One of the premier rail-trails in the Northeast, the Pine Creek Trail in Pine Creek Gorge offers travelers a spectacular 61-mile journey through the area commonly referred to as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. With numerous trailheads, comfort stations, campgrounds and small towns along the route, the well-maintained trail is ideal for an afternoon excursion or a longer trek. The trail is crushed limestone but is suitable for most bike tires.
The Jersey Shore, Pine Creek & Buffalo Railroad began operating here in 1883, carrying timber to sawmills in towns along the floor of the gorge. The railroad also transported coal north to New York State. The last freight train passed through in October 1988.
Relatively flat, with a grade of only 2%, the trail runs from Wellsboro Junction south to Jersey Shore, traversing Tioga and Tiadaghton state forest lands. For 55 of its 61 miles it hugs Pine Creek, offering great views of dramatic rock outcrops and numerous waterfalls, and providing access to whitewater rafting and canoeing in the spring. You may be lucky enough to see an eagle, osprey, coyote or even a black bear on the hillside adjacent to the trail. Other wildlife can also be spotted in the gorge, including deer, wild turkeys, herons, hawks, river otters and beavers.
Horseback riding is allowed on portions of the trail. To use the hard-packed dirt path beside the trail between Ansonia and Tiadaghton, equestrians should park at the Ansonia trailhead.
There are many other access points along the route. Several access points with parking are located south of Blackwell along Route 414. The parking lot at Rattlesnake Rock is a popular drop location for canoe and bicycle shuttle services. Another large parking lot is located at the southern end of the trail just north of Waterville.
To reach the northern trailhead from US 6, where it meets PA 287 north of Wellsboro, turn left to travel north on PA 287 and then turn left on Patten Road. The trailhead is on the left beyond the ice cream shop.
The reach the southern trailhead from US 220 in Jersey Shore from Lock Haven, take US 220 and exit at Thomas St.; at the top of the hill turn right at the stop sign then head down hill to the first traffic light. Turn right onto Railroad and go 2 blocks; the trailhead, restrooms and parking lot is on your right.
From Williamsport to Jersey Shore, take US 220 and exit at Thomas Street; go up the ramp to the stop sign, turn left, go over the overpass and proceed down hill to first traffic light; turn right onto Railroad Street and go two blocks to the trailhead on your right.
There are numerous other access points along the trail's route.