Scranton’s Hidden Adventures

I was born and raised in Clarks Summit, a small town right outside of Scranton. Like most kids who grew up in a small town, I usually felt like there was nothing to do except go to Sheetz and eat. When things get boring in Scranton, it’s nice to have little places to explore outside, which is what my friends and I often did. I’ve compiled a list of my eight favorite places to explore – some public and some that require a little more exploring. Even though it’s winter and a lot of these places are more tolerable in summer weather, the cold provides for some super cool conditions, like frozen waterfalls.

DISCLAIMER: Some of these locations may currently be private property. Be sure to check for “No trespassing” signs before visiting any of these places, I’m not trying to break any laws here.

1. Summit Pointe

108 Summit Pointe Dr, Scranton, PA 18508

If you grew up in or around the Scranton area, climbing Summit Pointe was basically a right of passage. It’s only about a 10-minute hike from the parking lot, which begins at the edge of the woods, leads through an opening of telephone lines and back into a small patch of woods before opening into a series of rocky cliffs overlooking the Notch and Northern Blvd. The view is impressive enough that most of my high school asked their crush to homecoming here. If you decide to visit Summit Pointe be sure not to park in a designated spot for residents of the condos – I’ve been reprimanded continuously by the same elderly woman.

2. Nay Aug

500 Arthur Ave, Scranton, PA 18510

Nay Aug Park is a public park in Scranton that used to be a zoo, and now hosts carnivals, has a swimming pool with water slides and displays a popular Christmas lights show annually. It’s also an amazing place to visit if you like waterfalls. The Nay Aug Gorge is surrounded by trails you can walk on, and people often go here in the summer to jump from the cliffs into the water (although this is not technically safe). One of my favorite spots here is a waterfall that’s hidden and not connected to trails, but you can probably find it off Arthur Avenue.

3. The Moon Towers

Off of Newton Rd, Clarks Summit, PA 18411

The Moon Towers is essentially a field at the top of West Mountain that overlooks the entire city of Scranton. The road it’s on has no name, but you can find it by driving down Newton Road, and it’s a gravel road between Cherry Ridge Boulevard and West Mountain Road. Most people tend to park at the bottom and walk up (mainly because most four-doors can’t really make it up the road) but if you have a truck or other heavy-duty car, it’s also fun to park your car at the top and have a bonfire. The name “The Moon Towers” comes from the multi-purpose metal towers at the top which some people climb (again, not technically safe).

4. Susquehanna River Waterfall

Off of Coxton Rd, Duryea, PA 18642

This spot looks like a scene from Fast & Furious. The windy road leading out to it is barricaded by rocky mountains on one side, and bordered by train tracks and the Susquehanna on the other. Off the road is a huge waterfall that you can sit under, and a short trail on one side leads to the top where there’s a stunning view of the train tracks, the river and the mountains.

5. Bald Mountain

Bald Mountain Rd, Clarks Summit, PA 18411

Bald Mountain is one of the most spectacular views I’ve seen. The hike can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours (it’s super hard, not going to lie) depending on how dedicated you are. You’ll probably want to stop and go back the whole time, but trust me the view is worth it. The mountain overlooks Newton Ransom’s rolling hills and farms in the Wyoming Valley and has an elevation of 2,280 feet.

6. Little Rocky Glen

State Rte 2012, Factoryville, PA 18419

Little Rocky Glen is pretty similar to Nay Aug in terms of views, but a little more low-key. A short (and relatively flat!!!) walk leads through some pretty woods and past lots of waterfalls which people swim in and generally have a safer experience than at Nay Aug. At the end of the trail, there’s a field and a pavilion perfect for picnics and stuff like that.

7. Nicholson Bridge (Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct)

PA-92, Nicholson, PA 18446

If you drive straight down PA-92, you literally can’t miss it. The Viaduct was built in 1912 and lots of people visit it just to look at it, but there’s some pretty cool walking trails that go past the creek under the bridge. Many people also climb the bridge to the tracks at the top, and while that sounds SUPER cool, I definitely don’t recommend this due to trespassing laws.

8. The Lace Factory

1420 Lace St, Scranton, PA 18509

The Lace Factory is a Scranton gem. While it used to be a booming factory for around two centuries, it’s been abandoned for a number of years now and resembles backdrops from The Walking Dead. The factory had a bowling alley, a gym, a barber, an infirmary, a clock tower and a lot of other cool stuff that you can still see remnants of. There’s even lace and curtains left behind in the production rooms. While wanderlusts and teenage delinquents have explored it for over a decade now, the past few years it has been a construction zone and it’s hard to actually get in without being told to leave. Still, absolutely worth a shot.