May Is A Great Month To Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trail

May Is A Great Month To Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trail

Rails to Trails (19 of 36)
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Last week I decided to hike the local Greater Hazleton Rails to Trail near my home in Luzerne County. It was dreary and overcast but I was surprised with the amount and variety of migrating song birds I saw on my five mile hike. There were birds fluttering in the trees all along the trail. So, I decided to return on Sunday and see if they were still  there. The weather was completely  different. It was summer-like, hazy, hot and humid, with temperatures in the 70’s when I began my hike. I love this kind of weather. 

I immediately noticed the  trees have finally started to change into  their green Spring foliage. We are a few weeks behind the rest of our area because of our high elevation. I also noticed a lot less bird song and activity. Their were birds still singing but not like last week when the trail echoed with so many songs.  There were no ovenbirds as began my hike. Last week they were everywhere. I did see another  blue-headed vireo

and red-eyed vireo. Both were singing loudly form the tree tops.   But that was it, I was a little disappointed.

However, even without all of the migratory birds, I still enjoyed  my hike with he sun shining on the new lush green woodlands along the trail. 

There were some wildflowers blooming, the delicate Canada mayflower, 

the  sweet white violets, 

and a lot of high bush blueberries or, as we locals call them, “swampers” “huckleberries”. I have picked hundreds of quarts in the heat and humidity of July in the swamps and wetlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

There were also plenty of ferns growing along the trail including these pretty cinnamon ferns.

I hiked to the wetlands area near  the trail where I saw and heard so many song birds the week before.  This week I only saw this female eastern towhee, 

a few chipping sparrows, and

this colorful Baltimore oriole

I returned to the trail and walked in the woodlands along the stream that still supports native trout. 

Here I saw some more wildflowers, including some  pretty pink azalea or “honeysuckles” as my dad called them,

some wild strawberries, 

and this pretty blue flax. 

Flowers attract insects and butterflies and I saw these two, a northern crescent and a 


The trail soon took me through a culvert beneath an active coal mining haul road and up an embankment where it  continued through a large reclamation area. As I noted in my previous blog,  first there were  many deep underground anthracite coal mines in this area. The area was then strip mined leaving large, steep pits and culm banks. The pits and culm banks were leveled about 30 years ago in a mine reclamation projects and are now creating a second or third growth forest.

Last week I found many song birds in the the  young  birch, pine and aspen trees growing in the reclamation area, but not on this hike. It was very quite. The trail continued  across the active railroad right-of way,

and into an area where some of the strip mine pits and culm banks that remained from the mining operations. 

This strip mine filled with water and created a small. scenic lake along the trail.

The stream that feeds the  strip mine “lake” flows beneath the trail.  This stone structure was built for the railroad right-of -way sometimes in the early 1890’s. I have provided more specific information on the history of the railroads in earlier blog post with you can find by using the search tool.

Soon after I passed this lake the woodlands became older and thicker, 

her I found this pink lady slipper or, as my dad called them , ducks flowers. I love seeing them in the Spring. 

There were also star flowers growing on the forest floor . 

In these deeper woods I heard and saw a few ovenbirds. There were dozens of them passing through our area last week and I am glad a few decided to stay. 

I finished my 2 1/2 leg of my hike at the pine barrens I described in last weeks blog. 

On my way back I saw a couple of  these beautiful birds singing in the trees along the trail.  indigo buntings. 

I think they are one of our prettiest migratory birds.

As I walked back along the trail, some high clouds appeared in the clear blue skies. but the temperature still rose into the mid 80’s. I loved the heat. 

As I finished my hike I saw another indigo bunting, 

a couple of field sparrows,

and this black and white warbler.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw my hike.  Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails hike. May 22 2022.

I didn’t see as many migratory birds as  on my  previous hike but I enjoyed my hike on the trail. It’s a great place to hike in May, and, actually, any month of the year, well, maybe not in deep snow in January. I tried that and it wasn’t really that great. But still better then bring inside! Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike. Greater Hazleton rails to Trails May 22 2022


It’s spring again. I can hear the birds sing again.

See the flowers start to bud. See young people fall in love.     

Lou Rawls

This is my first post


  1. Carol on May 25, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    The beautiful ferns are INTERRUPTED, not CINNAMON.

    • on May 31, 2022 at 7:55 am

      Thanks I appreciate the corrections I am an amateur and help is always helpful, sorry so busy but I will correct it Thanks!!!

  2. Gina on May 25, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Great pics!!

    • on May 31, 2022 at 7:56 am