From our vantage point on the Pine Creek Trail my friend pointed to a bald eagle soaring over the river. Further along the trail we and some other cyclists had to stop as a porcupine walked across the trail. And we had begun the morning at our campsite admiring a pair of deer having breakfast nearby. Otter have been reintroduced as well although we didn’t see any.
Leonard Harrison State Park
The Pine Creek Trail runs for 67 miles through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. As we had pulled into the Leonard Harrison State Park which is located on the eastern rim of the massive gorge. We immediately noticed that many in the other 25 campsites had bicycles attached to their cars which we would later see on the trail.
The Leonard Harrison State Park is about 10 miles to the west of Wellsboro in northern Pennsylvania and is named after a local businessman who originally developed the “lookout” area which he donated to the commonwealth in 1922. The Civilian Conservation Corps further developed the site in the 1930’s and you can learn more about that in the visitor center.
One of the “top 10 places to bike”
Most visitors to the park just head to the lookout which offers the best view of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania although it is wider and deeper at other points. Some people also stay in the more primitive Colton Point State Park which is located on the western rim of the canyon.
Cycling along Pine Creek
First, we had a short drive to Ansonia Station where there is parking and access to the north end of the route. It is also the location of the Pine Creek Outfitters which offers bicycle rentals and shuttle services.
The local tourist organization states the scenic Pine Creek Rail Trail has appeared often as one of the “top 10 places to bike”. It is a converted railbed that runs along the canyon bottom and is very flat with an 1% overall grade. I found no issues using my road bike on the crushed limestone surface.
Like other trails signs indicate the distance every mile and there are a few campsites along the way to Jersey Shore, near Williamsport. Most of the people we saw were just out for the day but there were a few bicycle touring with loaded panniers.
Turkey Path Trail Hiking
An interesting side trip is about 5 miles into the journey where you can take a hike along the Turkey Path Trail (accessible both from the bike trail and Leonard Harrison Park). This is a very steep one mile hike into the canyon with several waterfalls The Overlook Trail connects with it at the top with spectacular views into the 800 foot deep canyon.
Cycling the Pine Valley Trail is easy, with a flat scenic route where you may expect to see a lot of wildlife.