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Pine Creek Rail Trail

Mile-by-Mile Guide to the PA Grand Canyon Biking, Hiking, Skiing and Horseback Riding Trail...

      65 miles of Pure Enjoyment! ...Families, Friends and Couples will all enjoy The Pine Creek Rail Trail, one of Pennsylvania’s most scenic treasures. The gradual grade is barely detectable and makes for an enjoyable bike ride, walk, or ski, and in portions, horseback ride. From its southern terminus in Jersey Shore Pennsylvania, the Pine Creek Rail Trail travels through Lycoming County north into Tioga County.
  From the editor:      I have covered the mile-by-mile tour of the Pine Creek Rail Trail and I sincerely hope that this article helps you on your way to a great adventure. I have enjoyed rides departing from each of the access areas along Pine Creek and I recommend them all!

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Pine Creek Rail Trail

     ...A scenic wonderland filled with cliff walls and water falls, and a gorgeous waterway with a terrific trailside terrace that travels through miles and miles of majestic natural beauty; trees and mountains, deer and bear and fresh air, otters and eagles, and an ancient canyon trail that awaits your arrival...the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Pine Creek Rail Trail, family with their bikes loaded into a truck getting ready for a ride.
Mile-by-mile Guide:

Pine Creek Rail Trail sign indicating North and South
     From north to south, the Pine Creek Rail Trail extends from Wellsboro Pa to Jersey Shore Pa.

To locate the northern head of the trail, travel to Wellsboro Pa. From Main Street turn onto Charleston Street. There you will find access to "The Yard", the newest addition to th PCRT. Only a portion of the new extension is open but will soon connect the trail at Butler Road Access.

The Yard - The head of the Pine Creek Rail Trail on Charleston Street, Wellsboro Pa.

To locate Butler Road Access, travel north from Wellsboro on rt.287 to Wellsboro Junction. There you will see the Pag Omar farm market. Turn left onto Marsh Creek road then a quick left and go past the farm market to the Rail Trail parking area.

Pag Omars at Wellsboro Junction

     From here the Pine Creek Rail Trail parallels rt. 6 and Marsh Creek Road for 4 miles to the Cavanaugh Farm Access.

PCRT Cavavaugh Farm Access

This makes a nice stop on the way to the Marsh Creek Access. The Marsh Creek Access parking area is set up for horse trailering and this is the area to access for riding horses.

PCRT Marsh Creek Access, parking for horse trailers.

Marsh Creek Access area has access for riding horse.

From here the Pine Creek Rail Trail parallels rt. 362 to the Darling Run access and parking area. This is the northern access to the PA Grand Canyon and one of the most popular areas to start a bike ride or walk/run.

The Pine Creek Rail Trail's most popular access, Darling Run Access.

Darling Run has a parking area, comfort facilities and posted information.

PCRT Darling Run Access area has parking, information and a comfort station.

     There are no intersecting roads from Darling Run to Blackwell. This 16 mile section is the most secluded and pristine, this is the national natural landmark known as the Pine Creek gorge or the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. The PA canyon offers vista views from Leonard Harrison State Park on the east rim (via rt. 660)

PA Grand Canyon, Leonard Harrison State Park.

and Colton Point State Park on the west rim (via rt.6/Forest road).

PA Grand Canyon, Colton Point State Park.

These overlooks are visible from the Pine Creek Rail Trail at the slightly northern half of the canyon trail tour. Here you will pass the Turkey path, a hiking trail that winds its way to the top of the canyon, to the Leonard Harrison State park lookout area. There is a snack bar, information and bathrooms. Some facilities may only be available seasonally.

Facilities at Leonard Harrison State Park.

     Past the canyon overlooks, farther south on the Pine Creek Rail Trail you will arrive at Tiadaghton. This is 7.7miles from Darling Run. This is a very pleasant place to stop and have a picnic snack, and a look at the beauty.

Tiadaghton at the heart of the PA Grand Canyon.

Tiadaghton Access are in the PA Canyon. (I should add here that yes, there is a road into Tiadaghton, BUT it is BIG time hairy, YES, it is steeeeeeeep. And 4 wheel drive and really good brakes and tires and health insurance are highly recommended and travel at your own risk, etc. Guided tours may be available)

The road down into Tiadaghton is steep and dangerous.

There is a picnic area and toilet facilities at Tiadaghton. This is along Pine Creek where critters, including eagles and bears, like to visit. Awesome!

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     The bicycle tour continues south 8.3 miles through more amazing wilderness along pine creek at the base of the canyon to Blackwell, accessible from car via routes 287 to 414. This is the southern access to the PA canyon.

     The Pine Creek Rail Trail continues south from Blackwell 1.8 miles to a nice parking area and a fantastic secret feature attraction, Rattlesnake rock. This is an area that is worth exploring. A little narrow foot path extends off of the trail towards pine creek and brings you to a beautiful large flat rock area that sits in the creek. Stop and take a moment to enjoy the compelling structure and surroundings.

