Head to Hazleton’s rail trail for National Trails Day, taking place this Saturday.

From the trailhead on East Broad Street to the junction in Hazlebrook, the trail pierces 6 miles of pitch pine barrens and mountain laurel, overlooks Dreck’s Creek Reservoir, follows a bridge over an active railroad and ducks through a tunnel beneath a coal haul road.

Whether walking or bicycling, visitors will find the terrain along the former rail line well packed and level. There are inclines after the bridge and approaching a picnic area above the reservoir. A spigot there dispenses rainwater collected from the roof for dogs to drink. Distance markers along the way help visitors gauge their pace.

Exercise stations offer opportunities for them to vary their workouts. Benches on the trail and picnic tables in a grove at the trailhead and pet rest areas provide spots for lunch.

Plaques point out history and natural history of the region. Walkers have seen hawks, ruffed grouse and other birds, bears and deer.

On Monday, the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails, a committee of Greater Hazleton Civic Partnership that maintains the trail, scheduled an opening for a children’s book walk that it developed with Hazleton Area Public Library.

Volunteers this spring installed boxes that will display storybook pages that people can read in intervals as they walk. The tale will change periodically.

While COVID-19 cases are declining and statewide restrictions lessening as National Trails Day arrives, the trail provided respite during the pandemic.

People from throughout the Hazleton area found the trail a place where they could keep physical distance while exercising their body and refreshing their thoughts.