Alright, friends, let’s give you something to do this weekend, shall we?
Not every walk in the woods needs to be 10 miles up a mountain. Sometimes the best hikes are relatively short and close to home. Enter good ol’ Nay Aug Park and the Davis Trail. Now if you’re from the city, you know Nay Aug … the treehouse, the pool and yes, the gorge, which is a National Natural Landmark. It’s also the home of a lot of tragedies.For generations, kids have swarmed to the gorge to jump from the cliffs into the water. To be honest, it’s easy to see why. It’s an incredible place and reasonably secluded for a city attraction. It’s also illegal, so let’s respect that law if for no other reason than it’s dangerous and people get hurt.
I would also bet that while a lot of you know about the Davis Trail, many of you have never done the whole thing. Let’s change that because it’s worth it!
Back to the Davis Trail. I started from the Arthur Avenue side near the greenhouse. The trail is mostly crushed stone or packed dirt and a super easy walk. In fact, I did the first mile while carrying a coffee. Before long, you will hit the lookout over the gorge. There are a couple of nice spots to check it out and they’ll be immediately obvious to you. There is wood fencing up in the best areas for checking out the gorge. The path to the main lookout is rocky. It’s not at all difficult to navigate but watch your step. From there you have a terrific overall view of the gorge. The waterfall is right in front of you. Aside from being able to hear the traffic from Interstate 81 to our right, it’s a perfect place.
Let’s keep on keeping on and hit the trail again. It’s mostly flat from here and you will go under the famed treehouse, which is closed right now for repairs. The trail meanders along Roaring Brook and you have some options for some side trails. I took several of them. You can actually follow the Davis Trail right up until you hit the East Scranton Little League field. Better yet, save that for later and take a right down the hill and hit the Kanjorski Bridge for another great view of Roaring Brook. A trail picks up on the other side of the bridge. This is really one of my favorite parts of Nay Aug. It feels more secluded and the path is packed dirt, roots and some sparse rocks. Along that path are a couple more lookouts over the gorge. I dig these because you are a little higher up, giving you a unique perspective. I should also say there are some areas along this part of the trail with very steep drop-offs and no fencing to warn you. The views are great but be smart and watch your step. I actually took the trail all the way to where it intersects with Interstate 81. I believe there used to be a bridge over the highway but I couldn’t tell you the last time it was there.
I retraced my steps back over the Kanjorski Bridge and headed out toward the end of the trail at the Little League Field. This might actually be the best part of the trail. There are a couple of spurs that will take you right down to Roaring Brook where the water runs smoothly. I hung out there a little bit and made sure my rock skipping skills were still intact. It was a beautiful spot. I probably should have stayed longer but I dipped my feet in the water and then headed back onto the Davis Trail to finish it before turning around and heading back.
In the end, if you stay on the Davis Trail and don’t go over the Kanjorski Bridge, you are looking at a 2-mile, out-and-back hike. I turned it into 4 miles, which was perfect for a morning stroll. It’s also a great walk for kids, so bring them along! As a quick aside, there is far too much litter in the area around the gorge. Here’s a not-so-gentle reminder. If you bring it in, bring it out.
One last thing:
Didn’t see him
Until next time, friends. I’m headed to either Binghamton, Ithaca or Vermont this weekend. I’m not sure yet, but we’ll do this again soon and I’ll let you now what I find.