January 27, 2021
Last updated: September 2, 2021
Explore Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon, officially named Pine Creek Gorge, including hiking trails, vistas, overlooks, waterfalls, backcountry campsites, backpacking trails, and more by using our guide below which was crafted by locals to the area (Dave from MyHikes!)
This guide includes 20 amazing hiking trails and 94+ miles to explore that feature some of the most interesting hikes, treks, and points-of-interest at Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon. And since we're local - stationed just a couple of miles from the West Rim Trail - we must know a thing or two about what we're talking about.
Be sure to click additional links provided here to explore hundreds of miles of more trails nearby that we did not include in this list!
Please note that the term "PA Grand Canyon" comprises of several different places as listed below from north to south:
The PA Grand Canyon is a beautiful location near Wellsboro, PA and in the middle of rural Pennsylvania. However, the PA Wilds has plenty of other places to explore like the following locations:
The West Rim Trail at Tioga State Forest near Wellsboro, PA is one of Pennsylvania's best and most popular backpacking trails at just over 30-miles long. This trail boasts some of the best views of the PA Grand Canyon and runs very close to a service road within the state forest, which gives day-hikers easy access to different sections of the trail as well. Backpackers will find this 30+ mile-long trek worth the effort especially during Autumn when the leaves have changed.
The Barbour Rock Accessible Trail at Tioga State Forest near Wellsboro, PA is an easy 1.3-mile out-and-back trail that features some of the best views of the PA Grand Canyon around and sits on the west side of the canyon. The hike in follows a crushed stone path (recently updated in 2020) and blue blazes out to an accessible overlook. You can also find a less-obstructed, but non-accessible, overlook to the east of the accessible fenced-in overlook as well. Hikers can also take the Barbour Rock Trail back to parking for a moderate and less-crowded experience.
Hikers should note that this trail, as of 2020 (due to COVID-19), has become insanely popular and overcrowded. During the Summer of 2020 the parking lot was overflowed with cars parked on the street - please don't be those people and have a backup plan if you find parking lots overcrowded :)
The Mt. Tom Loop at Tioga State Forest in Wellsboro, PA is a stenuous 3.6-mile trek up Mount Tom to a beautiful seldom-seen vista point above the Ansonia Valley. This trail follows two paths up the mountain - one path is very strenuous while the other should be considered hard difficulty for most hikers. The vista point at the top faces west where Pine Creek and Marsh Creek's waters meet.
Chimney Hollow Falls at Tioga State Forest in Wellsboro, PA is a moderate 0.3-mile out-and-back bushwhack of a hike to a secluded and lesser-known waterfall named Chimney Hollow Falls. This waterfall is approximately 60 to 70-feet tall and cascades down Owassee Slide Run creek. Getting views of this waterfall is not easy as the terrain along the creek is very steep and very dangerous. Hikers should bring trekking poles and proper footwear to ensure they do not slip easily. Also note that the road leading to the trailhead can often be flooded if heavy rains have caused Pine Creek to overflow.
The Darling Run Falls hike at Tioga State Forest in Wellsboro, PA is a moderate 1.7-mile out-and-back hike that leads to a lesser-known waterfall, Darling Run Falls. This trail is only for hikers who like to explore the off-beaten path and don't mind getting their feet wet. Almost the entire hike follows a creek upstream to reach the waterfall, so this trail is perfect for the avid adventurer.
The Rim Trail at Colton Point State Park near Wellsboro, PA is an easy 1.5-mile loop trail that features several beautiful views of Pine Creek Gorge / the PA Grand Canyon. This trail is easily accessible by foot from the main road that cuts through the park, making this trail a popular destination for day visitors. The views into the canyon face mostly-north, east, and some south-facing views. Hikers can also get a view of Leonard Harrison State Park across the canyon.
The Turkey Path trail at Leonard Harrison State Park in Wellsboro, PA is a difficult 2.2-mile out-and-back trail that features several large waterfalls that free-fall approximately 50-feet or more. The trail terminates at the Pine Creek Trail (rail trail that follows adjacent to Pine Creek), where hikers can continue exploring.
Hikers should note that this trail crosses Pine Creek and continues on as the Turkey Path trail at Colton Point where hikers can explore more uphill climbs and a large, but hidden, waterfall along the route. The Colton Point State Park section of this trail is 2.7-miles long - making the entire out-and-back hike approximately 4.9-miles long with a lot of elevation gain and loss. Hikers will also get their feet and legs wet by crossing Pine Creek.
The Main Lookout Trail at Leonard Harrison State Park in Wellsboro, PA is an easy 0.3-mile out-and-back paved and accessible trail that features the best views into the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon / Pine Creek Gorge. Visitors do not need to put in much effort at all to get a great payout here; however, this is the most popular place to see the canyon, so expect a crowd during warm months and especially on weekends.
The Overlook Loop Trail at Leonard Harrison State Park in Wellsboro, PA is a moderate 0.8-mile loop trail that features a beautiful south-facing overlook of the PA Grand Canyon called Otter View Lookout. The trail also features an old incinerator built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930's which can be found at the first fork in the trail.
The Pine Island Trail at Tioga State Forest in Morris, PA is a difficult 4-mile out-and-back rugged trail that leads out to Pine Island Falls - a 10-foot tall and ~12-foot wide waterfall that cascades down Pine Island Run creek. This trail sits on the eastern side of the PA Grand Canyon and is more of a backcountry hike - passing through overgrowth and following rugged creek ledges to reach the waterfall.
