Jump to content

Wellsboro, PA: The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon


Recommended Posts

This is actually a small town in northern PA, but they host a variety of events and activities. The town is a starting point to the Pennsylvania grand canyon, which by itself hosts amazing views as well as different activities, from short scenic train rides, to horse and buggy rides on the old rail bed in the canyon, to off road events, to a variety of history. The part i like best is that you can see quite a bit in just a day trip, which living 45 miles from there, we do frequently.


The biggest attraction, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, is a few miles south of Wellsboro, but along the way, there are historic buildings, such as turn of the century (1900s) hotels, the town park, which has several monuments to the founders of the town, as well as a water fountain dedicated to the old Dutch children's story, Wynken, Blynken and Nod. It really is interesting to see. The entire downtown area of Wellsboro is full of old 1900s buildings, including a hotel, a restaurant that has been in business over 100 years, an early 1930s movie theater, and even a converted train car that now serves as a diner.
A few miles north, there is a passenger excursion train that offers rides to a pair of man made lakes, known locally as Tioga Dam, or officially as the Tioga-Hammond Lakes Park. The excursion train offers everything from short, quick trips to the lake, to lunch and dinner trains.
Tioga-Hammond lake offers boating, fishing, camping, day use picnic areas, as well as swimming areas, and even a 4th of July fireworks show over the water. The best part, at least for me, is that unlike most places, Tioga-Hammond lake, offers free parking for all their day use facilities, whereas most parks charge for that. If you come in from the north, from Pa route 15, and drive along PA 287, and are heading south, you can see, on the road that runs along the lakes, where miners in the early 1900s blasted through the rock to not only make the road, but also to run the railroad tracks.


There are also rally events that are hosted by the Waste Management Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally. Their website is http://www.stpr.org/ You can find information on their site about not only rally and off road events, but other events in the area as well. While the rally events aren't actually full-on rock climbing, trail buggy style events, they are very fun to watch.


A few miles away, there is also the town of Tioga, which hosts several events, from a county fair, to mud bogging, and even truck and tractor pulls.


Now, on to the big one, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. As you head out from Wellsboro, on the way to the Grand Canyon, there is not only some very beautiful scenery, but also some historic sights, such as camps from the 1930s for the miners who built the railroad that went through the canyon, to a small zoo that although it isn't very big, does have a diverse array of animals and is a nice place to visit, especially, if like me, you have children who are fascinated with animals. A few of their attractions include a tiger, reindeer, and from time to time, an elephant.


Before you get to the canyon top, the road winds through tree filled small hills, and offers some very impressive scenery. Once you get to the canyon, at the top, which unlike a big hike, you can pull into the visitors center and gift shop, right on top of the canyon. They do offer hiking trails along the top of the canyon that have some amazing views of the canyon and surrounding area. You can sometimes also see Bald Eagles, and Osprey in flight. The visitor's center also offers pay to watch ($0.25) binoculars, and if you know where to look, you can see the camps that are situated on the side of the canyon, from when the railway went through there.


Once you are done hiking the trails, and spending time at the top of the canyon, you can then go to the bottom, and not only ride bicycles through the bottom, there are also a couple of companies that offer horse and buggy rides through the entire canyon as well. Motorized traffic, however, is not allowed, and is strictly prohibited in the bottom of the canyon. There are places that allow for picnic stops, and there are even hiking trails at the bottom of the canyon. Along the bottom of the canyon, you can see original and restored rail stations and also see the camps that are left from the days that the railroad was first built. According to the history, guys moved millions of tons of rock and dirt, with crude equipment, so that the railroad could be laid at the bottom of the canyon. All in all, it is a good place for a day trip, or even a week or two, because the area has so many activities and events.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I wanted to add a couple pics to this, some i took recently, as well as a scan of an old post card showing a miners cabin from the 1930's, that still sits on the side of the very steep hill about 80 feet up from the canyon floor. The first one shows the canyon from the vistors center at the top of the canyon. On the right side you will see a thin gray line. That is actually the base of the canyon, next to the river, that was once the rail bed, and is now a hiking trail. The second shows one of the horse and buggy rigs that you can ride on through the base of the canyon, and the third one is the old post card.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...