We hope you enjoyed our last post about preparing your pooch for a hike and that you learned some helpful tips and tricks! In Part 2 of our Endless Mountains Hiking Series, we will share with you some of the local trails in Northeast PA that Kaitlyn has scouted for us. It is important to remember, however, that though hiking with your best fur buddy is certainly beneficial for both of you, not all hiking trails love Fido as much as we do. Always be sure to do your research before hitting the trail.
1. Elevated at 1000 feet, Lackawanna State Park is one of the most popular hiking spots in northeastern Pennsylvania. With eighteen miles of looped trails devoted solely to foot traffic, fifteen miles of additional trails open for biking and other uses and an ample water supply it is a great place to hike with your dog. The best part - if you plan on spending the day at Lackawanna, there are many options as far as things to do in addition to hiking.
Have a picnic! There are plenty of picnic tables provided.
Go Horseback Riding or Mountain Biking. However, you should be mindful if you decide to horseback as many of the foot trail bridges are not built for equestrian crossing.
Fish, Boat or Swim! The park is surrounded by Lackawanna Lake and there is also a pool at the park that is open from 11 AM to 7 PM Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.
Hunting is allowed. For this reason, you may want to keep your dog on a leash so they don’t wander off or chase something into a dangerous area. There are also signs along the park stating that while hunting is permitted, dog training is prohibited, probably for safety reasons.
Go Camping! Campgrounds and camping cottages provide those who wish to stay on site with amenities such as flush toilets, warm showers, and electric hook-ups.
Do Some Winter Activities. In the winter, visitors can cross-country ski, sled, and toboggan through designated areas of the park as well as ice-fish and skate.
2. Located not far from Carbondale, Merli-Sarnoski Park features fifteen miles of nature trails for hiking with your four-legged friend, although you must keep them on a leash. Given the park’s rural location, it’s best to bring any food and drinks you and your dog might need with you to the park. Along with the trails for hiking and mountain biking, Merli-Sarnoski Park also provides a soccer field as well as basketball and volleyball courts. The 35-acre lake is stocked with fish on a regular basis by the Fish and Boat Commission and allows ice fishing during the winter months as well.
3. While the Lake Scranton Walking Trail does not allow pets, you are very likely to see a friendly squirrel or a deer unafraid of humans passing by. This quiet and easy three-mile nature hike on a paved trail, located only a short drive from I-81, provides beautiful scenic views of the lake as you follow the path. The Lake Scranton trail is very well-traveled given its closeness to the city as well as local apartments and homes only a short distance away. You more than likely will be sharing your hike with joggers and moms spending some quality time with their little ones while pushing strollers.
4. The Pennsylvania portion of the Rails to Trails system lists many fantastic hiking spots across the state. The trails located closest to Eva’s Play Pups Countryside Dog Camp are the D&H and O&W trails, which run parallel to one another and stretch from Simpson, Pennsylvania to the New York state border. On these trails, you can catch glimpses of the Lackawanna River as well as wildlife, such as the bald eagles who nest at Stillwater Dam. You can bring your dog and hike, bike, or even ride a four-wheeler down these well-tended hiking trails. If you are a beginner or looking for an easier hike, these would be your trails. After a few minutes, once you get into the deeper part of the trail and if you’re comfortable with your dog's recall, it is safe to keep them off-leash or on a long lead. Consider bringing bottled water and snacks for yourself and your dog and also keep an eye out for wild animals which may cross your path.
5. The Keystone College Trails wind through the woods on the school’s rural campus for about seven miles, allowing for both casual hiking and a tough run. Only a half-hour drive from Scranton, Keystone College’s trail system provides a variety of terrains to chose from. The biology department even posts informational placards along the trails to identify the different flora and fauna a hiker might see along the way. There is a pretty ample water supply here for your dog, but don’t ever hesitate to bring something along for them just in case, as this hike can take up to three hours. Given the trail’s proximity to campus and the town of Factoryville, you are unlikely to encounter predators such as bears or coyotes. When you finish with your hike, you can even stop for a bite to eat at Keystone’s Giants Grill.
This list is just a start to exploring the many hiking experiences you can enjoy in northeastern Pennsylvania. Always remember to think ahead about what you might need to do or bring to prepare yourself and your pooch. And as always, be sure research any place you are going with your pup ahead of time so you can have a safe and fun hiking trip.
Article contributed by Kaitlyn Hankins