The Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area protects land along the Tobyhanna Creek and Falls. It is located along PA 115 just north of the I-80 exit at Blakeslee. The natural area was once an amusement park until it was destroyed by floods. The land was eventually purchased by the local government to protect open space in the fast-developing Poconos.
The natural area features several miles of trails that explore the creek and falls, as well as forest of white pine with some nice-sized trees. The trails are fairly easy with moderate terrain. It is a perfect place to take kids, who will enjoy the creek and falls. This is also the perfect place to try your luck trout fishing since there are several pools and riffles.
We arrived on a clear, chilly day. It is best to park at the parking area near the PA 115 bridge over Tobyhanna Creek to enjoy the trail along the creek. There is also a large picnic pavilion at the parking area. The trail went through a spruce plantation and then followed a bank above the creek. We crossed a bridge over a small sidestream and then returned to the creek. The trail soon brought us to the falls. Tobyhanna Falls is relatively small, not even ten feet high, but it is a powerful falls that carries a lot of water. It must be thunderous in high water. Its most impressive feature is a massive pool framed by cliffs and ledges below the falls. It is a beautiful spot.
We followed a red blazed trail that stayed close to the creek, passing many riffles and rapids. On the other side, Tunkhannock Creek joined, swelling Tobyhanna Creek to the size of a small river. We reached the end of the natural area and followed a trail up a hill into a nice pine forest where we passed a few other hikers. This trail looped around and returned us to the falls.
This is a beautiful place to go for an easy walk, enjoy the creek, fish, have a picnic, or just relax.
For a trail map and brochure, click here.