D & L Trail - Black Diamond Trail (Mountain Top-White Haven)


D & L Trail - Black Diamond Trail (Mountain Top-White Haven) Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Luzerne
Length: 9.2 miles
Trail end points: Near the N. end of Main St. (White Haven) and Lake Rd. at Pine Ln. (Mountain Top)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6123162
Trail activities: Fishing, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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D & L Trail - Black Diamond Trail (Mountain Top-White Haven) Description

NOTE: This section of the Delaware and Lehigh (D & L) National Heritage Corridor is now open, but there is a short gap in the trail at Glen Summit pending private property access. Trail users are advised to use the Black Diamond Trailhead to access the trail south of Glen Summit and the Mountaintop Trailhead to access the trail north of Glen Summit.

This segment of the D & L Trail extends from White Haven to Mountain Top and is locally known as the Black Diamond Trail. The crushed stone trail offers terrific scenery, showcasing Pennsylvania's forested hills, secluded natural areas, wildlife and pleasant communities. Future plans call for continuing the D & L Trail north from Mountain Top to the Seven Tubs Nature Area east of Wilkes-Barre.

Parking and Trail Access

In Mountain Top access the Black Diamond Trail just south of the Mountain Top Hose Company (the local fire department) on Route 437 (Woodlawn Ave) just south of the intersection with Route 309 (N. Mountain Blvd.).

In White Haven access the trail from Route 940 (Berwick St.) by turning north onto Main Street. Take Main Street to its end; parking is on the right.

D & L Trail - Black Diamond Trail (Mountain Top-White Haven) Reviews

This is my favorite except for the first section out of White Haven to Middleburg Rd. This part needs to leveled out and fixed. Took a fall going through and haven't used it since. From Middleburg Rd. to Black Diamond is awesome. The scenery is the amazing. Love the lakes and bogs.

Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first; as others have noted, the first 1.6 mile section heading North from White Haven until you cross Middleburg Rd is pretty terrible. If you have multiple cycles at your disposal, bring a mountain bike (or at the very least a mountain-leaning hybrid) just because of this section. It is extremely rocky, sandy, and damaged with ruts. Best to take this section slow than risk a fall and ruin the rest of this awesome trail.

Now, on to the good stuff! After you cross over (and south) on Middleburg Rd, you'll arrive on a section much like the rest of the Northern parts of the D&L Trail. The terrain is easily manageable with anything other than a road bike as it is crushed stone. The scenery has many interesting features as you travel North, including heavily wooded areas, more open pastures, a small bridge, multiple ponds, a large and beautiful lake with picnic tables and benches in increments along it's edge, and even a little bit of more winding sections near the Northern terminus.

The entire trail has about a 2% grade while traveling North, which is especially noticeable if you are used to most other Rail-Trails that tend to be entirely flat or less than 0.5% grade. This provides a nice challenge for the legs that you wouldn't get on the other sections of the D&L trail. The other side to this, is it provides an exhilarating return trip to White Haven, potentially cutting your return time in half from your trip to Mountain Top! Just remember to slow down and be careful through the final 1.6 miles on the approach to White Haven. Enjoy!

Rode the northern section of the trail, from the parking area in Mountain Top to Middleburg Road, which was about 8.5 miles according to my GPS. Trail condition is great, mostly smooth double track. The elevation grade is noticeably steeper than other rail to trails. Next time we'll start in White Haven, pedal north and coast all the way back down.


Scenic trail but it gets progressively rougher the farther north of Whitehaven you get. Do not recommend for casual biking. Does not appear to be maintained as of fall 2016. Lots of big rocks and soft spots.

White Haven end needs help soon. I hit soft spots and eventually went down hard. At 58 I guess I should be happy my bones are in good shape....nothing broken!

We rode this the other da compared to last year it needs some upkeep The top starting in Mountain Top was good but as you get to the end I took a bad fall.

After biking from Jim Thorpe to White Haven and back (a beautiful ride) 51.4 miles the day before, we thought we'd continue on North from White Haven. However, the trail was an unmaintained mess. Large rocks embedded in dried mud gave you the feeling of riding over the proverbial washboard while wondering how far you'd get before a tire went flat. The sides of the trail were so sandy you could easily spin out. After a mile or more of this, we gave up, turned around and abandoned the trail all together.

