Wednesday, June 15, 2011

West Rim Trail, Tioga County Pa.

With the rain finally giving way to nicer weather here in the Northeast, My wife and I decided to take a day off from work and take a hike in the woods. Living only a few miles from the Pennsylvania border, we decided to go hike part of the West Rim Trail. The west rim trail is a 30+ mile hiking trail in North Central PA with it's northern terminus outside of Wellsboro Pa and it's southern terminus in a small town called Blackwell. Since this was a day hike we decided to hike in for a couple of hours then hike back out the same route. Googling "West Rim Trail PA" and "Pennsylvania Grand Canyon" will get you plenty of info about the trail and the area around it. The scenery is stunning and outdoor opportunities are everywhere.

The start of the trail is steep at times and crosses a couple of small creeks and then a state park road before finally leveling out and following the West Rim of the Pine Creek Gorge. In the first couple of miles you'll get glimpses of Pine Creek and The Pine Creek Rail Trail (a converted rail path for biking, walking, etc.) to your left. This part of the trail runs through Colton Point State Park and soon you'll hit the overlooks which offer incredible views of the gorge and creek. You'll see plenty of Turkey Vultures and if your lucky, the occasional Bald Eagle soaring over parts of the canyon.

Earlier in the hike we had come across a rather "fresh" present from a wandering bear right in the middle of the trail. Just as the trail was passing the overlooks, we caught up with him and my wife caught a glimpse of him when he realized we were behind him and he took off running, not giving us the opportunity for any pictures. There is a lot of Black Bears in this area and your chances of seeing one are pretty good. Just remember to keep your distance.

The trail wanders through patches of Mountain Laurel, which was just starting to bloom. Absolutely Beautiful.

On the way back out my wife saw a large bird sitting about 20 feet off the trail up ahead. As we got closer we realized we were looking at an Immature Bald Eagle and he didn't appear to be in any rush to leave. We quietly took a few pictures and stayed a respectable distance away so we wouldn't disturb him. They are an impressive bird, I have seen them before in flight but never one this close. They are magnificent creatures. We quietly headed back down the trail and back to the car.

Round trip we ended up hiking about 9 miles, and taking our time to see the sights it took us about 5 hours. I'd like to go back soon and do a 2 or 3 day backpacking trip to see the entire trail, hopefully I'll have time this summer for it.

Until next time, Be safe and enjoy your time in the outdoors.

Thanks for reading,



  1. I plan on taking a trip to Pine Gorge Creek this summer, how crowded does it usually get?

  2. It is a popular area in the summer. The first few miles of the west rim trail are usually busy, once you get a couple of miles in you'll see fewer people. The rail trail which runs along side of Pine Creek is always busy with walkers, bike riders and horses. It's a beautiful area, hope you enjoy it!