The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

Really, Pennsylania?  The Grand Canyon? Hardly.

Some of our most favorite spots are places that have been recommended to us by fellow campers. That’s how we found ourselves headed to Wellsboro, home of The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Leonard Harrison State Park is located there, so we take a chance that there will be an open campsite, being that it’s midweek. Although this is a tiny little campground, there was no trouble getting a spot – altough once again, there was no electric power, no water, and no phone signal. 20151013_160543Three nights seemed to be the magic number – a day to get set up, a day to hike, and a day to bike.

A word to those traveling with pets who camp. We’ve found out that State Parks in CT don’t allow dogs in the campground. State Parks in PA do allow dogs, but only in restricted areas. We had a choice of just two sites. So, check in advance, and reserve a site when you have to.

Fall colors seem to have already come and gone here. 20151013_153540There are a few golden maples hanging around, but everything is kind of a grey, cloudy Here Comes Winter kind of color. We decide to hike with Jezzy to the bottom of the Canyon, down a fairly steep trail. The only difficulty was that it had rained in the night and early morning, causing the wooden steps along part of the trail to be very hazardous. We crept along like geezers, clutching the railing, and trying to keep our boots on the ground. At the bottom, we encountered a blizzard of falling leaves – the photo really doesn’t quite capture how many of them were whirling around our heads.20151013_11561820151013_114820The bottom of the Canyon, along the Pine Creek, is about 600 feet from the top – a pretty view, but not really worth of the moniker Grand Canyon. Two years ago, we visited the Grand Canyon of the East in New York, and found that to be a more appropriate name. But, John googled Michigan Grand Canyon, and came up with this, so I guess Pennsylvania looks pretty good after all.

The Pine Creek Trail runs for 60 miles long the bottom of the canyon. Perfect for a bike ride. We drive to one of the many access points, and roll on to the gravel trail, just in time to see two huge wagonloads of Amish tourists enjoying the views.20151014_110411We pedaled about 17 miles down the Trail, enjoyed a spot of lunch sitting on the steps of an 1860s church, then turned around and headed back. 20151014_13224120151014_135304Along the way, we encountered a few other cyclists, but mostly we had the Trail to ourselves.  Fine with us!  My big discovery for the day?  These enormous maple leaves (Acer Giganticum?). They were twice as large as my outspread hand.20151014_121527It’s been ten days since we wandered out of civilization. Time for a bit of urban camping – we’re anxious to read a newspaper, catch up with friends and family, and visit a brewery. Heading to Harrisburg.


10 thoughts on “The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

  1. Hope you enjoy Southcentral PA. Good luck finding a newspaper since the only Harrisburg paper prints just 3 days a week. We live about 2 miles from the capital city and would love to look you up but we’re leaving with T@B in tow to Sharon’s Coastal Caravan on Sunday.
    Really love reading your travels.
    Len & Pam – Camp Hill, PA


    • Ha! Our Grand Rapids paper prints only three times a week as well. Without digital subscription to the NY Times, we’d never know what’s happening in the world.

      We have enjoyed Harrisburg. Your State Capitol building is spectacular. I was floored! Could have happily spent a few days prowling around in that building.

      Would love to go on the Caravan. Say hi to all of the Caravan see for us. It would have been great to meet you and Pam. We are headed off to Gettysburg area for a few days, then slowly working our way westward.


  2. So nice to hear of your adventures again, was getting concerned with no blog posts but now I know why. Darn electricity hook ups! Travel on my friends and enjoy. Think of me facing day after day of drudgery in the office—while I think of you traveling and enjoying the beauty of the north east. Hugs!


    • We can get along well without the Electric hookups, but without WiFi or phone signal, it gets pretty lonely sometimes.

      We’re winding this trip down already. Got all of our stops planned until we land on our doorstep at home. Always happy/sad to wrap up an adventure.


  3. Here in North Georgia, the leaves are just beginning to turn (less than 10%). We’re headed to Tallulah Gorge State Park next week hoping to catch them in progress. Last week we were up in the Blue Ridge Mountains at Moccasin Creek State Park and there was no color yet. Your description of the Grand Canyon of PA reminds me of Carl Pilkington’s description of the Great Wall of China from “An Idiot Abroad” when he said ….. it’s kind of an ok wall, but I wouldn’t say it’s great” :-)


    • Love that quote. Think we need to resign ourselves to the fact that the only colored leaves we’ll be seeing are the ones waiting to be raked up in our yard when we get home!

      Did you get your new camper yet?


  4. I’ve been to MI’s Canyon Falls near Baraga. Certainly worth the stop if you are passing them already, but not worth a special trip! It is a nice point to get out and stretch your legs if you are headed to Houghton or Copper Harbor.


    • We may have stopped there on our UP trip last year. All falls are fun, and worth a glance, but we did laugh at calling it the Grand Canyon of Michigan. Maybe the Pretty Good-Sized Canyon would be more appropriate.

      Guess it’s all a matter of perspective, eh Jill?


  5. The Grand Canyon of PA probably did look pretty grand until the push west brought the Europeans to the real Grand Canyon. It’s too bad that your timing was slightly off, I like the views as there’s nothing like them in southern Michigan, but if some of the fallen leaves were still on the trees, it would look even better.


    • We thought we might be able to move south, along with the color, but that was not to be. Either it happened everywhere all at once, or (more likely), we weren’t moving far enough every few days to stay ahead of it. Bummer, because I really like the thought of traveling with the color as it moves.

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