Far too long has passed since I last covered a place to run in the Scranton area, but what better way to return than with one of the most popular and nicest places in the city for runners? Lake Scranton sits atop the East Mountain section of the city. A large parking lot is off to the side of PA 307. Just go straight up Moosic St. in South Side and keep going until you get to a light. Drive another minute or two past the light and the parking lot will be on your right. Alternately, you could park by another entrance at the top of East Mountain Road. There’s a fire station up there that usually has open parking.
Then again, if you want to go the hardcore route, you could always run up the mountain. Going either straight East Mountain Road or taking a longer, but less steep route up East Mountain (I’ve mapped out my usual longer way up here) is a brutal affair, one that’s likely to leave your lungs gasping for breath and your quads begging you to stop. Nonetheless, it’s far from impossible, and I’ve done it many times. However, I would never call it easy. No matter how many times I do that, it’s still challenging.
Lake Scranton itself features a 3.55 mile road encircling the lake. Various points are quite scenic, especially at the lookout which forms the “beginning” of the road. There are posted signs marking every quarter mile, which use that lookout as the starting point. Much of the road is shaded and it becomes positively stunning in autumn. Though, if you’re thinking about heading up in winter, I would caution that the road is often covered in quite a bit of ice. Just be careful and you’ll be fine. Lake Scranton is a perfect way to get a full three and a half miles off city streets, although to be fair, on rare occasions, you will see cars on the road, as workers at the lake do need to drive on it.
That said, Lake Scranton is one of my very favorite places to run in Scranton. If you start at the lookout and go left, it’s mostly flat with a few minor hills for 2.5 miles. Then, the last mile has a number of rolling hills, some a bit on the steep side. Or you could go right and start with the hills right off the bat. Or you could start at the entrance at East Mountain. Or the parking lot off 307. It’s all up to you. Then again, there is a challenging path through a rocky trail in the woods…. but that’s another topic for another blog. Until we meet again.