Do you and your friends ever get bored of the monotonous routine of going to classes, getting assignments in, and going out on the weekends? Are you looking for something a little more invigorating to spice up your week?
I know personally that a strict and boring routine kills my will to try my hardest. To break that routine, I like to take some time to explore all the awesome outdoor areas around Bloomsburg.
For most of these places, you’re going to need to grab a friend with a car (or a car of your own), fill up the gas tank, and hit the road.
1. Bloom Beach
First and probably the most well known place in the Bloomsburg is Bloom Beach. This is a little beach on Fishing Creek, and you can find it by going down Irondale road.
Off Irondale road there will be a path that leads to Bloom Beach. It’s a great place to spend a spring afternoon. Grab your swim trunks, a case of beer and some friends, and kick back in a lawn chair in between taking some dips in the creek. Hell, you could even grab an inner tube and do a nice lazy river. Just make sure you get out of the creek before you hit the Susquehanna River!
- Old Reading Railroad Bridge
I could spend hours around this area just exploring the bridge and the trails on the other side of the Susquehanna and checking out the scenery. This tends to be my go-to spot to show friends that are visiting me an adventurous weekend.
The Old Reading Railroad Bridge used to be used for trains that traversed the Susquehanna back in the day before the rail system was re-routed. Now the bridge is just a relic of the past, left there to rot and rust away into history. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to witness a bald eagle flying around that lives on the mountainside near the bridge.
To get here, you’re going to park in a small parking lot off of Train Street on the outskirts of Bloomsburg. Then you’re going to follow the train tracks away from Bloomsburg until you reach a couple of old abandoned train cars that are now used for advertising on Route 42. You’re going to have to find a way around the small pond next to the platform the abandoned train cars are on. Once you’ve crossed the pond it’s smooth sailing. Follow the grass path back towards the platform the abandoned train cars are on and then take a right on the grass path that goes up to the abandoned train cars. Keep following the path and it will bring you right onto the bridge.
- The Old St. Nicholas Coal Breaker
This spot might be a little dangerous because of the rust, sharp metal objects, and multi-story drops in some areas. If you visit this place, I would advise you to be a little cautious. It’s located outside of Mahoney City, just 45 minutes away from Bloomsburg.
I would absolutely say it’s worth a day trip to go explore this multi-story abandoned coal breaker. When I went in, it was pretty surreal to see how dead a once bustling building is today. In some parts, it gets kind of spooky because you will find yourself in the bowels of a giant steel trap with no light. It’s filled with a lot of old rusty machines and switchboards that a lot of men used to sweat over to spit out usable coal to help sustain the town of Mahoney.
You can find this place by going to Mahoney and following Route 54, aka W. Centre St., away from Mahoney. Continue onto Route 54 by taking a right before the road turns into Gilberton Rd. You’ll be able to see the Old St. Nicholas Coal breaker once you take that right turn. Just make sure you’re up-to-date on your tetanus shots beforehand.
- Zen Rock
Now for this place, you should grab a hammock because you’re going to want to watch the sun set here. Zen Rock is pretty much a lookout point that you can drive right to and look out to the other mountains. Right below the lookout point is an area where the Susquehanna River used to flow until it naturally re-routed itself to where it flows today. When you visit here, just make sure not to slip on loose rocks near the edge of the cliff and fall off. It’s a pretty safe location as long as you don’t goof around near the edge.
To get here, you are going to drive out of Bloomsburg on Route 487. Follow 487 all the way to Catawissa, and 487 will converge with Route 42 in the town for a little while. Follow 42 until you take a right onto Mount Zion Road, which is less than a mile down the road from Catawissa. Take Mount Zion for about four to five miles down and take a left onto Sharp Ridge Road. On Sharp Ridge Road, there will be a gravel pull-off on your right-hand side. Park up there and follow the trails through the woods to the look out point. You will not regret making the effort for this trip.
- The Powder Hole
This is by far the coolest spot. There is a lot of history and beauty to behold here. The Powder Hole was a black powder factory from 1856-1914. They used to transport the black powder they made here on a trestle going over a 30-foot waterfall. This is a very big cliff-jumping spot around the local area. I have only been able to visit once and need to go back to explore the whole entire area.
You can find directions to The Powder Hole here. There are multiple gravel pull-offs on the side of the road. I’m not sure which one is the best, but when I went I had to bushwhack down a near-vertical hill and walk through the creek to get to the waterfall. Make sure you bring an old pair of shoes to wear when you wade through the water and cliff-jump.
If you’re able to make it to any of these spots at some point in your college career, I would suggest you do so. These places help reset my brain and get out of the everyday funk of college that can stress me out immensely. Every now and then it’s always good to be able to get out into nature and relax for a while.