Hike the Seven Tubs Recreational Area in Wilkes-Barre, PA

Wilkes-Barre is a city in North Eastern Pennsylvania, and it is the seat of Luzerne County. The Susquehanna River forms the city’s northwestern border, and Wilkes-Barre sits in the middle of the Wyoming Valley.

Wilkes -Barre was founded in 1769. Throughout much of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century, it was famous for its coal mines. The city’s coal industry, unfortunately, declined after World War II. Under Mayor Thomas M. Leighton (2004-2016), the city embarked on a revitalization project that included the construction of a theater complex and the establishment of River Common, a park along the Susquehanna River that has an amphitheater, fishing pier, fountain, and gardens.

Wilkes-Barre’s Downtown Riverfront Park System encompasses 91 acres. In addition to River Common, the Park System manages Kirby Park and Nesbitt Park.

What is the Seven Tubs Recreation Area?

The Seven Tube Recreation Area is a nature area about four miles south of Wilkes-Barre’s downtown. It is regarded as one of the best things to do in Wilkes-Barre. It generally takes less than a quarter of an hour to drive from the city to Seven Tubs. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources owns Seven Tubs, and they have made it open to the public.

Seven Tubs formed during the Ice Age around 12,000 years ago. As the glaciers melted, the resulting water gouged out the smooth potholes or tubs that inspired the area’s name. A stream called Wheelbarrow Run flows through the tubs and meets up with a bigger stream called Laurel Run. There are also waterfalls in the area.

What Can a Visitor Expect to See There?

The Seven Tubs Recreation Area is home to a variety of plants and animals. About sixty species of wildflowers have been found in the Seven Tubs including jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), wild lettuce (Prenanthes alba), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), and pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule). Common trees in the area include bear oak, hemlock, tulip tree, American sycamore, flowering dogwood, and several types of pine trees, birch trees, and chestnut trees.

Birdwatchers can enjoy the Seven Tubs. Depending on the season, they might see barred owl, brown thrasher, eastern towhee, and yellow-shafted flicker. Game birds like the ruffed grouse and wild turkey also make their home in the Seven Tubs. Birders might also spot the saw-whet owl and the whippoorwill. These last two are rare throughout much of their ranges but are still common in the Seven Tubs.

Visitors might spot mammals like deer, foxes, long-tailed weasels, brown bats, and opossums. Black bears also sometimes turn up. Authorities recommend that anybody who encounters a black bear should slowly back away while speaking softly.

What Can You do at the Seven Tubs?

The Seven Tubs is a 500-acre area with multiple hiking trails, many of which start or lead to the tubs. Many of the trails are designed for novice hikers, and there are even a few places that are accessible by wheelchair. There are some areas where people can go rock-climbing. Many of the rocks in the water are coated with algae, so visitors who want to wade should do so carefully. During the summer, visitors may swim in some of the tubs, but not the waterfalls.

What Should a First-time Visitor do?

A first-time visitor should go to Wheelbarrow Run with its titular seven tubs. The trail’s entrance is fortunately near the parking lot. Visitors cross the wooden bridge over Wheelbarrow Run and then hike upstream. They may follow a hiking trail that’s about 2.25 miles long and loops back to where Wheelbarrow Run and Laurel Run meet.

Seven Tubs is popular, so visitors who want to avoid crowds should either go on a cool day or early in the morning.

What is the D & L Trail?

The D & L Trail is part of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor that encompasses historic railroad and canal routes. The Corridor covers five counties: Bucks, Carbon, Lehigh, Luzerne, and Northampton. Work on the Trail began in the 2010s, and the completed Trail will run north-south and stretch 165 miles. The northern part of the Trail will end at the Seven Tubs Recreation Area, while the southern part will end in Bristol. So far, 135 miles of the trail have been completed. Hikers, walkers, and cyclists will be able to pass through towns and access several parks.

Where is The Seven Tubs Located?

The Seven Tubs street address is 900 Bear Creek, Wilkes-Barre.

Visitors coming from the city of Wilkes-Barre may choose from several different routes. One of the quickest is to head north on I-81 and take Exit 170A onto PA-115 S and head to Bear Creek. The entrance to Seven Tubs will be on the right.

For more information, call (509) 675-1312.