Places to Run in Scranton: “Upper Trail”

Today’s featured place to run in Scranton will be a bit unique since it’s a forested trail that I had the pleasure of photographing when the beautiful autumn foliage was it is peak. Autumn is definitely my favorite time of year to run and there’s no better way to take in the foliage than a nice, peaceful run on a deserted trail. So, readers, I present to you what my cross country chums and I have dubbed “Upper Trail.” If you’re wondering, there is a “Lower Trail” as well, and I hope to cover that in a later post. Additionally, we also had “Middle Trail,” but that was really more of an off-shoot of Upper Trail anyway, notwithstanding the fact that Middle Trail has been rendered all but useless by construction work at its entrance. It wasn’t a particularly nice trail anyway, but I fear I’m veering into a rant, so let’s get back on topic. Upper Trail begins on River Street shortly before the start of the East Mountain section of Scranton. It’s directly across the street from a Salvation Army. There’s a makeshift parking lot at the entrance of the trail; alternately, you could park at the Salvation Army across the street, but just be careful crossing.

Upper Trail is mostly easy to navigate, although it has multiple, short off-shoots in all directions. When reaching a fork, generally follow the rule of staying to the left and you should be fine. It’s hard to get lost on this trail, but if you’re ever uncertain of where to go, it might be better to turn around than to press on and worsen the situation. That said, Upper Trail extends for approximately 2.5 miles. At that point, you’ll descend down a hill and come to a small river. If you really wanted, you could wade across or try skipping along some rocks, but I don’t recommend that route. Honestly, the best thing to when reaching the river is probably turn back. If you go to the river and back, you’re still getting in a solid 5 mile run. However, I should caution that Upper Trail is not an official trail and it is not maintained, so parts get very rocky and uneven; in addition, fairly large puddles often take up much of the trail. If you’re looking for a nice, even place to run at a good pace, stick to the roads. If you want a little bit of a challenge and you don’t mind getting a bit muddy, Upper Trail might be for you. Instead of taking the hill down to the river, you could take an easy to miss little trail up to the railroad tracks in the picture to the left. These led to a decrepit bridge that spans over the river, but if you go that route, please be careful. The bridge is really not in good shape. I recommend not going past the river because after that point, the trail only stretches a bit more than a half mile before spitting you onto a busy street. However, there is one other path that you could take, but that trail deserves its own posting, which I’ll get to later.

I’m going to end this blog with a collection of pictures at random points on the trail, so you know if you see something that looks similar to these points, you’re still going the right direction.

Going left or right doesn’t matter here, but I usually go right since it’s a tiny bit less rocky.

Again, left or right doesn’t matter. I usually go left, though admittedly sticking to the right might actually be better. See what works for you.

And that about concludes Upper Trail. I’m all for exploring and maybe getting a little lost now and then, but seriously, if you ever get worried on this trail, just turn around. It’s probably not worth the risk, particularly if you’re alone. Upper Trail can be very enjoyable, especially during autumn, as you can see from the pictures. Though it’s extremely hard to map out given the heavy tree cover and I don’t think I was terrible accurate, I tried my best so you can check out the gmap here. I stopped the route right at the bridge passing over the river. Plus, it did end up coming out to 2.46 miles so maybe I was a bit more accurate than I gave myself credit for. If you’re wondering, those well-maintained railroad tracks running parallel to parts of Upper Trail are still in use. Scranton runs a trolley ride that follows those tracks along so that might be another enjoyable way to take in this beautifully forested section of the city. Well, I’ve started running in earnest again, so I hope to start posting more again. Until we meet again, friends.

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