Pine Creek Rail Trail – through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania
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.”
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.
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.
We had one brief rattlesnake sighting – it crossed the trail in front of us.
One of many waterfalls from the feeder streams flowing down the mountains into Pine Creek.
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.
There was a lot of activity on the river – canoeing, kayaking, fly fisherman, tubing, frolicking families.
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