Socially Distanced Semester Perfect Time to Explore Scranton Parks and Trails

As University of Scranton students prepare to return to campus and the City of Scranton, many are asking the same questions -- what are local outdoor and recreational options?
Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
Lackawanna River Heritage Trail

As University of Scranton students prepare to return to campus and the City of Scranton, many are asking the same questions -- what are local outdoor and recreational options? Luckily, the city of Scranton’s beautiful location nestled in the Appalachian Mountains next to the Lackawanna River offers a wide variety of options for walking, biking and hiking in the safety of the outdoors while allowing for safe social distancing. Additionally, the downtown area is an easy walk to find outdoor dining, takeout, and other activities.

Read the CDC recommendations on visiting parks and recreational facilities before you go.


Nay Aug Park

Located just up the hill from campus on the top of Mulberry Street, Nay Aug Park (photo at left) is the largest park in the City of Scranton. Nay Aug Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same urban planner that created Central Park in New York City, echoes the same philosophy of offering city dwelling residents quick and easy access to a natural respite. Just a few minutes’ walk from campus, students can find several walking trails along with the beautiful Nay Aug Gorge waterfalls to view.

Lackawanna River Heritage Trail

With 70 miles of paved trail, the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail offers a great opportunity for runners, walkers and bikers to escape from the city to enjoy the Lackawanna River and the University provides a bike borrowing program called Bike Scranton at the Weinberg Memorial Library. Trailheads are easily accessible from campus including an entry at the University’s Kevin P. Quinn, S.J. Athletics Campus. Additionally, from downtown Scranton, outdoor enthusiasts can enter the trail either at the 7th Avenue Trailhead, two blocks southwest of Lackawanna Avenue, or at the Olive Street Trailhead, located on Olive Street one block down from the intersection with Providence Road. For trail maps and additional information, please visit the Trail Website.

Lake Scranton Walking Trail

A short drive (or run, if you are up for an energetic one!), from campus is the Lake Scranton Walking Trail. This 3.57-mile asphalt trail is a favorite of local runners training for races. The outdoor trail is a circular loop around Lake Scranton. As the weather turns cooler, nature lovers can visit this trail to view the fall foliage.  There is free parking just up the hill from the intersection of Moosic Street and Lake Scranton Road.

Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den

Located in the Marketplace at Steamtown on Lackawanna Avenue, the Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den offers a great indoor recreational opportunity. Visitors can explore a wide variety of exhibits with animals from the depths of the oceans and the heart of the forests and jungles. Fish, sharks, octopus, stingrays, frogs, and snakes are just a few of the critters waiting to be seen. Updated business hours are 7 days a week from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., with Admission Gate closing at 5:15 p.m. Guests must adhere to CDC guidelines and face masks and practice social distancing are required.

Downtown Scranton

Downtown Scranton is home to many unique small businesses and is an easy walk from campus, with Courthouse Square providing green space and with beautiful architecture as well as modern murals on display throughout the city’s downtown core. Downtown restaurants offer a variety of outdoor dining options and takeout. From a wood-fired pizza at Bar Pazzo, comfort food at Paradise Soulfood & Sweets, delicious grill and Mediterranean favorites from The Garden Mediterranean Café, or a quick NY style slice at Da Vinci Pizza, downtown Scranton has something for everyone. Many downtown businesses also offer 10% off to students that show their Royal Card. To learn more about the downtown discount program visit the Office of Community Relations website.

Scranton Area Information Resources

Discover NEPA is a great local resource guide with information on the many things to do here in the City of Scranton and beyond. Scranton Tomorrow is focused on downtown Scranton and follow the University’s Office of Community Relations and the Mayor of Scranton for regular posts on area activities.

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