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Like so many trails in this area, the Great Hazleton Rails to Trails occupies the former corridor of a railroad line that supported the local coal mining industry. After a half century of disuse, the local community has turned the corridor into a source of community pride. Today, the trail totals 7 miles in two disconnected sections. Eventually, it will be 16.4 miles and serve as a critical connection in the Delaware Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail system (known as the D&L Trail).
The western segment begins at SR 93 and SR 424 in the southeastern corner of Hazleton. Keep in mind, however, that this section dead-ends onto Beryllium Road, a decaying, old paved road that you can't find on any map. So, although the route is 4 miles, it's best to consider it an 8-mile ride out and back until the planned trail extensions are complete. It is well maintained and flat throughout, with a crushed limestone surface perfect for walking and biking. It has nice amenities, including good signs, mile markers and parking facilities with trail maps.
The trail has frequent residential access points during the first mile and you'll find locals strolling, walking their dogs or getting in a quick jog. This trail is a popular place for geocaching, a game of hiding and seeking treasures with your GPS unit. Geocaching here is best done when leaves are off the trees, given that the trail is predominately tree-lined, with most sections covered in tree canopy. If you are looking to get a little more exercise, check out the five permanent exercise stations along the first mile.
There is only one major road crossing before the 1-mile mark, and it is well signed. At about mile 2.5, the trail briefly loses its tree cover and picks up water views, as it runs alongside Drake's Creek Reservoir. At the end of the reservoir, enjoy a scenic overlook and picnic table. From here the trail winds back into the woods and is less populated than the first half. You'll see an occasional path leading into a few neighboring communities as the trail winds down and dead-ends on Beryllium Road.
The other trail segment is 3-miles long and picks up a few miles east of Hazleton. It begins on N. Lehigh Gorge Drive and heads into thick woodlands, crossing through state game lands, and ending at a connection with the D&L Trail.
From Interstate 81 on the south side of Hazleton, take Exit 141, turning right onto 4242 Arthur Gardner Parkway. Travel east about 4 miles until it dead-ends at State Route 93. Turn left at the 93 intersection. The trail entrance and parking lots are immediately on your right and well marked by a large sign.
This is one of my least favorite trails that I have ridden around the area. The first mile is actually pretty nice, it is covered in the standard crushed stone that most Rail-Trails use. This section has a few small curves and a very slight grade, as well as numerous benches, memorials, and even some exercise equipment which is a nice touch if you are out walking or running on the trail.
Unfortunately, once you cross the Stockton Mountain Rd, the terrain abruptly switches to large red rocks, grass patches, and divots throughout for the next 1.7 miles before switching back to the crushed stone from the first section. Shortly before this switch back, there is a fairly steep hill that leads up to an admittedly nice view of the Dreck Creek Reservoir before continuing down another hill on the other side. It is a real shame that this section doesn't use the crushed stone as you can gain significant speed going down either side of this hill, but you unfortunately need to be cautious due to the terrain. This small peak also has multiple picnic tables.
The next section has some beautiful rock cut areas as well as a few areas with pretty nice views. Eventually you'll veer right, away from Beryllium Rd, through a curvy part of the trail that comes out to a bridge over train tracks. If you get really lucky you might get to watch the train cross beneath the bridge.
The final portions are the main reason I don't prefer this trail. After the bridge, there is a gradual climb up to the top of a desolate hill and then a steep and usually washed out drop on the other side which abruptly ends at the Beryllium Mine Access Rd (which is still used by heavy machinery, so DO NOT just blow through it). Across that road, is a few up and down areas with deep crushed stone, slowing your speed to a slog and providing potential risk to those on anything other than mountain bikes. After a while of this, the trail just sort of ends at a back road in Jeddo.
This trail is definitely worth doing once, and I can see the appeal if you live right in Hazleton, but there are certainly much nicer trails to devote your time to in NEPA. Cheers and enjoy the ride!
boyfriend and I just finished this trail. I only have 3 complaints. 1 we didn't care for the red stone, it starts out with the crush stone then switches to this red stone, this goes for about a mile and a half then switches back to the crush stone. number 2 is the only have one porter potty in the beginning of the trail no other ones are anywhere..soo if you have to go make sure you have toliet paper lol.number 3 is that it could be longer, we rode to the end and back and it was a little over 11 miles. all in all it wasn't a bad ride, you ride up on top of the mountain and the view wasn't bad..nice breeze too all thru ride..we would ride it again :)
Upon our arrival to the parking area, a couple realized their car window was broken out and also another vehicle, too. With the help of another young couple who had seen a shady character on the trail, we were able to catch him coming off the trail. We kept him with us, called the police. After waiting too long for the police to arrive, those present were questioned. A purse that was stolen out of one of the vehicles was found and the suspect was taken away with the police. It was quite an unsettling experience. Sure hope they can get the criminal activity in the area under control. The trail itself is very nice. It is a shame some ruin it for others.
FYI - The description here says that this trail stops at Beryllium Rd, but that is no longer true. There is an extension now -- at about the 4 mile mark, the trail bends to the right (it is well-marked) and continues over a railroad bridge then through some filled in strip mines. I stopped and turned around so I have no idea how far it goes, but I was out past the 5 mile mark and the trail continued on as far as I could see.
