By Bill Deaton
There’s no shortage of trails to be found in Lackawanna County. There are long-distance loops such as the Pinchot Trail, nature trails at the various county parks, and everything in between. One of those “in between” pathways is the network that can be found at Keystone College in LaPlume. Altogether, there’s just about five miles that meander up, down, and across the hillside and along the South Branch of the Tunkhannock Creek.
We started our adventure by crossing the swinging bridge located behind the college library. Once over the creek we explored the short Water Discovery Trail that skirted by some vernal ponds and the creek bank. The trail then shifted up along the hill’s contour to where it joined up with the Nakomis Forest Stewardship Trail. There’s a nice view into the gorge below where the trails merge, Good enough to take a quick break but we pressed on to the next junction and met up with the Trolley Trail, which is part of the Countryside Conservancy’s network. Unlike the footpaths we had been on to this point, here the trail was wide and graded. Good for hiking or biking. Soon though we turned off to follow the Nakomis Trail back downhill, across an athletic field, and back along the creek, finally making one more uphill before dropping us back down to the swinging bridge. If you like wildflowers it’s a good hiking spot but weekend users, while not disruptive, were present in enough numbers to stymie good animal encounters.
Overall, the terrain wasn’t hard to tackle and some water maybe a snack is all you really need. With still half the network to check out, we’ll likely return too.
- Tunkhannock Hiking Trail (Yellow) 1.2 miles plus spurs to a pond and apiary
- Nakomis Forest Stewardship Trail (Orange) 1.2 miles. Hilly but also runs partly with the rail-trail
- Water Discovery Trail (Blue) 0.35 miles. Wetlands, boardwalk, creek views.
- Campus Trail (Green) 1.0 miles. Parts on pavement but also access to the creek and biology pond.
- Gateway Trail (Purple) 0.4miles. Roadside. Runs with Orange partially. Connects Green and Orange for a bigger loop.