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The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania


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Photos by Linda Blachly. The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon is really a gorge, known as Pine Creek Gorge, that winds its way through a beautiful wilderness landscape.

Photos by Linda Blachly. The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon is really a gorge, known as Pine Creek Gorge, that winds its way through a beautiful wilderness landscape.

Published on: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

www.tripsandgetaways.com

An outdoor adventure getaway means something different to everyone. From the weekend warrior who wants to flirt with nature to the serious explorer who wants to become one with nature,  travelers will find all levels of outdoor adventure in Tioga County, Pa.

Tioga County is known as home of the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.” Even if you've traveled to the real Grand Canyon in Arizona, you will still be awestruck by the natural beauty of this one, and it comes dressed in the beautiful lush greenery we all love about the Mid-Atlantic region.

Tioga County is located in North Central Pennsylvania (near the New York border), just a four- to five-hour drive from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City and Baltimore/Washington, .D.C., area.

Visitors can explore Pine Creek Gorge in a on horseback or in a covered wagon through Nature Quest.

Visitors can explore Pine Creek Gorge in a on horseback or in a covered wagon through Nature Quest.

The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon is really a gorge, known as Pine Creek Gorge, that winds its way through a beautiful wilderness landscape. The gorge is surrounded by approximately 165,000 acres of the Tioga State Forest. The canyon  is approximately 47 miles long. The maximum depth of the canyon is 1,450 feet at Waterville, near the southern end.

The canyon embraces a natural waterway—Pine Creek—and was formed about 26,000 years ago during the glacial period. Bordered by Leonard Harrison State Park on the East Rim and Colton Point State Park on the West Rim, the canyon is a breathtakingly beautiful site that attracts thousands of visitors per year.

There are many ways to view the canyon and take advantage of the beautiful area. You can drive to the scenic overlooks at Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks, where the depth is more than 800 feet. These overlooks offer the most spectacular views and nearby trails are perfect for beginners who just want to wander around and take in the view.

Hiking the Turkey Path from Leonard Harrison State Park will wind you past waterfalls and areas of beautiful scenery. The trail steeply descends one mile to the canyon floor. The Overlook Trail, a .6-mile loop, offers a scenic vista along the way. Picnic areas, a playground, a seasonal, visitor center and gift shop are also available for your enjoyment.

Visitors can take a train ride on the Tioga Central Railroad, where you can see up to 42 miles of the Pennsylvania and New York countryside.

Visitors can take a train ride on the Tioga Central Railroad, where you can see up to 42 miles of the Pennsylvania and New York countryside.

Colton Point State Park features the rustic charm of the Civilian Conservation Corps era of the 1930s. The park also highlights four miles of hiking trails, including the Turkey Path Trail. This very narrow trail steeply descends to the floor of the canyon and does not allow access across Pine Creek to the other side of the gorge. Many more miles of trails are accessible through the Tioga State Forest, adjacent to the park.

One of the best ways to explore  the area is through Nature Quest, www.naturequestadventures.com. Nature Quest offers many adventure tour packages—from beginning to advanced—that include horseback riding and wagon rides, hunting, birding and fishing. Nature Quest also offers wildlife watching excursions —its popular one is the Elk Trek—and a variety of themed hiking and biking tours around the rim of the canyon and to the area's waterfalls. Their experienced tour guides and experts offer a wide range of adventure for all ages and skill levels.

Tioga Central Railroad

Another way to enjoy the beauty of the area is to take a train ride on the Tioga Central Railroad. You will see up to 42 miles of the Pennsylvania and New York countryside as you pass scenic fields and forests, roll along Crooked Creek's sparkling waters, and enjoy the splendor of Lake Hammond.

The climate-controlled train offers clean restrooms and a snack bar. The dining car is wheelchair accessible. The Tioga Central Railroad offers Saturday dinner trains and Sunday brunch trains and has many special excursions. All trains depart from the Wellsboro Junction, just three miles north of Wellsboro. For more information, visit www.tiogacentral.com.

Wellsboro

Called the Gateway to Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon, Wellsboro is a quaint, friendly town that offers lovely, well-preserved architecture, wide gas-lit boulevards and a pedestrian-friendly environment. The five-square-mile town, which is the county seat, was incorporated in 1830 and has a population of just over 3,000.

Visitors will enjoy strolling through the streets with a diverse array of shops, restaurants and family-run establishments.

Wellsboro's Town Green is home to a unique statue called Wynken, Blynken and Nod, based on a 1899 Dutch Lullaby by Eugene Field, which was created in the 1920s and brought to the town in 1938 in memory of a town native.

For information on the area, visit www.visittiogapa.com.

Reader Comments - 1 Total

captcha 97f6f12be501469c87daea5a1c4b16ec

Posted By: Patty On: 6/20/2010

Title: gas co. pumping water from Pine Creek

Very concerned looking for help to stop this from happening. Question where does Pine Creek begin from what waterway? If you are willing to join the cause to keep Pine Creek as is please contact me at padershem@aol.com also with any ideas or contacts. We are a small group but dedicated! Thank you, Patty




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