Nay Aug Park, one of the largest and most popular parks in Scranton, enjoys frequent visitation from residents of the city, many of whom enjoy walking, biking and running through the park. A number of roads and trails weave through the park, providing a great exercise opportunity for anyone looking to get off the busy city streets. Most people from the area are probably quite familiar with the park, but in case you’re not or you happen to be visiting the area, allow me to take you on a tour around the park, showcasing practically every inch that is available to people looking to get some exercise in. We start our journey with the Davis Trail, the entrance of which you can see to the left. I neglected to get a straight on picture of the entrance, so this will have to do. The Davis Trail starts just off the 200 block of Arthur Avenue, not far from the Community Medical Hospital (CMC).
The first section of the Davis Trail is a little over a quarter mile long, so if you’re looking for a lengthy trail run, it’s not the best option. But it does offer some nice views, including three lookouts along the trail, and the shade provided by the trees and shrubbery can be a nice respite on a hot day. The trail, especially given its brevity, is quite easy to follow along. It has a few meandering curves, and one section gets a bit narrow in the middle, but overall it’s a nice little break from the hard ground of roads and sidewalks.
Unfortunately, the Davis Trail has had some issues with flooding over the years, especially on one of the hilly sections. To help curb this problem, the city placed a bunch of large rocks there, which I assume are supposed to function as a kind of rock steps, but they actually end up being a little bit precarious, and it can be a bit difficult trying to hop up all the rocks, à la Mario stomping on Goombas. That said, I actually enjoy a challenge here and there and sometimes a little rocky terrain can be fun. Even still, watch your step at this part.
Moving past the rock steps, the Davis Trail turns into a road for a little bit before hitting softer ground again. A short section, which is a wee bit rocky, weaves under the recently constructed Treehouse and heads toward the newer playground. Coming to a fork, one can either go left up toward a clearing which is popular for picnics and barbecues or go right, which leads us down to the new bridge which spans the river. Let’s head down to the right first, shall we?
Much like the rock steps part of the Davis Trail, the path down to the bridge suffers from the same flooding and erosion problems. It’s also a rather steep incline, so again, I’d recommend being a bit cautious. I ran a race a few years ago during which we had to climb up this hill and let me tell you, that was no fun. Anyway, after making it down the hill, the bridge affords great views of Nay Aug Gorge. Crossing the bridge opens a section of the park which is rarely visited, so if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, I recommend heading there. If you take a left after crossing the bridge and go up another steep hill, there’s not really too much to see, honestly, but it might be a good place to do some exploring. You’ll never know what little gems or hidden trails you might find up there. If you go right on the bridge, you can follow a rocky, shaded trail along to another lookout point. This whole section comprises maybe half a mile at best, so it might not be the best to go for a run, especially given the hills, but you can definitely can some nice vistas out of the trip.
Now, if we took a left at the playground, the path would take you through the aforementioned clearing and then out into what my former cross country teammates affectionately referred to as the “dog park.” It’s a nice, flat, wide open grass area, popular for playing frisbee or catch. A trail encircles the grass fields and opens up to a parking lot by Richter Avenue. Or you could follow the trail up a hill, which takes you back on to the main road that goes around most of the park. If you follow that road downhill and swing a left a little bit past the pool, the road continues into the middle section of the park, passing by a playground and then opening up into a trail again, where my high school cross country races used to have their finish line. Reaching the end of that trail, if you take a right, you’ll get back on the main road and this will take you passed the currently empty former Nay Aug Zoo. Go down that road a bit more and you’ll see the entrance to the tree house, which like so many other things at Nay Aug, gives you a nice view of the river.
After the tree house, you can keep following that road up a hill and then back down. Taking a right can lead back to the pool or you could also go check out the exhibits at the Everhart Museum. If you bear left on that road, you come to a fork where you could either go left and head back down toward the rock steps or go straight and end up to the other entrance of the Davis Trail. And with that, we’ve pretty much ended up back where we started. There’s a whole lot more to Nay Aug than I was able to show here, but I think that’s a good thing. I say just go ahead and explore at your leisure. I guided you around some of the main attractions and sections, but there are tons of little offshoot trails all over, so who knows what you might find there. Adios, friends. Until we meet again.