If you’re like me and don’t always get a chance to travel across the United States but want to see all its wonders, there is a place in Pennsylvania that will almost feel like you’re seeing the real thing. It’s called the Grand Canyon. Unlike the official Grand Canyon which is in the desert, Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon called The Pine Creek Gorge is set in the Tioga State park near Wellsboro. The canyon is over forty miles long with mountains, rivers and at some places is over 1,000 miles deep.
I stumbled onto this place many years ago when my mother was getting married and wanted a place for a honeymoon; nothing too extravagant, just a place outdoors, to be with nature. There are many hotels you can stay in but if you’re more of the outdoorsy type there are cabins in the area you can rent. The rates are affordable and cabins can be for two or for a group. There are campgrounds where you can pull out your sleeping bag and stay the night. I personally like the comforts of a bed & breakfast which can be also be found here. Some will have such luxuries as Jacuzzis, fireplaces and swimming pools.
Whether you’re an extreme sportsman or want a leisurely weekend you can do either here. The trails are not difficult, while some are a mile long. Of course there are areas where if you’re looking for a work-out, can be found. One of the most popular trails is the Pine Creek Rail Trail. It starts in Ansonia and continues to the Jersey shore. There are over 57 miles of bike riding, hiking and an area for equestrian riding. It has been voted by USA Today as one of the “ten great places to take a bike tour.” Or you can try the West Rim Trail that was voted “best hike in Pennsylvania” by Outside Magazine. If you’re only looking to sight-see, there are horse-drawn wagon rides during the summer. In winter you can travel some of the trails by cross-country skiing or even snowboarding.
As you make your way through the canyon, you will come across people who are backpacking or simply bird-watching. Many bird watchers come to this area to see the Bald Eagle. Fishermen will be here with their boats making a day of it. You want to make sure you visit the Vista views with camera in hand as it has extraordinary views of the canyon. The Vista views are Colt Point on the west rim and Leonard Harrison on the east rim. In Wellsboro there is an observation tower costing three dollars to climb and you get a magnificent view of the canyon.
During the summer, Bluegrass festivals are held, some lasting up to two weeks. You can make your way to the many museums from art to glass making. In Morris, Pa. there is Oregon Hill Winery, where you can sample and purchase wine. As you venture into the surrounding towns you will find many places to dine and find antiques. Not only will you be able to shop at department stores but you will also have the luxury of shopping at quaint bookstores, hobby and quilt shops. If you forget any outdoor gear at home, you can purchase whatever you need. There are also places with bike rentals and shuttles to pick you up from your destination.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend away with friends or a romantic getaway, Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon offers anything from outdoor sports to leisure walks with magnificent views of the scenery.