The Varden Conservation Area offers a variety of short hiking trails through farm fields, forests, and wetlands. Hiking at the VCA is a great opportunity to enjoy the various plant and wildlife in this scenic area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Below is a list (compiled by the DCNR) of the various hiking trails. Hikers are advised to stay within the bounds of the trails and to respect the Private Property signs along the way.
(Please visit the Maps section of this website for a closer look at the trails.)
Bear Paw Trail: 0.62 miles
This trail follows the western edge of the park and travels through a conifer plantation planted by Dr. Shaffer.
Beechwood Trail: 0.15 miles
Connected to the larger Overlook Ridge Trail, this trail travels through northern hardwood forests and a utility right of way.
Critters Run: 0.08 miles
This is the shortest of the trails in the system. It connects the northern and southern portions of the larger Overlook Ridge Trail. Hemlock, white pine and many northern hardwoods border this trail.
Deer Run: 0.12 miles
This trail bisects Overlook Ridge Trail, going east to west and through a utility right-of-way.
Holster Creek Trail: 0.55 miles
This trail follows the northern boundary of the conservation area and includes the most diverse vegetation in the trail system.
Overlook Ridge Trail: 1.14 miles
This is the longest trail in the system and travels the heart of the Shaffer Tract. This is an excellent trail to see some of the many tree species in the area including: hemlock, white pine, red maple, and ash.
Pond View Trail: 0.43 miles
This trail loops around the spring-fed pond and extends through a conifer plantation where it connects with Shaffers Way. Amphibians and other wildlife are frequently seen during the spring and summer months.
Shaffers Way: 0.23 miles
This trail bears the name of the man who donated the area. Travel through hundreds of conifers he planted.
Wood Tower Trail: 0.79 miles
This trail follows the course of the original power-line built in the 1920s to carry electricity from Lake Wallenpaupack to the Lackawanna Valley.
Bluebird Trail: 0.71 miles
This trail winds around the edges of meadows and allows hikers to observe the plant and animal life.
Steel Tower Trail: 0.27 miles
This trail traverses the road beneath a portion of the newer power-line.
Shortcut Trail: 0.10 miles
A wooded road between the Steel Tower Trail and the barn on Tannery Trail.
Tall Timber Trail: 0.35 miles
This trail winds through woodland connecting Wood Tower Trail to Tannery Trail. This trail presents more difficult terrain than the others.
Tannery Trail: 0.63 miles
This trail begins at the footbridge that crosses Middle Creek, and then extends through an open meadow and into a hemlock forest. Finally, the trail passes an old wheelwright shop before merging with the Bluebird Trail. Most of this trail traverses an abandoned township road.
Middle Creek Trail: 0.45 miles
This trail follows the course of Middle Creek at the edge of a large, flat meadow. Presently, the trail culminates in a dead-end.
Pond Loop: 0.73 miles
This trail begins at the pavilion at the Tannery Road Access, loops around to Middle Creek, passes through a forested area around a pond, and wraps back to the pavilion. This trail is handicapped-accessible.
Note: Hemlock Trail, though shown on the map, is currently inaccessible.