meandering creek, a pretty waterfall and open fields of flowers. Bikes are welcome but there is a section of stairs about halfway point, which requires cyclists to walk their bikes to navigate. Sections of the trail run close to the highway but don’t compromise the feeling of getting away from
D & L Trail – Black Diamond Trail
The Black Diamond Trailhead offers easy access to 9.2 miles of the scenic D&L Trail as it winds its way through Wright Township and into White Haven. Along the way, you’ll find scenic ponds and bogs replete with diverse trees and wildlife. The surface is mostly crushed stone and has a steeper grade than other local trails. If you are looking for a challenge or for various activities including fishing, mountain biking, walking, and cross-country skiing, check out the D&L trail at the Black Diamond Trailhead.
The trailhead features plenty of parking, portable restrooms and maps.