Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks in Pennsylvania

from Off the Beaten Path | 318
Leonard Harrison State Park, Pennsylvania© 2009 DCNRThe Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania is a favorite subject for photographers. Pine Creek streams its way through the gorge.

10 miles west of Wellsboro, off Rte. 660, Pennsylvania

Occupying mountains on opposite sides of Pine Creek Gorge, each park offers breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and the course of Pine Creek as it snakes its way between heavily forested ridges.

Although family camping facilities are available, both parks are largely in their natural state. Rhododendrons, azaleas, and wild laurel, which usually bloom in mid-June, abound. Both parks offer a variety of hiking trails. Those at Colton Point are somewhat more challenging.

The popular Pine Creek Trail cuts through the floor of the canyon where a railroad once ran. The tracks were removed in 1988 to make way for a smooth, flat 62-mile biking and hiking trail that starts in Wellsboro Junction and runs to the Jersey Shore, while paralleling the beautiful Pine Creek the entire way. Cross-country skiers may enjoy it during the winter.

The great stands of pine for which the creek was named were logged off in the 19th century. The second-growth forest standing today includes black cherry, aspen, red oak, black birch, beech, white ash, shagbark hickory, sassafras, and sycamore. In autumn this diversity creates a broad palette of colors that dominate the landscape as far as the eye can see, making it a photographer’s haven.

Mountain streams and creeks are stocked with trout and other freshwater fish. The best angling begins after mid-June, when the creek begins to dry up. Rafting should be enjoyed earlier. Both supervised and unsupervised white-water raft trips down Pine Creek are arranged by a local concessionaire.

Open year-round, but winter access is limited; camping mid – Apr. – mid – Oct.

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/leonardharrison.aspx

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/coltonpoint.aspx

(570) 724-3061

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