Monday, April 05, 2021

NorBath Trail Resurfacing Will Be Completed This Week

I've told you before about the Lehigh Valley's best kept secret, a 10-mile trail extending from Cementon to Slatington. Comments from readers tell me there's some great fishing spots along the way, and that you can continue from Slatington all the way up to the Black Diamond Trailhead. That's about 15 miles shy of Wilkes-Barre. Michael Drabenstott, who chairs the Delaware and Lehigh Trail Board, tells me his group is working hard to get there. He's also working at connecting Northampton to Allentown along both sides of the river.

"The entire trail is a hidden diamond that many are just discovering because of the coronavirus," says Pathfinder, an avid cyclist.

This story is about another trail, a 5.9-mile stretch extending from Bath (at Jacksonville Park) to Clear Springs Drive in Northampton. From there, you can dart through Northampton's streets and hook up to the D and L Trail. This connecting trail is called The NorBath Trail. It's named after the Northampton and Bath Railroad, which once operated there.

Northampton County purchased this trail from the railroad when it ceased operations. I've been on it many times, and used to do some of my long runs there when I trained for marathons. No river runs alongside this trail, but there are picturesque farmlands along both sides. As I ramble along, I can hear the cracks of bats and eventually see kids playing baseball and softball at Bicentennial Park. I often paused to watch for an inning. It seems there are tournaments every weekend. It's also a great spot for basketball, and is frequented by many high school and college athletes whom I regularly defeat. In my dreams.

Part of that trail, starting at Clear Springs Drive in Northampton, is being resurfaced by Grace Industries. That $600,000 project will be completed this week, by April 9. 

Just in time for bike riding! 


Anonymous said...

An unusual trail compared with others - and a gem. Thanks for the update!

pathfinder said...

I am glad the Nor-Bath is being resurfaced. It was in dire need of that and the gates being replaced at intersections. Unfortunately the trail crossings at Weaversville and Airport Roads are still the most dangerous in the valley.

Construction is starting today to move the D&L Trail out of the parking lot in Jim Thorpe. This will be a huge improvement since cyclists and hikers usually have to play dodge car when going through the parking lot on weekends. There will also be a rest area for cyclists and hikers at the southern end of the lot at the Mansion Hill Bridge. It is scheduled to be completed by May 15.

Michael Drabenstott said...

Thanks for the shout out, Bernie. We're working on it daily with elected officials at the local, county, state and federal level. Closing the gaps is a priority, but you're right to mention upkeep and upgrades to our trails. Just last week work started on a safer route around (rather than through) the parking lot in Jim Thorpe. We're hoping to announce the start of work on the D&L south of Northampton to North Catty later this spring.

Anonymous said...

We were out on Sunday on the D/L from Slatington north, and the Slate Heritage Trail (3.3 miles from Slatington to Slatedale). Trails are in good condition, came through the winter ok.

See you out there Bernie.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

The Nor-Bath is a beautiful trail and I'm very happy to hear that it was resurfaced and so quickly. I've hiked it into Northampton but the trail ended on a street. There are no signs for the D&L trail that is supposed to continue north. I encountered another couple on that day also unable to find the D&L trail. Do we know if a sign has been installed?

Happy Hiker