BY JEFF MITCHELL
Special to Wyoming County
Only a decade ago, Wyoming County had few places to take a hike. That is beginning to change.
There are trails popping up across the county, from the Vosburg Neck to Little Rocky Glen. Even though the county does not have a state park or any official rails-to-trails, it is home to thousands of acres of state game lands, which offer great opportunities to explore the wilderness in the southwestern part of the county for those hikers who are experienced.
The following is a top ten list of places to take a hike in the county:
1. Endless Mountains Nature Center/ Camp Lackawanna: Over 8 miles of interconnecting trails offer hemlock forests, old stonewalls, canal remnants, view of the river, and wildflowers. Ideal for children. For more information, go to www.emconline.org.
2. Little Rocky Glen: This small preserve is big on beauty, with rapids and erosional features in a deep, rugged glen, where the force of the South Branch Tunkhannock Creek has carved deep pools, potholes, and chutes into the bedrock. There is also a beautiful picnic pavilion at the glen. For more information, click on www.countrysideconservancy.org
3. Flat Top Vista: Located in State Game Lands 57, park at White Brook and follow old, unmarked grades to a beautiful vista from Flat Top that looks up the Mehoopany Creek to Red Rock in the distance. There is a waterfall, off the trail, along White Brook.
4. Sprankles Pond: One of Wyoming County’s best kept secrets, follow Cider Run Road up from the Noxen area and park at Opossum Brook Road; walk along that gated road to Sprankles Pond, a serene and beautiful place with islets and a meadow. The pond teems with fish, and this hike features plenty of solitude, wildflowers, and wildlife, not to mention deep spruce forests.
5. Red Brook: A tributary of Stony Brook, Red Brook offers big boulders, cascades, two larger waterfalls, remains of an old camp, cliffs, old railroad grades, and large boulders covered with moss. A special place in Wyoming County.
6. Stony Brook and Bartlett Mountain Circuit: Also in the game lands, this is the longest hike in the county as it follows a loop along unmarked trails to waterfalls, bogs, bedrock balds, mountain streams, deep hemlock and spruce forests, and a beautiful view from Burgess Hollow looking into New York.
7. Catlin Brook: Even I haven’t seen all of this place. Follow a trail from Stony Brook to the bogs and vast wet meadow that flows into Catlin Brook, which then plumets hundreds of feet from the top of the mountain. It is possible to see the falls and incredible ice columns from Lovelton. The creek is a trickle in summer.
8. Upper Mehoopany Creek Gorge: Tough to access, but worth it. Park at Mountain Spring Road off of PA 487 and take your mountain bike down along gated Southbrook Road to the Mehoopany Creek. Ditch the bike and hike along the creek, with rapids, ledges, a chasm, and Mythical Falls, a 25 foot falls over red bedrock. Do not attempt in high water. An isolated, beautiful place that has lots of wildlife, I’ve even seen a bear.
9. Kiwanis Interpetive Nature Trail: A one mile loop at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds that is great for kids. Pick up a guide and identify different trees and plants; there are also wetlands. For more information, go to www.emconline.org.
10. Lake Winola White Pine Forest: There are no official trails, but you can walk into an impressive old white pine forest from the outlet of the lake; trails lead down to the Christy Mathewson Little League Teener Field along Fairview Road.