According to other reviewers, it might have been ok if we had gotten on at the Middleburg Road access. But then it wouldn't be a through trail, and it would definitely be a shorter ride.

But really, if this is to be considered part of a larger D & L Trail, there has to be better maintenance than this.

We got on in Mt top and rode seven miles at a gradual decline. We got to a well kept RR bridge, then turned around to go back. The trip back was a workout. Whereas we coasted at 13mph going out, we worked to keep our pace at 8mph coming back. Good workout. Great scenery. Take good bug spray - couldnt stop because the biting flies were too bad. Picnic tables and benches along the way, although they are almost overgrown.

This is a very nice trail and has been up graded in the past year or so. I toke the Train from Jim Thorpe. The ride up to Mt Top you can feel the elevation change, not bad but it is there. The Surface is in very good shape and is family friendly. I almost never give out five stars so four is a very good grade by myself. Talked to a couple of locals and there are plans to extend this trail over to Seven Tubs. I had a great ride on a great fall day and then rode down to Jim Thorpe. If you have not done the Gorge Trail it is a must.

Finally biked the trail from the mountain Top trail head (on 437, south of Glen Summit)to White Haven this summer. This is a smooth crushed stone trail that is noticeably downhill from the Mountain Top end, and a very easy ride because of this. Coming back might make you work a bit, but it is still a nice ride. There are rest areas every mile or so for you if you need it. These are picnic tables, there are no toilet or refreshment facilities at any point along this section of trail other than the shops in White Haven.
Coming from Mountain Top there are some single track trail which branch off the official trail, as well as some Game Land roads. The trail was not mowed from the trail head until just north of Moose head lake, but is quite passable. From Moose Head till the south end of the Mack property it has been mowed. The trail then becomes rather disappointingly overgrown till Middleburg Road, just north of White Haven.
Sights to see along this stretch are a freestanding rock structure just north of the pipeline crossing, Moose Head lake, and an overhanging rock shelter a little south of the lake. The surrounding property south of the lake is mostly private. This section is about 10 miles.
Once you reach the Middleburg Road parking area, (it is a rather small area), the trail makes an abrupt left onto the road, across the RR tracks and then right onto the old RR bed. It was not well maintained here, being black ash and some stone ballast. It was smooth for the most part but some rutting and bumpiness will be encountered. You can follow this section for about a mile into White Haven, where there are bike shops as well as some restaurants and convince stores. You can pick up the trail south of White Haven to Jim Thorpe.

Take your time and enjoy the sights, take a tangent off the beaten path if you dare, the game land roads are passable, but not intended as comfort bike trails, so will be rough in spots. Travel them at your own risk.

I started this trail today from the White Haven trail head and headed north. The first ~1.5 miles are bumpy in spots and have some ruts here and there. After about 1.5 miles you come to a road and there are no signs to point you to where the trail continues on the other side (I found out later you need to turn left onto the road, cross the railroad tracks, then at the end of the guardrail on the right side there is a small parking area - the trail continues here). The only 2 good things about this section are 1. the trail head is easy to find (there are no facilities, though) and 2. it's all shaded. Until they improve this, the only reasons to do this section are merely to say you've done it or to get to the Lehigh Gorge trail in White Haven.

Since it was only ~1.5 miles and I didn't feel like searching for and possibly not finding where the trail continued, I went back to my car and drove to the northern trail head in Mountain Top. This trail head was also easy to find and also has no facilities. From here it was smooth sailing for 8+ miles - the trail is crushed stone like the Lehigh Gorge trail, you pass some nice scenery, including a pond about halfway, which is a nice place to stop for a rest. There are picnic benches +/- tables roughly every mile or so. After about 8.5 miles you come to a little parking area and a road - turn left onto the road, cross the railroad tracks, and then turn right to follow the trail again - this is the bumpy and rutty 1.5 mile section into White Haven.

