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 4.5-mile trail that cuts through scenic woodlands, complete with a meandering creek, a pretty waterfall and open fields of flowers. Sections of the trail run close to the highway but don't compromise the feeling of getting away from it all.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the Back Mountain Trail from I-81, take Exit 170 onto State Route 309 North. Take Exit 5/6 and drive north on Main Street to a four-way stop sign. Continue straight ahead onto Parry Street. There's parking at the Knights of Columbus lot. Walk up to the Gateway to the Back Mountain Trailhead.