The Fork Hill Loop at Tioga State Forest in Morris, PA is a moderate 6.4-mile loop trail that features views of the southern end of the Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area - just north of Blackwell, PA. This hike sits on the eastern side of the PA Grand Canyon and is a great trail for a day-hike or overnight backpacking trip.
The Johnson Cliff Vista via Mid State Trail hike at Tioga State Forest in Blackwell, PA is a difficult 2.3-mile out-and-back trail that leads to a stunning southeast-facing vista point at Johnson Cliff. This cliff was named after Tom Johnson, who was the founding president of the Great Eastern Trail Association from 2007 - 2019. Tom Johnson passed away while hiking in Virginia on December 5, 2020; however, this beautiful vista point is a great place to hike in his honor. The hike begins at the Blackwell Access Area for the Pine Creek Trail and follows the Mid State Trail up Fork Hill mountain to the Johnson Cliff vista.
The Bohen Trail at Tioga State Forest near Blackwell, PA is a beautiful trail that begins in Blackwell, PA and heads north along the hills above Pine Creek to two large waterfalls - Jerry Run Falls (aka Jerry Falls) and Bohen Run Falls (aka Bohen Falls). This 8.5-mile out-and-back trail also connects to the West Rim Trail and the West Rim Road; however, to see both waterfalls, hikers do not need to explore all 8.5 miles of the trail. A backcountry campsite sits just 1/8 mile downstream from Bohen Run Falls, making this a great backpacking trail.
The Gillespie Point via Mid State Trail at Tioga State Forest in Blackwell, PA is a difficult 2-mile out-and-back trail that leads to a stunning south-facing vista point at the top of a mountain named Gillespie Point. This is one of the best day-hikes within the PA Grand Canyon because of the views from the top of the mountain that give the hiker a birds-eye view of Blackwell, PA and the southern end of the Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area.
The PA Half Dome hike at Tiadaghton State Forest in Slate Run, PA is a very strenuous 4.3-mile out-and-back hike that leads to the summit of a mountain named Half Dome Mountain where, at the top, are two vista points that face both south and north along Pine Creek. The vistas from the top of Half Dome Mountain include views of the Wolf Run Wild Area, Slate Run, PA, and the southern Pine Creek Valley. This trek should be considered one of the hardest hikes in Pennsylvania not just because of the short elevation gain in a very short distance, but because of the terrain and instability in footing while hiking up Half Dome Mountain. Hikers should come prepared with plenty of water, trekking poles, and the proper footwear before attempting this hike.
The Hemlock Mountain Loop at Tiadaghton State Forest in Slate Run, PA is a strenuous 5.4-mile out-and-back hike that leads to the summit of Hemlock Mountain while featuring stunning vistas of Pine Creek and the Pine Creek Valley. This hike follows the Black Forest Trail, Naval Run Trail, and the Lance Raisch Trail to make up the loop. Hikers will find a great day-hike or overnight backpacking challenge climbing Hemlock Mountain. The payout at the top of the mountain is well worth the climb - especially for backpackers - since there's a beautiful campsite with a vista point near the summit.
The Quarry Mountain Trail at Tiadaghton State Forest in Slate Run, PA is a strenuous 2.4-mile out-and-back hike that features an old abandoned quarry at the summit of the mountain along with a nice vista. This trail includes ~1,000 feet of elevation gain in just 1-mile one-way. During late Summer, mushroom hunters will find a plethora of different mushroom species growing alongside the moss-covered trail leading up the mountain. This trail also leads to the Dragon's Back Trail.
The Dragon's Back Trail at Tiadaghton State Forest in Slate Run, PA is a moderate 3.8-mile out-and-back trail that features a beautiful north-facing view of Pine Creek and Slate Run. To reach this trail, hikers must climb the Quarry Mountain Trail first, but the climb is well worth the effort. After visiting the vista, hikers can find an interesting section of pine trees growing in what appears to be a wild fire burn area as well. Beyond this point, the trail leads hikers directly to the Golden Eagle Trail.
The Golden Eagle Trail at Tiadaghton State Forest and within the Wolf Run Wild Area in Cammal, PA is a strenuous 9.9-mile loop hike that features some of Pennylvania's best vistas within the Pine Creek Valley including the iconic Raven's Horn Vista. This trail is considered one of Pennylvania's best day-hikes since this trail features several vistas of Tiadaghton State Forest and the Wolf Run Wild Area, but also includes old growth trees, and some history along the trail like an old logging camp's camp stove. This rugged and long hike should not be taken lightly. Timber Rattlesnakes are also commonly found along the rocky vistas between the months of April - early October.
The Bob Webber Trail at Tiadaghton State Forest and within the Wolf Run Wild Area in Cammal, PA is a strenuous 3.6-mile out-and-back trail that leads to a stunning vista point called the Wolf Run Bald Vista. This hike is yet another amazing day-hike within Pine Creek Gorge that features a challenging hike while giving hikers a great payout at the end. Hikers will get a view of the Golden Eagle Trail and the Raven's Horn Vista which sits just across the way from the vista. Plan to bring trekking poles and plenty of water for this trek.