Aside from the crappy 1.5 miles section, this trail is really nice (5 stars when they fix that section). There is a noticeable down grade going south. It's pretty much a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of shade vs. full exposure. There is no water and no bathrooms anywhere on the trail or at the trail heads.

To get to the Lehigh Gorge trail, you can get onto Main St from the White Haven trail head (Main St. dead ends at this trail head), cross 940, go past the strip mall with the ice cream place and the pizza place, and you're at the top of the Lehigh Gorge trail. It's just a couple blocks.

We set out north from White Haven and had to turn back after about a mile. Trail was in crummy condition...lots of big rocks, not flat/smooth at all. Ruined the day of riding. They shouldn't promote this as a biking trail until they fix it.

BTW, going south from White Haven, there's also a bad spot for about a mile, until you get to the tannery, and then it's lovely the rest of the way.

We started at the Mountain Top trailhead. It was clearly marked, though the grass and weeds were waist high in some spots. We rode for about 20 minutes until we came to a road, maybe Johnson Street in Mountain Top? And the trail ended near the Pennsylvania American Water Property. There was a continuing trail in the Lackawanna forest, but it was made of large stones and difficult to ride on. We followed it for about 15 minutes, but it because so overgrown we could no longer follow the trail. Any advice? Other reviewers wrote about trail markers - we saw none. Will try it from the White Haven end next time and try to make our way to Mountain Top.

I've cycled this trail many, many times with friends over the years, hopping a shuttle (with bikes) in Jim Thorpe for the hour long ride to Whitehall and starting there. The trail is well maintained! We just did this last weekend (mid-July 2015), and about 1/3 of the ride to JT, we all just missed running over a RATTLESNAKE! Aside from the relief that none of us hit it and got bitten, it was the highlight of the day, watching it cross the trail from the river side, and slip into the woods, rattling loud as it went! They are common in these areas in summer, so it just makes sense to keep an eye out. Crushed cinder assures riders that they can pretty much never 'coast or rest'. So after a couple of hours, you are still working it. Pacing and stopping at all the wonderful historically marked spots and waterfalls breaks it up and makes it a bit easier. We always pull into Jim Thorpe, eat dinner, walk around and head back to the Philly area. One of the best PA rides around! We are so lucky to live in PA.

Question: I'd like to travel this trail round trip, beginning at White Haven. However, I've read info on two different trailheads: one off Middlebrook Road over one mile north of White Haven; one at the north end of Main St. within White Haven. Can someone clarify the exact location of the White Haven trailhead? Thanks

Rode this new section of trail Memorial Day and wrote the "Bucket List Trail" review. Revisited it today Sept. 7. My wife and I were shocked at how much the trail, from marker 4021 to the mid-point of the trail, has deteriorated. It appears that the trail is now half its former width and weeds have reduced the once wide trail to two paths with high weeds in the center. It looks like the trail has not been cut or sprayed in this area for the entire summer! I usually write positively about the many trails we have visited, but the dramatic changes we observed, in only three months, have us concerned that this once beautiful trail will only be a sad memory in the next year or two.

How to get there:

Skip the Mountaintop trailhead near the fire company. It's short and the trailhead is unsigned. And, at the southern end, there's a trail gap at Glen Summit. There's no easy way to bypass the gap; you have to take a steep section of Rt. 437. No good.

Instead, start at the trailhead on Rt. 437 past Glen Summit. Traveling south, it's on the left after the Church Rd. intersection. Traveling north, it's on the right after the Tunnel Rd. intersection. There's an awesome, huge red sign that says "D&L Trail: Black Diamond Trailhead." Can't miss it. Really professional looking. That's where the parking lot is, too.

From here, the trail is pretty great. It's virtually all downhill to White Haven at a very slight grade (1%-ish). Trail surface is wide, smooth, and hard. The gravel is much thinner up here than at Glen Onoko (where it has a quicksand-ish feeling in parts). There are regular mileage signs, picnic tables.

