Back Mountain Trail


18 Reviews

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Back Mountain Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Luzerne
Length: 5.6 miles
Trail end points: Buckingham St. and Tener St. (Luzerne) and Lower Demunds Road and Terrace St. (Dallas)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031252

Back Mountain Trail Description

The Wilkes-Barre and Harveys Lake Railroad—the rail corridor that is now the Back Mountain Trail—was acquired from lumber magnate Albert Lewis by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1887. Lumber, ice, leather goods, and anthracite coal produced in the Endless Mountains and Susquehanna River Basin were transported to urban markets and steel mills well into the 1940s. The corridor fell into disuse in 1963.

In 1996 the Anthracite Scenic Trails Association, together with Luzerne County, began work to open the corridor to public use; a planned 14-mile route will eventually extend from Riverfront Park on the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre to the town of Harveys Lake. Today this 5.6-mile rail-trail winds through scenic woodlands punctuated by a meandering creek, a lovely waterfall, and expanses of wildflowers. Although sections of the trail run close to the highway, they don’t compromise the feeling of escaping into nature.

The trail currently begins at the Luzerne Creek Walk, at Buckingham and Tener Streets behind the Luzerne Fire Department. Plans are in the works for a trail connector linking this section to a segment of the Luzerne County Levee Trail at Rutter Avenue south of SR 309; the connector remains closed for development at the time of this writing, however.

After traveling northwest on the Luzerne Creek Walk for 0.3 mile, you’ll meet and cross over Main Street just before it intersects Kelly Street. The trail continues along Parry Street and past a large parking lot to the Parry Street trailhead, where you’ll find parking and a trail kiosk. This is the best place to start your journey.

Note: The Luzerne Creek Walk is the only section of the larger Back Mountain Trail that is wheelchair accessible.

The trail winds northwest briefly through dense woods; it then curves south over a small bridge and past a picturesque waterfall before heading north again through Trucksville. Here you’ll find additional parking at Carverton Road and South Memorial Highway, as well as trail-access points at Post, Carverton, and Harris Hill Roads. At Carverton Road, you access the trail on a set of stairs south of the road near where it intersects South Memorial Highway.

Continuing north, the route takes a short detour in Shavertown on local roads. Turn right onto Division Street for 250 feet, left onto North Lehigh Street for 0.2 mile, left onto Vine Street for 0.1 mile, and then right onto Shaver Avenue, which becomes North Main Street once you pass East Center Street. After going 0.5 mile, turn right onto East Franklin Street for 225 feet, and then turn left back onto the main trail. The trail continues briefly through woods for another 0.4 mile to its northern terminus at Lower Demunds Road and Terrace Street in Dallas.

In 2016 a local landowner granted an easement—later expanded to a 13-acre donation—to the Anthracite Scenic Trails Association to create a 0.6-mile loop trail near the northern end of the Back Mountain Trail at Dorchester Drive and Lt. Michael Cleary Drive. The new trail boasts a crushed-stone surface as well as several boardwalk sections; its natural highlights include wetlands, woods, abundant wildlife, and a central pond. Future plans include connecting the two trail segments as part of the larger effort to extend the Back Mountain Trail to Harveys Lake.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach parking at the southern endpoint from I-81, take Exit 170B for SR 309 N toward Wilkes--Barre, and go 0.3 mile. Continue onto SR 309 N, and go 4.4 miles. Take Exit 6 toward Luzerne, go 0.3 mile, and then turn right at a signal at the end of the ramp onto Union St. Go 0.3 mile, and turn right at a signal onto Main St. Take an immediate left onto Parry St., and look for parking immediately to your right.

Additional on-street parking is available just farther north at the Parry St. trailhead. To reach the trailhead from Main St., turn left onto Parry St., and go 0.1 mile. As you approach the trailhead, look for parking along the street immediately to your right; you can access the trail straight ahead where Parry St. makes a hard right turn.

To reach parking at the northern loop section from I-81, take Exit 170B for SR 309 N toward Wilkes-Barre. Continue onto SR 309 N for 9.6 miles, and turn right onto Dorchester Dr. Take an immediate right onto Dorchester Dr. and another immediate right onto Lt. Michael Cleary Dr. Parking is in a cul-de-sac at the end of Lt. Michael Cleary Dr. Additional parking is available just less than 0.1 mile to your left along Lt. Michael Cleary Dr.

Note that the disconnected main Back Mountain Trail segment has no dedicated parking at its northern end.

Back Mountain Trail Reviews

not a quiet trail

If you are looking for a trail with ambiance, this is not it. Unfortunately it’s placed above and next to a very busy road creating a lot of traffic noise. This trail is also not a loop, so you will have to turn around and walk back, through the noise of traffic. Probably a great trail for the local neighborhood but not one I will go back to from outside the area.

A surprise mini waterfall glen

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!

NOT a biking trail.

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.

A Family Connection

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!


A Family Connection

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.

For being so close to town, it is great!

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.

Nice Ride and picked up some geocahes

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.

Nice walk

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.

Nice trail

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.

Good trail for a bright sunny day

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.

Where is the northern end?

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.

Brought back memories

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.

Warning the bridge is out!

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.


What a great trail!

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.

Very nice quick trail

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.

Great for walking or biking

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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