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The history of Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley is tied to the mighty Susquehanna River. From American Indian cultures and early European settlers to the cities that line the river’s shores today, people have depended on the waterway and its fertile banks for transportation, food, and recreation. But living alongside this major river requires enduring the natural ebb and flow of flooding—often with disastrous effects.
The communities built a system of miles-long levees beginning in the 1930s. In the 1990s, the levees were raised an additional 3–5 feet after Tropical Storm Agnes, which raised the river level to 40 feet and inundated 48 square miles in 1972. The four sections of the paved Luzerne County Levee Trail atop the Wyoming Valley Levee System now allow visitors to ride, walk, or hike for a pleasant journey along the river. Historical markers and interpretive signs are posted along the trail.
Beginning at the northern endpoint near the Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport, this 2.5-mile section of trail makes its way between the river on your left and the airport and recreational fields on your right. As the route bends south, you’ll enter a residential area just beyond the levee wall. The trail leaves the levee and makes its way on shared roadways through the community of Forty Fort.
To reach the next trail section, turn left onto River Street, go 0.4 mile, and turn right onto Rutter Avenue. Go 0.2 mile, and follow the bike lane on Rutter Avenue to the left. Go 0.3 mile, turn left onto Church Street, and pick up the levee trail from the parking lot on the left.
Entering the community of Kingston, this section of trail travels south atop the levee with views of the forested banks of the Susquehanna to the left and neighborhoods to the right. In about 1.4 miles, you’ll pass under the North Street Bridge. A pathway to the left takes you through the riverside Nesbitt Park, with fishing access, a boat ramp, disc golf, and other amenities.
The pathway splits at the Market Street Bridge. Staying on the west bank of the 1.8-mile segment, you’ll pass by Kirby Park—home to the city’s Fourth of July celebration and annual Cherry Blossom Festival, and the location of ample recreational opportunities, including tennis and foot paths. The trail crosses US 11/South Wyoming Avenue and ends at Plymouth and Main Streets behind a home improvement store.
If you choose to cross the Susquehanna River via the Market Street Bridge, you’ll follow a wide sidewalk under the magnificent arched pylons topped with stone eagles to River Common, a park on Wilkes-Barre’s waterfront. A short section of the Luzerne County Levee Trail parallels River Common, which also has a separate waterfront pathway that is accessible from multiple points along the main trail.
Head left on the Luzerne County Levee Trail for 0.4 mile to pass the park’s Millennium Circle, a civic space, and a riverfront amphitheater. The trail segment here terminates at a small building just west of the Luzerne County Courthouse near West Union Street.
A right turn from the Market Street Bridge takes you along the southwestern portion of this section of the trail—past museums and Wilkes University—to another gap beginning at West South Street. At the southern end of River Common, turn right onto West South Street and then left onto West River Street. Turn right onto Riverside Drive, and look for the trail in 0.6 mile.
After 1.4 miles of riverfront travel, the trail branches off at the Carey Avenue Bridge. To remain on the east bank, take the branch under the bridge. This 1.8-mile segment is prone to flooding in the spring and after heavy rains. More secluded than other sections, it rolls through an open field bordered by trees. It ends as a flood-control facility at Solomon Creek.
If you cross the Susquehanna River on the Carey Avenue Bridge’s wide shoulders, you’ll pass over Richard Island. After crossing, turn left onto East Main Street and use the sidewalk on the south side for one block. Turn left onto Bridge Street, and the trail begins in 0.1 mile. The trail continues 1.6 miles, ending at a small parking lot on Flat Road.
To reach the northern endpoint in Wyoming from I-81, take Exit 170B toward Wilkes-Barre on SR 309 N. Go 0.3 mile, and merge onto SR 309/N. Cross Valley Expy. Go 3.3 miles, and take Exit 4 for Forty Fort. Go 0.2 mile, and turn right to merge onto Rutter Ave. Go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto River St., and then go 0.8 mile, and turn right onto US 11/Wyoming Ave. Go 1.8 miles, just past a strip mall on the right, and then turn right onto an access road to the parking lot.
To reach the southern endpoint in Plymouth from I-81, take Exit 164 to SR 29 toward Nanticoke. Go 0.5 mile, and merge onto SR 29. Go 4.8 miles, and merge right onto US 11. Go 2.0 miles, and turn right onto Flat Road. Go about 360 feet, and turn right into the parking area.
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