After the epic snowfall, a bit of cabin fever began to set in, so we were excited to do a hike. The snow seemed to have melted a bit, or so we thought. We decided to hike a new trail that connects Lackawanna State Park to the Countryside Conservancy’s Messimer Preserve along the scenic South Branch of the Tunkhannock Creek.
We parked at a small lot along Cole Road, crossed the bridge and turned left onto the trail as it went along the edge of a field. At the end of the field, there was a sign and we entered the scenic hemlock forests along the creek.
I did not notice any blazes, but the trail path seemed evident. The snow was also a lot deeper than I was expecting. The scenery was excellent as the large creek tumbled over riffles and around boulders under the hemlocks and pine. What a place to hike on a hot summer day, I thought. It was noticeably cooler in this deep, shaded glen along the creek. We reached a powerline swath and here it got a little confusing. The trail goes up the swath a short ways and then continues along an old grade higher above the creek. It was still a nice hike, although the floodplain along the creek is worth exploring.
The trail entered the Messimer Preserve and a scenic hemlock forest returned. We reached an old quarry and abandoned road that came down from the right. We followed straight on the old grade to a private property line. Back at the quarry, an old grade descends to the creek; I recommend you take it. It explores the creek and more hemlocks with ruins of an old mill across the creek. We then retraced our steps.
The South Branch Trail is a great hike, and fairly easy. Hiking along the creek was beautiful and this trail had more of an isolated feel than others in the park. It is definitely worth a visit the next time you’re at the state park.
More info about the Countryside Conservancy.