Seven Tubs Natural Area near Wilkes-Barre is one of those places that I’ve heard about for years and never went. That was a stupid mistake.
Right upfront I’m going to tell you it’s a MUST visit for a bunch of reasons. First, the access is insanely easy. I went from Clarks Summit on Interstate 81 and got off at Wilkes-Barre on Route 115. It’s no more than a mile or two on 115 before you are at Seven Tubs. If you are travelling on I-81 in the area, it’s absolutely worth stopping – if for no other reason than you can see cool waterfalls without breaking a sweat.
I’ve read that Seven Tubs is like the little sister to the famed Ricketts Glen Falls Trail. That seems about right. Once I parked the car and got out, I could immediately hear waterfalls. Being an experienced waterfall chaser, I headed that way.
Seriously, what I found was astonishing. Right at the entrance to the trail is a series of falls that are breathtaking. I was thinking how rare it is to have such easy access to an area like this and how secluded it immediately felt, even though a major highway was only a mile away.
The trail is marked by yellow blazes and is generally easy to follow. I say generally because I had to backtrack a couple times, not necessarily because it’s poorly marked but because I tend to wander without paying much attention or I will see something cool and just go that way. There are also some spur trails. It’s always been my opinion that if you have time, take the side trails and see what they have to offer. A lot of the time you will find yourself in an area that is lightly used and will give you a different view.
I’m guessing the loop is about three miles. You can add more with side trails, and the walk is pretty easy. I was struck a bit during the walk that the trail is just a great mix of rock trails that gain elevation and give great views of waterfalls, and packed dirt and roots that wind through what I would call an open forest area.
There are some ups and downs and when it’s wet, watch your footing, especially if you are getting too close to the edge trying to get a photo. (See photo No. 1). The trail is well-maintained and it gets a lot of weekend traffic. If you can, do it during the week, like I did; you’ll be rewarded with a lot of solitude and time to look around. This is not a hike that is going to exhaust you. Take a camera and take your time. There’s a lot to see and you can meander without having to worry about knocking out a bunch of miles. I spent maybe an hour and a half strolling along. There is more to the area, and I’m absolutely going back.