Pennsylvania\’s Pine Creek gorge is one of my favorite stops when I\’m visiting the Pennsylvania Wilds region. Often called the Grand Canyon of PA, or PA Grand Canyon, this gorge spans nearly 50 miles and is about 1,000 f/305 m deep. The grand views and natural beauty are nothing short of spectacular.
Leonard Harrison State Park
Leonard Harrison State Park offers something for everyone. This location is a well developed state park with parking, seasonal facilities, and viewing platforms. They often host events and sometimes have food trucks on site.
I tend to drive into Wellsboro along route 6 and then follow route 660. This route takes you through the picturesque town of Wellsboro, and past the Potter-Tioga Visitor Center. This visitor center center has tons of information for the surrounding area, including driving tours you can take yourself. Yes! More things to put on my ever growing Life List (formerly known as Bucket List).
Viewing Platforms: The viewing platforms are large and well maintained. There is a section of the platform that is wheelchair accessible. Although there are levels of the viewing platform that you cannot access with a wheelchair due to steps, but you will not be denied prime views of the gorge and hills. There are picnic tables and benches to sit, relax and enjoy your visit. Sometimes the park has food trucks and events, so check their calendar for scheduled activites.
Fall Foliage: Leonard Harrison and Colton Point are favorite destinations for viewing or photographing the riotous colors of autumn. You can expect dense crowds during the peak season. But if you\’ve seen the views – you will understand why! But don\’t wait for fall – this is a beautiful location at any time of year.
Trails: If you want to feel adventurous, try your hand at the Turkey Path Trail which takes you down to the river and back up to the viewing platforms. There is also the Rim Trail from the Colton Point State Park, which is relatively flat and doesn\’t have the steep climb out of the gorge.
Pine Creek Rail Trail
Pine Creek Rail Trail is a \”Rails to Trails\” collaboration of DCNR and it extends 65 miles from Wellsboro (and goes through the Pine Creek Gorge) and ends at Jersey Shore. Jersey Shore, despite it\’s misleading name, is a town in Lycoming County, PA and not in New Jersey. =)
This trail is extremely popular for a variety of outdoor activities. When I drive along the river on Owassa road, I almost always see groups of people enjoying the trail. I have always wanted to take the horse drawn wagon ride on this trail! I\’ve had to put a pin in that Life List goal until after the pandemic passes.
There is another little known “hidden gem” that I particularly enjoy: driving down to the river’s edge and driving along the Owassa road. This road is not paved, and can be a bit rough, but it is still a beautifully scenic drive. It is an extremely narrow road, so don’t drive this route if you are uncomfortable with really tight squeezes or rough terrain driving.
Wellsboro, Main Street USA
The drive to the Leonard Harrison state park will take you through beautiful and scenic Wellsboro, which is as enjoyable as the park itself. Please treat yourself to this picturesque town\’s hospitality! It is a perfect example of Main Street USA, with a lovely town square, a Main Street full of shops and restaurants. The town\’s main street is lined with gas lamps and these are usually decorated for the seasons. This entire town is the definition of picturesque! Part of my heart wishes I lived closer to these adorable towns, I would visit more often.
Pine Creek Gorge and Wellsboro is one of Pennsylvania’s must-see locations. I really enjoy the sunsets in summer and the fall foliage in autumn. Have you ever visited? When is your favorite time of year to visit? Do you have a must-see location nearby that I should explore?