Future Visit: Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania
Pine Creek Gorge, also known as The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, is situated in approximately 160,000 acres of the Tioga State Forest in the state of Pennsylvania along Pine Creek. The Canyon begins south of Ansonia, and continues for approximately 47 miles south. The maximum depth of the canyon is 1,450 feet near the southern end. At Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks, the depth is more than 800 feet and the distance from rim to rim is approximately 4,000 feet.
Pine Creek Gorge is a product of the last ice age. Pine Creek had flowed northeasterly until about 20,000 years ago. The creek was dammed by rocks, soil, and other debris, pushed there by a receding continental glacier. The dammed creek formed a lake near the present town of Ansonia. The glacial meltwater that filled the lake overflowed the debris dam. This caused a reversal of the flow of Pine Creek. The creek flooded to the south and quickly carved a deep channel on its way south to the West Branch Susquehanna River.
White-tailed deer, beaver, turkey, black bear, river otter and fisher have all returned to the forest surrounding Pine Creek Gorge. Even the once endangered bald eagle can once again be seen nesting in the gorge. Today the gorge is a largely wild area. It is home to a wide variety of trees, plants, and animals. The gorge provides recreation to thousands of visitors every year. Due to its unique terrain, and northern latitude, snow covers the forest floor well into the Spring months weeks after the last snows have fallen. During the fall the canyon is a very popular tourist destination when the leaves have turned, leaving tones of gold, red and evergreen for miles around.
As of 2006, the former rail line has become part of Pennsylvania's extensive network of rail trails. Hikers and bikers have the chance to see waterfalls and rock formations as they travel the trail. There are opportunities to spot bald and golden eagles that have made their homes in the gorge. White-tailed deer, coyotes, ospreys, heron, river otter, black bear, and turkey can all be seen within the walls of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.
I am very excited to go on a hiking vacation of Pine Creek Gorge this summer. I believe that the landscape, animal watching and hiking should be a tremendous adventure out of New York State.