Skip to Main Content Jump to Main Content
Hero Background Dots
Things to See & Do at Archbald Pothole State Park image
Parks & Lakes
May 30, 2023
Things to See & Do at Archbald Pothole State Park

The World’s Largest Glacial Pothole Is Right Here In NEPA

A one-of-a-kind natural wonder can be found right here in Lackawanna County. The Archbald Pothole State Park, a small but alluring 150-acre park in Archbald, is home to one of the most fascinating and unique geological formations in the state: the Archbald Pothole.

The massive geologic feature was formed by glacial activity during the Wisconsin Glacial Period some 15,000 years ago. The impressive glacial remnant is nearly 40 feet deep with a diameter of over 40 feet.

Deemed the world’s largest glacial pothole by the World Record Academy, it’s considered one of the finest specimens in the world. The pothole is believed to have been created by a waterfall or stream bed flowing from a glacier.

A must-see for any nature lover in Pennsylvania, the Archbald Pothole has been a popular attraction for tourists and geologists since it was discovered in 1884 by coal miners extending a mine shaft. A blast dislodged 1,000 tons of small rounded stones. Once cleared, they learned that the vertical tunnel was in fact a large pothole.

Fun fact: The pothole has a volume of about 18,600 cubic feet and can hold roughly 140,000 gallons of water. It would take 35 fire truck tankers to fill it.

Visitors can get an up-close view of the focal point of the park from a fenced observation deck.  The area hangs out over the top of the pothole and allows visitors to view its full depth.


Hiking, Nature and Wildlife


Archbald Pothole Trail Loop

After you’ve inspected the impressive pothole, take a leisurely walk through the park. NEPA’s natural beauty meets industrial heritage on the small loop trail. The flat surface trail is less than one mile and begins on the wayside of the park. It follows the picturesque route of a former coal mine tram road which leads you past jagged rock ledges and through a dense forest.

Be sure to bring your binoculars because birding along the hiking trail is a must. Blue jays, red winged blackbirds and American robin are often spotted in the park. Also, be on the lookout for wildlife like white-tailed deer, turkey, squirrels and chipmunks.


Area Attractions


Tannersville Cranberry Bog

After you’ve checked out the enchanting pothole and taken a walk through the park, hop in the car and find more beautiful things in NEPA. There are plenty of nearby attractions worth a visit.

Continue your tour of NEPA’s greatest geological features with a stop at Hickory Run State Park’s Boulder Field. It’s located just 60 miles south on I-476. Sixteen acres of red sandstone and quartz conglomerate boulders are a sight to behold. Walk across and explore the natural wonder created from the last glacial period 20,000 years ago.

From there, a short 30-minute drive east on I-80 leads you to the Tannersville Cranberry Bog. It’s the southernmost low altitude boreal bog on the eastern seaboard. And while it doesn’t have a massive pothole or giant boulders, it is home to a 150-acre wetland of carnivorous plants, rare orchids and other unique and endangered species of plants. There are two public access walking trails, but to experience the boardwalk trail through the bog, you’ll need to plan ahead. The bog is owned by the Nature Conservancy and can only be visited during scheduled hours.

If you’re looking for more hiking, biking, fishing and water activities, several nearby parks fit the bill. Blakely Borough Recreation Complex is just 12 minutes away on US-6 BUS. It’s a designated public access point to the Lackawanna River and has basketball and tennis courts, a playground, and walking trails along the river. It serves as an extension of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail and is a popular spot for a game of pickleball.

The 1,445-acre Lackawanna State Park is 15 minutes west of the pothole and includes 18 miles of hiking trails and 15 miles of multi-use trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. Or drop your kayak, canoe or boat in the water in the 170-acre Tobyhanna Lake at Tobyhanna State Park, located 40 minutes southwest.


Plan A Trip



Archbald Pothole State Park, within the Blue Ridge Mountain Range, is located along Business Route 6 in between Blakely and Mayfield. Take 1-81 to exit 191A to US 6 east towards Carbondale. The park is six miles on the right. It is located just 20-minute northeast of downtown Scranton. And you’ll have no trouble finding the pothole when you arrive. It’s easy to spot right next to the parking lot.

The park is open from the second Friday in April until the third Saturday in November. Its day use areas are open from dawn until dusk.