A recent study conducted by the Outdoor Foundation found an 18.5% increase in the number of people backpacking in the last year. The number of campers also increased 7.4%. Given that more of you than ever are grabbing a pack and heading for the woods, I thought I would highlight some of the opportunities for overnight camping and backpacking that exist along and near the D&L Trail:
Tohickon Valley Park
Located on the banks of the scenic Tohickon Creek, this small but inviting campground offers tent sites and cabins managed by Bucks County. Visitors will enjoy trout fishing, birding, and hiking along the creek, which is one of the cleanest in the state. The park is within a mile of the D&L Trail, which follows the towpath of the Delaware Canal.
The famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail intersects the D&L Trail at Lehigh Gap, providing backpackers with hundreds of miles of trail in either direction. Typically, overnight, walk-in camping is discouraged, but backpackers are welcome to camp at appropriate sites. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy can provide information and publications regarding shelters and necessary preparations.
Mauch Chunk Lake Park
Operated by Carbon County, this park and campground is often used by parties preparing to raft down the Lehigh River or explore other local attractions. The campground offers tent sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Jim Thorpe, Lehigh Gorge State Park, and the D&L Trail are only a short drive away.
Hickory Run State Park
Lehigh Gorge State Park gets a lot of press on the D&L site because our trail runs through its entire length, but Hickory Run deserves just as much attention. This large park has got it all, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife. Although the D&L Trail is on the west side of the river and the park is on the east, visitors are never more than a short drive from the Lehigh Tannery Trailhead. Hickory Run is a great place to stage your adventure into Lehigh Gorge or to explore in its own right.
Pinchot Trail System
The Pinchot Trail is a 23-mile loop trail through Lackawanna State Forest. Located east of Wilkes-Barre and north of Hickory Run, the trail offers a variety of terrain from bogs to mountain vistas. Camping is permitted along the trail. A through road and side trails allow for day and alternative hikes. Best of all, because it is a loop, you end up back at your car at the end of the trip!
Frances Slocum State Park
This park, located ten miles north of Wilkes-Barre, features a 100-site campground with tent and trailer sites. Visitors will enjoy fishing and boating on the lake, hiking, trail biking, and swimming in a large pool. The park is located within a short drive of the northern portions of Lehigh Gorge State Park and (arguably) the most scenic sections of the D&L Trail.
The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provides a campgrounds locator on its website, but many of the best campgrounds are privately owned and operated. The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau provides information on camping opportunities specific to northeastern Pennsylvania. Try individual county visitors bureau websites or the yellow pages for listings of sites throughout the Corridor.
It’s that time of year! Dig out your tent, sleeping bag, and old Coleman grill and go camping.