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Pine Creek Rail Trail – through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

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Looking down on the PA Grand Canyon and Pine Creek Rail Trail from the West Rim Trail in Colton Point State Park

By: Pat Coate

Just back from a biking/camping trip with my husband on the Pine Creek Rail Trail in North Central Pennsylvania. The Pine Creek trail is an old rail trail that starts in Wellsboro, PA and runs about 60 miles to Jersey Shore, PA. We rode about 30 miles of the trail, from Darling Run to Black Walnut Bottom, camped at Black Walnut Bottom, and then biked back the next day. This part of the trail passes through Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks, aka “The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.”

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Hubby on the trail

The trail is hard-packed gravel with a very mild 1-2% grade (slight downhill going north to south). Most parts run right along the river and the trail crosses the river several times. Many parts of the trail are beautifully lined with sycamore trees, distinctive by their mottled bark.

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Crossing Pine Creek on an old railroad bridge

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Bald Eagle

We saw lots of wildlife including a rattlesnake, deer, a family of raccoons, voles, hawks, great blue herons, bald eagles, and lots of other birds. The eagle pictured above was perched right above the trail.

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Rattlesnake warning

We had one brief rattlesnake sighting – it crossed the trail in front of us.

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Trail waterfall

One of many waterfalls from the feeder streams flowing down the mountains into Pine Creek.

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Our campsite along the river at Black Walnut Bottom

We stayed at one of the primitive campsites run by the state park system. We needed a permit (which they emailed to us), but there was no charge for it. The campgrounds are well kept and very scenic. There were about 15 sites at Black Walnut Bottom and only two were used the night we were there.

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Beautiful sycamore lined stretch of the trail

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There was a lot of activity on the river – canoeing, kayaking, fly fisherman, tubing, frolicking families.


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2 responses

  1. Tom

    Very cool!

    18 July 2013 at 9:31 am

  2. Ret

    PA is a beautiful State. Lots to see there. Great pic!

    18 July 2013 at 1:28 pm

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