My wife and I rode the entire trail(on our tandem) on Memorial Day, out and back. Truly an outstanding addition to the D&L Trail. Started from White Haven parking area. The first mile and a half is in need of work (mud, grass etc.). But once you reach marker 4021 on the map it's clear sailing to Mountain Top. Some outstanding views and a wide well-groomed trail for the next 7 1/2 miles. Don't miss this new trail addition. Lots of friendly people. A great day. Pa. Tandem Team (new combined age is now 133 yr. and counting!). Roger

We are from Mountaintop and just found out about this new trail. So tried it out Memorial Day Weekend. GREAT place to walk! Will have to next try our mountain bikes there. Can't wait to see it in the Fall!
Problem is people are coming to walk and bringing their dogs which is fine. I bring my small ones. BUT, some stupid idiots are leaving their BIG dogs loose and running all over. Yesterday, May 26, a stupid young couple had this BIG dog running loose all over chasing people. We had our SMALL terrier on its leash and this BIG dog came after it. He also went after some girls jogging. My husband had to kick it in the mouth to get it away!!! Stupid owners just called it never came to get the dog!
If you walk here I recommend everyone to carry pepper spray or bear spray with them. We are going to anymore. PLUS I am going to buy a pellet gun and believe me WILL shoot any dog that attacks us in the mouth and face! Now I know why some people are carrying large sticks and concealed guns. Have to with these STUPID owners leaving their dogs loose. Already got attacked twice in Nescopeck State Park. Believe me it will not happen again. The dog WILL go down! People have no consideration for others. Otherwise this trail is great for older people who want to get out and get exercise and walk. Just remember to be prepared for these loose dogs if you know what I mean!

Is this section open yet?

We bike this trail a lot and absolutely love it. They have added picnic tables and it's never crowded. We also have gone into White Haven and picked up the trail to go into Jom Thorpe! Great afternoon and trip!

Mountain biked the 4 miles from the Trailhead at Rt. 437 south of Glen Summit to Moosehead Lake. The scenery is great, there is a picnic table about every mile and the surface is gravel/sand packed down almost like concrete. You'll coast all the way to the lake and pedal all the way back. I'm nearly 60 years old and I hadn't been on a bike for about 40 years but I had no problem pedaling back though I worked up a little sweat.
Next time I'll start from White Haven and travel toward Mountain Top and see how far I can get before coasting back.

We rode this trail from Middleburg Rd north to Rt 437 yesterday (Oct 1). If you have never ridden this trail, now would be a great time to experience it. The foliage was beautiful but probably not quite at its peak. Good news - there are now 8 picnic tables (approximately 1 every mile). Still no restroom/port-a-potties. Definitely recommend starting at White Haven rather than Glenn Summit because of the grade; great return trip after pedaling all the way up.

The connector from White Haven to Middleburg Rd is definitely a challenge unless you have mountain bikes - we tried it earlier this summer. We would recommend that you start at the Middleburg Rd parking lot outside White Haven. To get there, head north from White Haven on Towanda Street (Towanda runs parallel to Main; 1 block to the west of Main). Very shortly, Towanda becomes Middleburg Rd. The parking lot (unmarked) is on the left 1.5 miles from Rt 940 in White Haven. If you've crossed the bridge you've gone too far.

The trail is very well maintained and is a great new addition to the D & L Trail system. Enjoy your ride.

Rode the trail several times now. Found it a lot easier starting at Middleburg Road and ride to Glenn Summit - this way you have the uphill first & coast down going back. It seems as though the weeds are starting to take over the trail - hopefully they will be trimmed. Can't wait to ride when the leaves start to change their color. The scenery is great. The trail would be a 5 star if there were benches & bathrooms along the route.

Rode the trail from the new Black Diamond trailhead, south of Glenn Summit on Rte 437, all the way down to Rockport. The new section is absolutely gorgeous!! Looks like they are getting ready to install some benches or picnic tables along the trail. NOTE: See directions others have posted about where the trail continues after crossing Middleburg Road (paved road).

After biking from Middleburg parking lot white haven to 437 parking lot my wife needed to use a bath room. Would be nice to have positioned porta pottys at 437 parking lot.

