Explore the North Pocono Trails

Each month, Get Your Tail on the Trail’s Northeast Pennsylvania chapter will share a Trail of the Month to explore. Log your miles at the location “North Pocono Trails” on tailonthetrail.org through March 31 for the chance to win a gift card to a local outdoor gear store. This blog was originally published on Discover NEPA

Rachael Stark, NEPA Program Coordinator

In a hidden forest tucked behind an unsuspecting park, the North Pocono Trails will guide you through a landscape of flowing creeks and towering evergreens that provide breathtaking views.

The North Pocono Trails in Lackawanna County offer the perfect place to explore this spring, or any time of the year. Managed by the North Pocono Trails Association (NPTA), the trail system includes land owned by PA Gas Company, American Water and DCNR Bureau of Forestry’s Pinchot Forest District.

The south entrance to the trails is the most popular with parking for 25 cars at Old Mill Park in Moscow. Named for the grist and shingle mills that used to be on the property, this park has a small playground perfect for the younger ones in your family. From the park, make your way across the street and to the right across a short bridge.

Then, follow the “trail” signs to the left. You will approach a large fence indicating private property of the gas company, but do not be intimidated. When you are about to reach the fence, you will notice the trail to your left, hidden behind some trees. Once you step onto this trail, you will be transported away from the hustle and bustle of the town and into a serene and expansive forest.

If this is your first time at the trail, make sure to stop at the grove to take a picture of the trail maps. Although all trails are well marked, you will want to have a map of trail names and color blazes. You can also find the map online on the NPTA website, AllTrails and Trailforks.

The main Roaring Brook Trail is just over three miles out and back, but visitors could hike up to seven miles throughout the southern system. Motivated hikers can include the northern trail system for a total of 13 miles of trails to explore. The northern trails can be accessed by crossing Kellum Creek via the Beaver Pond Trail or by parking at the Northern Trailhead on Yednak Lane.

The southern trails explore a pristine forest landscape. Visitors can enjoy a serene walk by hiking along either creek. The trails are well maintained, natural paths with some tree roots, but otherwise few hazards. Bridges cross over the fragile wetland areas to protect wildlife and prevent visitors from getting too muddy.

The Northside Trailhead is located a quarter-mile from the overlook of the beautiful Elmhurst Reservoir. It is worth the time to seek out this gem just for the views. The Roaring Brook Trail North begins with a pleasant half-mile walk on a level, fine gravel road. From that point, a reroute around a wetland begins a less groomed and more rustic hike on former lumbering roads.

Whichever trail you take, you are guaranteed to spot wildlife and enjoy beautiful scenery. The vibrant fields of moss, diverse species of plants and abundant wildlife make this spot the perfect outdoor classroom to teach young children about the outdoors, as many families have done throughout the pandemic. Several species of birds call the North Pocono Trails home, and visitors have recently spotted beavers by the creeks. As the weather warms up, you can see amphibians and fish from the shorelines of Kellum Creek and Roaring Brook Creek. In fact, both are Class A Trout Streams, and people are permitted to practice catch and release fly fishing.

The trails aren’t just for hiking. Mountain biking is also permitted. Two local biking groups, Pandemic Peddlers and Babes in the Woods, regularly visit this spot and help with fundraising and maintenance. Snowshoers and cross-country skiers are welcome in winter, and, of course, dogs are welcome on a leash. Hunting is also permitted on this property, so all visitors are encouraged to wear orange during hunting season.

One of the best parts about the North Pocono Trails is the ability to witness the natural processes of the streams. Since the trails are on state forest land, trees that fall naturally are not tampered with, which may cause the creeks to change over time. This landscape has already changed significantly from the time before humans altered the landscape to a barren forest after intense logging to the natural trails you see today. Eventually, markers will indicate these changes and other structures left from historical events.

Many groups have worked together to make these trails possible, including the property owners, Moscow Sewer Authority and Borough, Roaring Brook Township, Madison Township and more. Local families and businesses have sponsored the trails in the network. NPTA regularly campaigns for donations to continue developing and maintaining the trails. If you are interested in getting involved with the expansion, maintenance and stewardship of these trails, connect with the North Pocono Trails Association on Facebook. They meet quarterly and regularly plan projects on the trails.

After your hike, you will want to check out the small towns in the area to refuel. In the summer, The Caboose is just a short drive away for classic fair foods and ice cream. If you happen to hit the trail on a Friday during summer, make the Curran Brewing Company a stop for a locally brewed beer. For a sit-down experience year-round, stop at the local staple Kay’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, or check online for surrounding restaurants.

About the Pinchot State Forest District

The Pinchot State Forest District in Northeastern Pennsylvania is one of the twenty state forest districts across Pennsylvania and consists of 1.4 million acres of forest land within Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties. Within the district boundary is the 48,504-acre Pinchot State Forest, which provides for a multitude of natural resources, forest uses and public values to the citizens of Pennsylvania. As part of a public trust, the Pinchot Forest District is charged with ensuring the long-term health, viability and productivity of the commonwealth’s forests and conserving native wild plants. The overarching management goal on Pinchot State Forest lands is to implement practices that enhance the sustainability of multiple ecosystem factors, including economic, environmental and social dimension.