What to do in Lackawanna State Forest

The Lackawanna State Forest, noted for its diverse recreational opportunities, contains a total of 8,115 acres of State Forest land in two separate tracts. The Thornhurst Tract, the larger and more developed tract of the two, is located in Lehigh Township, Lackawanna County. This 6,711-acre woodland offers extensive outdoor recreational opportunities such as picnicking, hiking, backpacking, hunting, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, fishing and nature walks. The West Nanticoke Tract is located in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County. It offers over 1,400 acres for hunting, fishing, hiking and nature study. This tract still maintains most of its primitive character. Formal hiking trails and picnic areas have not been developed.

A special feature of the Lackawanna State Forest is it orienteering program. This program is very popular. Course maps and more detailed instructions are available at the compass course starting area. Bring your azimuth compass and practice navigating through the forest.

The name Lackawanna is the English spelling of an Indian word which means "a place where the river forks." Within the boundaries of the Lackawanna Forest District are a county and river that also bear this name. The Lackawanna State Forest, noted for its diverse recreational opportunities, contains a total of 8,115 acres of State Forest land in two separate tracts.

Recreation
The Thornhurst Tract, the larger and more developed tract of the two, is located in Lehigh Township, Lackawanna County. This 6,711-acre woodland offers extensive outdoor recreational opportunities such as picnicking, hiking, backpacking, hunting, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, fishing and nature walks. Nestled in a grove of pine, spruce and hemlock lies a 30 acre picnic site with picnic tables and cooking grills. Drinking water is also readily available. Two mountain streams contribute to the uniqueness of this site. The 23-mile Pinchot Trail offers the hiker a choice of short, easy walks or overnight backpacking to remote areas of the State Forest. A variety of different tree species can be found along the trail. Following the trail, the hiker will pass through several bogs where spruce, firs and tamarack predominate.

Choke Creek, the southern boundary of the Thornhurst tract, attracts anglers who appreciate the challenge of fishing for the elusive native brook trout. Choke Creek is easily accessible via the Pinchot Trail System.

An extensive 24-mile snowmobile and cross-country ski trail is well marked and opens following antlerless deer season. This trail system remains open until late spring. A 17-mile road system accommodates the sightseeing motorist. One stop, at the top of Pine Hill, provides a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

The West Nanticoke Tract, the second tract that forms the Lackawanna State Forest is located in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County. It offers over 1,400 acres for hunting, fishing, hiking and nature study. This tract still maintains most of its primitive character. Formal hiking trails and picnic areas have not been developed.

A special feature of the Lackawanna State Forest is it orienteering program. This program is very popular. Course maps and more detailed instructions are available at the compass course starting area. Bring your azimuth compass and practice navigating through the forest.

Location
The Thornhurst Tract, the larger and more developed tract of the two, is located in Lehigh Township. The West Nanticoke Tract, the second tract is located in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County. Both areas fall within the northeastern area of Pennsylvania.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Lackawanna State Forest area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 22 to 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 to -4 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 Celsius).

Address
District Forester
401 Samters Bldg, 101 Penn Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503

Phone: 570-963-4561

Fax: 570-963-3048

  • Lackawanna State Forest Travel Q&A

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