Parks and Rec

The Drive: Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
Miles: 272
Simple Pleasures: An 1890s Weekend, Sept. 28 and 29, in Mansfield, Pa. (13 miles east of Wellsboro), celebrates the anniversary of the world’s first night football game.
Turkey Path Trail descends more than 800 feet over the course of a mile, sidestepping rock-layered waterfalls and mushroom-studded trees, and eventually reaching the eastern side of Pine Creek, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

This Grand Canyon, officially named Pine Creek Gorge, is unofficially known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. You won’t see exposed orange rocks that are millions of years old, and you probably won’t encounter too many mule tours in this particular canyon; the gorge lies inside the Tioga State Forest, where the only desert shades you’ll find are on the autumn leaves falling from the trees in late September and early October.

Leonard Harrison State Park, situated on the east rim of the canyon, encompasses 585 acres and offers great lookout spots. It’s also where you’ll find the eastern Turkey Path Trail. Colton Point State Park anchors the western rim of the canyon. It’s home to the three-mile western Turkey Path Trail.

To get right in the middle of it all, head for Wellsboro’s Mountain Trail Horse Center. The company takes riders on horseback tours of all lengths, from a half day to five-day expeditions through the forest and into the mountains of the Seneca-Allegheny chain. But the highlight (especially if you want someone else to do the work after a long day on the trails) is a covered wagon ride that takes you through the basin of the canyon.

Camping spots abound in the area’s parks, with primitive sites available for hikers. Or, for an old-fashioned taste of luxury, stay at the Falling Stars Bed and Breakfast nestled in the foothills just a few miles from the canyon. The main house, a log cabin with wraparound porch, sits on 47 acres of farmland. www.visittiogap
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