To add some detail I didn't see here in any other reviews, the first half mile or so (starting at the parking lot on 93) is somewhat open and ever so slightly uphill with several memorial trees and plantings on either side. The trail makes a sharp bend to the right and starts going downhill through the woods. When you cross the road (shortly before mile 1), the surface turns from tiny crushed gravel to a set of lumpy dirt tire tracks with a grassy median - the stones in the tire tracks were not overly large but it was enough to feel lumpy under your feet. It continues somewhat noticeably downhill til the end of the reservoir at about mile 2.5. The hill gets a bit steeper for the next half mile or so (still going downhill) and the surface changes back to the small crushed gravel. At about mile 3.5 the trail levels out and shortly after mile 4, it crosses the railroad bridge. From there the trail starts going through reclaimed strippens so there is no more shade -- the only vegetation is those scrubby white birch trees and they aren't very tall or close to the trail. There is a pretty steep up/down hill here between about miles 4.5-5.5 -- on the day I ran it, the downhill side had several ruts where heavy rains had washed out the gravel.
Overall, this was a beautiful run especially since it is the peak of fall foliage season. I stopped several times to read the informational plaques that are placed along the way and take pictures (there are several benches placed along the trail that helpfully draw your attention to the scenic overlooks). Be aware that the hill going down does not seem particularly steep but it is a pretty steady slog uphill from about mile 3.5 to .5 -- if you are doing a long run, don't get carried away on the way out and be sure to save enough energy for the way back!
Fun for the whole family!
im so glad to have a great quite place to walk/ride with my son and our 2 dogs. We just started last year in 2014 when we got our puppy. I was very i mean very disappointed in how many people took advantage of it and dumped tons of garbage there over the winter, from tvs to tires empty big screen tv boxes, and there was dog crap entirely covering the parking lot, and i seen used condoms in the parking lot and trying to explain to my son what it was, then to find out the quads are finding their way onto the trail, such disappointment but i guess its expected being near Hazleton, we love to go there and its so relaxing to be with nature but such scum to ruin things. It so nice of the people who donated things along the trail, i just wish people would wise up and quit ruining things, and respect other people and the property, but like i said its Hazleton!!
The trail now extends for another 3 miles. The bridge over NS tracks is now open. After the the bridge the tracks originally went straight however, a large fill is there now. The rail trail continues around and on top the fill with great views from the top. Once around the fill it picks up again with the original rail bed and takes you through the woods close to Hazlebrook Road and comes to a end. You can see the bed continue on but it is unimproved. I was told there is a issue with protecting flying squirrels in the area ahead and they were waiting to see if the trail would have to be diverted another way. The new section is well packed and smooth riding. The new bridge and trail extension took alot of planning and cost. I appreciate the work done by the Greater Hazleton Rail Trail.
My Husband and I, along with our dogs, walked 3 miles of the Hazleton Rails to Trails and we were both pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness, great maintenance and natural beauty of this trail. We will be sure to return with the bikes next time.
I ran this trail for the first time today. Not only is it very scenic, it also appears to be highly maintained and clean. Obviously, users of this trail have a "take-it-in, take-it-out" mindset.
I heard about the trail years ago but finally ventured out one recent Saturday morning. I was pleasantly rewarded with a nice well maintained trail and some awesome reservoir scenery. I have since ridden the trail several times and quickly donated as this is how mountain biking should be: Safe, beautiful and fun!
I just wanted to add, that out of the trails I have been riding, this was by far the most used, and popular trail.
There were people walking, jogging, biking, walking their dogs, I felt really safe riding this trail.
Today I rode the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails, what a great scenic trail.
The first mile is hard packed with tiny rocks on the surface, making for a fast trail, after the road crossing it turns to a crushed red limestone surface, some of the rock is larger and definitely more bumpy, but not bad, then I ran into the Hazleton water shed, what a nice view, it was there that I met SCOOTER a very cute Jack Russell who has overcome a lot of adversity in her short life.
The trail turns back into the aforementioned hard pack for the remainder of the trail, where I almost ran over a snake sunning on the trail
It deadheads onto Beryllium road, a decaying old paved road, I rode that to the left for a few miles, then headed back.
All in all a 10.58 mile ride
Check out my videos on U-Tube (search Dirtrider 6) of the Rails to trails that I have been riding, I hope to hit up as many trails as I can before Winter.
My whole family been walking on this trail daily,and my wife daughter ride our bikes on it as well. My daughter goes on the back of my bike,some parts of the trail are smooth and others are bumpy,but your outdoors you expect it. Its also nice because you don't have to walk of ride in the streets of Hazleton,its quiet and everyone on it is friendly.
"I really liked this trail for its shade and its sublte grading. The thing I disliked the most was that it was very bumpy. I know mtn biker's would like this, but I was on a leisurely ride with my 14 month old and he was bounced around quite a bit. Would I use the trail again? Yes I would, but not with my child riding along."
"This is a very nice, shady trail. My only complaint would be that the stones used on the trail are a little larger than on other trails and it throws your bike around."
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