Pine Creek Rail Trail, Rattlesnake Rock Access.

     Another 2.7 miles south and you will find yourself at the quaint village of Cedar Run, a small settlement along pine creek, and plan ahead for fantastic fare at the Cedar Run Inn.

The Cedar Run Inn at Cedar Run Pa.

Pine Creek Rail Trail Map

Gear Tip: Bicycles with wide tires seem to do best on the Pine Creek Rail Trail, either Mountain Bikes or Multi-Speed Cruiser Bikes seem to be the popular choice. There is a packed fine gravel surface that at times may be too soft to support a narrow road type tire, so the wider type tire generally works better. Be certain to bring along your safety gear including a helmet, also a pump and a bicycle tire patch kit (or two).
Biking and Hiking in the PA Grand Canyon   Bring your mountain bike OR just your walking shoes, and let the adventure begin. The extremely gradual grade makes for easy bicycling, or hiking.

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     ...Those civilizations who came before us, the people who settled here or traveled through, must have without a doubt walked the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and felt that certain awe and serenity that the pine creek gorge exudes, compelling one to explore this sculpture of a landscape...

    Adventure for all ages.
Memories that last a lifetime!

... Pine Creek Mile by Mile Guide continued ...

From Cedar Run continue 3.4 miles to Hilborn Fields and then 2.7 miles to Slate Run where there is a general store with supplies, yummy baked goods, snacks and fishing gear.

Slate Run Pa. Travelers can fuel up, get a snack and shop for fishing gear.

     The Pine Creek Rail Trail runs along route 414 through this section. Just one mile past Cedar Run you will find one of the largest and nicest access facilities. Tomb Flats provides plenty of open grassy space, trees and water front, and parking space along Pine Creek with camping and a comfort facility.

Tomb Flats access are is a large area with grass, trees and water.

Pine Creek Rail Trail. Tomb Flats Access.

Continuing 0.8 miles from Tomb Flats to Black Walnut Bottom, there is a nice pull off, park and picnic spot along the creek,

Pine Creek Rail Trail, Black Walnut Bottom Access.

Continue 2.7 miles to Ross Run.

Pine Creek Rail Trail at the Ross Run Access.

From Ross Run it is 3.1 miles to the Cammal Comfort Station. As you continue south from Cammal, it is 5.4 miles to Dry Run and then another 2.3 miles to the Waterville Access Area. In the town of Waterville you will find a couple restaurant/bars for your dining pleasures and entertainment.

PRCT Waterville Access area.

Bike riders on the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Waterville Pa.

     The southern leg of the Pine Creek Rail Trail travels along route 44. From Waterville it is 4.3 miles to Bonnell Flats and then 4.5 miles to Whitetail.

The Whitetail Access Area on the PCRT.

Pine Creek Rail Trail, Whitetail Access area.

The final stretch heading south on the Pine Creek Rail Trail is a 2.8 mile section to the Jersey Shore Access area. This is a modern facility displaying an Old Train, with plenty of parking and a large rest room..

The Jersey Shore Access Area displays an antique train.

Pine Creek Rail Trail, Jersey Shore Access area.

Pine Creek Rail Trail access area at Jersey Shore PA.
Most new travelers to the area will want to experience the section of the trail between Blackwell, Tiadaghton and Darling Run, but if you are making this a quick trip, from say Harrisburg, or Philly, etc., you may want to stay in Williamsport and start your adventure at the Jersey Shore access area, which is about ten minutes from Williamsport.

goHere are several choices for
Lodging in Williamsport.

Pine Creek Rail Trail. Jersey Shore access area parking. From the editor:
     For the bike riders among us, it has been my experience that the wind can be more of a factor than the actual grade of the Pine Creek Rail Trail. On a blustery day, you may at times experience the wind actually pushing your bike uphill against the grade, and visa versa, perhaps inhibiting a coast. It’s all part of the fun.

     Horseback Riders can park at the Marsh Creek access area. There is sufficient room for horse trailers to maneuver and park. From the Marsh Creek access area to Tiadaghton, horse riders can use the dirt road that travels along side of the rail trail. This is a beautiful ride through a sweet spot on the Northern part of the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

     Dog Lovers will happy to know that our furry friends are allowed on the trail. Dogs must be on a leash and under control at all times. Pets of course do best if they are good natured and are able to respect people, horses, critters and other dogs. There are streams, springs and puddles that pets like to drink from, but I always bring fresh water and a small bowl. It's always available and I know it's good water. It is also a very good idea to have tick and flea protection. I have found the Seresto Collar to be most effective.

     There are several roads leading north into the PA canyon area. From Williamsport, off of I80 and 180, rt.15 north has exits for Mansfield (to Wellsboro) or Liberty (to Morris / Blackwell). From rt.220, at the Jersey Shore area, a more scenic drive is rt. 287 north to Morris and Wellsboro, or the most scenic drive, rt. 44 and 414, traveling along side of the southern portion of the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Pine Creek Rail Trail Map (see larger image)