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Outdoor activities to enjoy on the D & H Rail Trail

You may have heard the D & H Rail Trail was named best in the state. But what you might not know is all the fun winter activities you can enjoy on it.

UNION DALE, Pa. — If you're looking to amp up your outdoor activities or just beat the winter blues, an award-winning trail in northeastern Pennsylvania offers a lot more than you might think.

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey highlighted many of the fun family activities you can take part in on the D & H Rail Trail in Susquehanna County.

On Friday, Ryan hit the trail with Lynn Conrad, the Executive Director of the nonprofit Rail-Trail Council of NEPA.

Lynn shared the various activities, weather permitting, you can enjoy on the trail thanks to the nonprofit. It includes snowshoeing, trail yoga, and more.

While the equipment is free to use at the trail office in Union Dale, donations are encouraged to help support the nonprofit's mission of caring for the trail and providing activities. Memberships to be a part of the nonprofit are $20 for an individual and $35 for a family for the year. You're encouraged to call ahead to rent snowshoes. 

Trail activities

Since activities on the D & H Rail Trail vary each weekend and are weather dependent, it's best to keep an eye on the organization's Facebook page at this link or the nonprofit's event section on the website. You can find it here.

Another activity underway in the state is called Get Your Tail on the Trail. It's a "free program aimed at helping people of all ages and abilities meet their personal fitness goals and experience the outdoors on local trails via day-to-day challenges, public events, and motivating prizes."

As for the D & H Rail Trail, the nonprofit "Rail-Trail Council of NEPA" is willing to supply outdoor enthusiasts use of snowshoes on a first-come, first-served basis.

The trailhead where to find the office is located at 948 North Main Street in Union Dale. The office can be reached at (570) 679-9300.

Fun facts about the D & H Rail Trail

  • D & H Rail-Trail was named Pennsylvania’s 2021 Trail of the Year
  • 38-mile rail-trail along the eastern border of Susquehanna Co. (starts in Lackawanna, swings out into Wayne a few times).
  • Under development by non-profit Rail-Trail Council (RTC) with an office in Union Dale, on the trail; RTC celebrates its 30 years as an organization in April.
  • 20 miles are improved, 18 to go. Best biking on improved section (Simpson to Ararat 20 miles), but all 38 miles good for hiking and snow-activities. The trail continues north through Lanesboro ends at the NY border.
  • Connects to the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Simpson (together 70-mile trail)
  • Starts in Lackawanna Heritage Valley enters the rural Endless Mountains Heritage Region.

D & H Rail Trail History

  • Delaware and Hudson Railroad, built by Erie RR, opened in 1870. Mostly for the transport of anthracite coal from Carbondale, Forest City, and the Lackawanna Valley.
  • RTC is keeping railroad history alive with historical signs where RR stations used to be, interpreting structures along the trail (as bridges, mining structures).
  • Passes under the Starrucca Viaduct “the bridge of stone’ 17 arches of bluestone, Lanesboro.
  • Restoring a ‘pusher’ caboose – has a steel frame so locomotives can push train loads upgrade to Ararat.

Winter activities offered on the D & H Rail Trail

  • Get your Tail on the Trail Winter Challenge 30 miles in 30 days www.tailonthetrail.org
  • Snowshoeing- group walks, have snowshoes to lend (thanks to Get Outdoors PA)
  • XC skiing clinics – we do small groups on weekends, rent skis from Chet’s Place, near Elk.
  • Full moon walks- year-round
  • Yoga on the Trail- walk and stretch and breathe, etc.
  • Winter walks with a forester, animal tracks, tree browse, etc.
  • Historical strolls
  • Partner in NEP Sno-Trails local snowmobile club that uses the D&H as their major artery in a 200-mile trail system. They groom trails and have been experimenting with laying down XC ski tracks. We work on trail maintenance together year-round. Snowmobiles need permits (insurance, registration) www.nepsnotrails.com
  • Spring-summer-fall activities
  • Biking Wednesdays
  • Special bike events Month of May D&H Challenge -bike any section 10-20-30-40 miles. Log your time/mileage, get a tee-shirt.
  • Trail yoga
  • Historical strolls
  • Nature hikes: bird, trees, mushroom, wildflowers
  • Volunteer opportunities (trash pickups, tree plantings)
  • D&H Distance Run -half-marathon & 5K Sept 12 (Sunday after Labor Day)
  • Forest City is our Trail Town, usual partner for Trail Town Festival in summer

Questions? 

Contact the trail office at 570-679-9300 or via email at trails@nep.net