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Otter Overlook in Leonard Harrison State Park near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

Finding Adventure at the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

This is a guest post from Angela Anderson from AngelaTravels.com.

Did you know that Pennsylvania has a Grand Canyon located in Tioga County just west of Wellsboro, PA?

Carved by Pine Creek, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, or Pine Creek Gorge, has amazing views of the rolling Appalachian Mountains and is being preserved as a National Natural Landmark.

Get out and explore Pennsylvania’s finest and do what the locals do on the weekends: enjoy nature. From birds to bears, the wildlife will keep you on your toes while exploring what the gorge has to offer.

Below are some great recommendations for finding adventure in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

Hiking

There are several short hikes to choose from.

If you are looking for a short hike, consider hiking the Turkey Path down to the river. You’ll pass many waterfalls as you switch back down to the gorge floor.

Is two miles not enough? Hike along the Pine Creek Rail Trail to add some miles to your hiking boots. However, be ready to gain elevation as you climb back out! If you do not want to hike but want an overlook, the vista at the Turkey Path trailhead provides great views into the gorge.

If you are feeling ambitious and want to do some overnight backpacking, the West Rim Trail is a popular option and is 30 miles. Add to the gorgeous views of the hike by hiking during fall foliage for color.

White Water Rafting/Kayaking

Pine Creek in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

Rafting and kayaking down Pine Creek is popular during times of higher water.

If you are looking to dabble in some easy white water conditions on your own, consider practicing here when the water levels are just right in the spring and fall.

On company, Pine Creek Outfitters has guided and non-guided activities and rentals. A family run establishment with great character, they give you the true experience.

Jump in the water just behind Pine Creek Outfitters and kayak, canoe, or raft the 17 miles through the gorge before reaching the shuttle pick-up point.

Biking

Rent or bring your own bikes to the gorge and ride along the gorge floor on the Pine Creek Rail Trail, a relatively flat gravel trail system. It is a great way to see the gorge quickly and was reviewed by USA Today as one of the top places to take a bike tour in 2001.

Camping

To get a full experience of the area, consider camping. There are multiple state parks that are located within Pine Creek Gorge, along with privately owned campgrounds.

Choose from multiple campsites as you set up a home base to explore from. Pine Creek Outfitters does a great job for providing information on all the accommodations for the area.

I have many memories of exploring the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

I have done multiple Thanksgiving morning hikes, no matter the weather, on the Turkey Path to build up an appetite for a homemade country feast.

I’ve also kayaked Pine Creek on Memorial Day weekends. It is interesting how water levels can vary from one year of scraping bottom at times to white water the next. The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon always surprises me with different experiences each visit.

Plan your trip today!

See map below for other area attractions.

AUTHOR - Angela Anderson

Angela is travel blogger sharing how to make the most of vacation days. She enjoys hiking, backpacking trips, and city touring. She was born and raised in Potter County, Pennsylvania and is a small town girl at heart. Follow Angela at AngelaTravels.com.

8 Comments

  • Pat

    Nice post. I’m hoping to make it up to the PA Grand Canyon this winter for some snow shoeing.

  • Jay

    The canyon is not east of Wellsboro, as this article states. It is west of Wellsboro… unless they moved it since this morning.

    • Jim Cheney

      Thanks for letting me know, Jay. I’ve corrected the article to reflect the change.

  • Jonathan Neal

    My friend lives here always an joy to go to Mansfield PA love it there.

  • Bradley G. Rice

    Don’t forget to look for Wintergreen, especially the berries. Chew up a bunch of leaves and/or berries and notice how good they taste ! ! ! !

    • Jim Cheney

      Of course, you always want to make sure you are 100% what they are before you start eating wild berries.

  • Cassie

    Any tips for where to go for a good view from the top? A good vista point and/or short walks? I’ll be driving the 80 West through Tioga County next weekend and I’d love to stop to take some photos. We won’t have all that much time for a stop, and my mom is only able to do short, flat walks. Thanks!

    • Jim Cheney

      If you only have time for one, I would do the main observation deck at Leonard Harrison State Park. It isn’t the best view, but it’s completely paved and relatively flat from the parking area to the overlook (100 yards). If you have more time, the view at the main overlook at Colton Point State Park is good, and Barbour Overlook, probably my favorite, has a 0.7 mile handicapped accessible trail.

      Keep in mind, while it’s well-worth the drive, the Grand Canyon’s best spots are about 90 minutes from I-80. If you really want to get a feel for it, the drive from Jersey Shore to Slate Run is nice, but you’ll be in the Canyon the whole top, not above it.

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