Had there been a few picnic tables or benches I would give this a 5star review. The trail is crushed stone from the parking lot at Glen summit to Middleburg road. There are no signs to the trail at that point. We crossed over the road and found a dirt path below the railroad track that took us into White Haven.That was a bit rocky in one area. There are D&L mile marker signs every .5 miles along the paved trail, but no posts as to distance to White Haven, Tannery,Rockport,etc. Just keep in mind there is an uphill grade going back from Middleburg road to the parking lot! Place some benches or picnic tables & this will get a 5 star rating! I look forward to biking it again soon. The nearest "facilities" are in White Haven.

I rode the new trail last evening. Great Ride - had a hard time figuring out where the parking lot was. The parking lot is 4.5 miles down on 437 off of 309 in Mountain Top - it will be on the left - you can't miss it. The trail goes approx 10 miles then ends (with no signs as to where to go from there). To continue on, cross the 2 lane road, turn left and turn right to the left of the rail road tracks - if you get to the red, white & blue building, you passed it. The trail continues along the left of the rail road tracks. It is narrow for a little way then opens up. The trail gets a little rocky then gets better. You will end up in White Haven then you can continue on to the Lehigh Valley Gorge Trail & ride to Jim Thorpe. I'd like to see some picnic tables along the way to take a break & enjoy the scenery. I'd also like to see some distance signs to the parking lot and White Haven. Watch out for deer!

We're new to mtn biking and love it. The only issue we have is the lack of signage from Bear Creek road to the last part of the trail to White Haven. It is esp. confusing since there appears to be a path right across the road from the 1st section. You need to bear left, cross the RR tracks and the trail resumes right next to tracks

Actually, I haven't experienced this trail yet, but love the White Haven to Jim Thorpe trail. As far as Black Diamond trail, I'm confused about the specific route from the Mountain Top Hose Company to the trail proper south of Glen Summit. I don't want to begin a bike journey from Mountain Top to White Haven and not be able to clearly traverse Glen Summit. Thanks for any clarification and specific instructions that other trail users can provide. Thanks!

The trail that takes you from rte 309/437 near the Mt top hose company. trail runs about 1.5 miles to Johnson St till it is cut off unfinished till Glen Summit. There is a section of this trail near homes and at the end by Johnson st. So far seen that those on this trail have been courteous but, because of residential homes so near this trail there are pets that may be loose with their owners. So ask that you take your time so that you are not being chase by dogs if loose. They promise some kind of privacy for us residence and have not seen it yet. So until then just want to make you hikers and bikers aware that if you are afraid of dogs it may not be wise to travel this section of the trail. The pets are monitor and are on restaints most time but there are times that when they see hikers they can bolt from the homes.

This is the agreement of this trail to be behind our homes that we do not have to put out of our pocket expense for the trail a fencing privacy.

Enjoy it but respect as you travel through this area about 400 yards. The trail is beautifully done. Enjoy.

Great ride from Mountain Top to White Haven this trail is awesome had a great time riding with friends and meeting other rides.

I have a hybrid bike and ride the trail from middleburg road to the parking area on Rt. 437 every day. It is 17 mile round trip. Then entire trail is smooth and awesome!

Rode from access at parking lot on middleburg Rd to new parking lot off Rt437 on top of mountain before glen summit. Trail is in excellent condition, smooth and no large stone. Approx 7.4 miles to parking lot on Rt 437, round trip almost 16 miles. I was told there are plans for a loop to go from from trail out towards Pa Turnpike at Bear Creek and back with two water crossings, but not installed yet. This trial will be very popular, I encountered approx 12 to 15 hikers and riders. Signed New 29er, Mo.

According to the D&L website blog this trail is about to be improved.

Rode trail today. Easy to find access in white haven and ride up to second large lake on left. Then, a lot of long stretches of loose large rocks and slow going. After trail beared to left and then straightened back out found a jeep type road to left. This was easily rideable down to tunnel road ( parking available), made left back to white haven. Round trip 14 miles. Nice ride!

Be prepaired from White Hwvento large lake is ok but after that be prepaired to do a lot od walking .we went 2 more miles after that isnt worth it at least not yet . A lot of ATV tracks. Stone is from old R.R. beds very loose to ride

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