Back Mountain Trail


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Back Mountain Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Luzerne
Length: 5 miles
Trail end points: Parry Street (Luzerne) and Franklin Street (Shavertown)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031252
Trail activities: Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Back Mountain Trail Description

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. 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 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.

Back Mountain Trail Reviews

June 13. Started Luzerne trailhead. Slight incline good trail. Lots of benches along trail. At 1 mile mark a glen with small falls. A fun hike I did it. Lots of Mt laurel. Pass some pretty cottages near the steps. Steps easy to navigate large wooden deck type but you can push your bike beside steps. Subway at bottom of steps + convenience store and a great pizza place. Cross road insmall village of trucksville where 3 large banks of digitalis(foxglove) were in full bloom. Crossed Toby Creek Cool bridge. Ccontinued 2 miles til trail end at stop sign. Easy coast back to car. Loved it!

The first 3/4 of a mile the trail is very fine stone from edge to edge, after that the trail gets rough. We had to walk the bikes through what looked like a stream crossing the trail. The "steps" near mile 2.25 should be noted in the official description of the trail, not buried in riders comments. There is some nice scenery on the side of the trail away from the highway, whoever even the sound of the stream rushing over rapids could not drown out the noise of the highway.

We are so grateful for the efforts of those who created and preserve this trail. My 70+ age Mom, my younger sister, her grown sons, their friends and I often meet up on this trail that connects our two homes in the area. It is a wonderful trail now preserved in our minds with memories of family walks and talks and regular opportunities to greet others and share a walk away from the asphalt. Yes, it can be loud from the highway nearby, but we are still grateful for the chance to walk along the trail with the trees and path beneath our feet. Thank you for keeping it going!


We are so grateful for the efforts of those who created and preserve this trail. My 70+ age Mom, my younger sister, her grown sons, their friends and I often meet up on this trail that connects our two homes in the area. It is a wonderful trail now preserved in our minds with memories of family walks and talks and regular opportunities to greet others and share a walk away from the asphalt. Yes, it can be loud from the highway nearby, but we are still grateful for the chance to walk along the trail with the trees and path beneath our feet. Thank you for keeping it going!

My 8 year old son and I biked this trail just today. Maybe I am spoiled but I thought the trail was close to the highway and way to loud for me to enjoy. I prefer the trails along the Lehigh way better. I also will note that if you are taking a youngster with you plan to walk your bike. There were a good amount of uphill sections that were a bit much for my son.

I walk this trail with a Meetup group frequently in all seasons and weather conditions from the Knights of Columbus parking lot to the water fall and back, which makes for a nice 2 mile walk (round trip). I have walked all the way to the stairs at Trucksville, and the first 1.5 miles or so from the parking lot are nice, but at about that point, the rest of the trail has too many roots and other roughness for my liking.

The sound from the road can be tuned out for the most part, and the waterfall is definitely the highlight.

In the winter the trail can get a little icy, so some traction devices on your feet can help you to stay safe. This seems to be more of an issue for the upper half of the trail. Once recently, we noticed that someone even cleared the lower half with a snow blower. I would like to express my thanks to whoever did that. :)

This has a slightly steeper grade than other rail trails I have been on, but it is still pretty flat.

I definitely prefer the Lehigh Gorge, but with the proximity, this is a nice trail to fill the time between trips down to Rockport.

It's a nice but could use a little maintenance. Couple places the roots, old rail ties made it rough enough I thought it better to walk the bike though. I should have counted those steps at Trucksville. whew! Point of information: There is about a 500' elevation difference from beginning to end.

My husband and I took our two big dogs along the trail..we went to about the 2 mi mark..very nice, easy walk..just to do something. Will be going back for sure! A little noisy from the highway but easy to tune out.

My husband & I rode this trail on Saturday and really enjoyed it. This was out first ride in several years. It was well-maintained & shady. You will need some strength to push (or carry) your bike up and down about 40 steps in Trucksville. I do want to caution that even though it looks level, there is a constant incline when you start at the Luzerne trail head that made the ride rather difficult for me (having not ridden in several summers). We will ride there again.

This is a good trail for a bright sunny day, lots of noise from the highway below though. Not a trail to go on to listen to nature, but a decent short trail for a quick ride, run or walk. For those of you who are wondering about the bridge comment in a prior review, not to worry, the bridge is there.

There are a few sections that are narrow where water runs off down the steep upper bank and over the trail continuing down to the highway area below. I wouldn't recommend starting the trail if there is any chance of heavy rains as some parts of the trail would look like the rapids of a river, not something you want to get stuck in.

Overall it's okay, too bad it wasn't longer.

We hiked part way from Luzerne but it got dark and we could not finish the trail.

Where exactly does the Back Mountain Trail end at its northern end?

For a possible pick-up next time, we tried to find the northern end to see where we would be. We drove around the local area of Lower Demunds Road, where the site says the trail ends, but could not find the trail's terminus.

I hiked this trail with family only two weeks ago. Even on a chilly day, there were others hiking too.

I hiked this route back in the 1960s with my aunt and cousins from Luzerne. That was before it was a formalized trail. We'd say we were hiking to "Wildcat Creek" (that creek/waterfall you see on the right about a mile from Luzerne).

Glad to see the trail is being kept up and has been expanded. Unfortunately, that huge new tank on the left coming from Luzerne sticks out like a sore thumb.

I just got on a bike after a long lay off (8 years) I had a accident earlier this Summer, broken Tibia Platoe and destroyed knee joint, so I chose a mountain bike and easy trails to try and get back in shape, and as therapy, just started walking 3 weeks ago.
The first trail I tried back mountain trail because it was close, nice packed surface, although from the Luzerne side it is a uphill grade.
About a mile in the bridge is out! very disappointing, I had to turn around and head back to the truck. Being that the shape my knee is in, I couldn't carry the bike down the side of the crick bed and up the other side. Anyway I just wanted to give everybody a heads up, they are working on it, there was equipment there.


I have been walking this trail for a few years now with my collie, Kody. It's a easy trail to walk. It's quite cool on a hot day with all the shade. It would be nice if steps were put in in Trucksville instead of having to climb the steep hill. That is the only thing I would change. I also started walking the other trail off of Harris Hill Rd. It's a much shorter trail, nice for a quick walk, although it's not finished.

Most of thise trail runs right above a main highway, so it's not as secluded as most rail trails. But otherwise it is very nice, and has a country-like setting. The creek that runs next to it can be very scenic, and the waterfall on the trail is wonderful. There are lots of little waterfall-like areas, and the associated muddiness and trail damage, so it might be annoying for a bicycle. I found it great for a run. There appears to be no nice parking at the Trucksville end. There is a lot of commercial businesses (with no parking signs), and a church though, so there has to be something that can be found by a trail hiker. The trail in Trucksville can be accessed via the parking lot at the Trucksville Fire Department, right near the main road.

This is a great trail for walking or biking. My family enjoys getting out for a little break from time to time. Thanks for all the hard work the volunteers put into this trail.


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