Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon

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Yes, there is a really a grand canyon in Pennsylvania, though the official name is Pine Creek Gorge. This ancient canyon and surrounding trails offer plenty of incredible lookout points with jaw-dropping panoramic views. Choose the most picturesque drive (along routes 44 and 414) as these roads run along the Pine Creek Rail Tail’s southern side. You can drive around the area in three or four hours, and you can picnic along the way, but it’s best to spend at least one night to appreciate this natural wonder. (The town of Williamsport has the most lodging options). You’ll find other attractions in Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon, including hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and several museums.

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Route 666

Route 666 is dotted with apple orchards
Route 666 is dotted with apple orchards

Route 666: the Highway to Hell—or so you’d think. Ironically, the highway is memorialized in honor of a preacher, Moravian Christian Missionary David Zeisberger. The views? Nothing short of heavenly. Immerse yourself in the dappled shade of dense forest as you pass by apple orchards, horse ranches, and small creeks. Tionesta Creek is especially popular with fishermen.

Just around the bend, find a rustic mountain pub, Cougar Bob’s Kellettville Tavern, that invites first-time visitors to “Kiss the Moose,” hanging high on the wall.

No. 2 – Seaway Trail

    Flickr user: Andrej Baran
Flickr user: Andrej Baran

Starting Location: Erie, PA Ending Location: Presque Isle State Park, PA Length: 14 miles Best Season to Drive: All See this drive on Google Maps

This seaside drive may not go far but it works overtime in bringing things to delight the eye and mind to those that travel it. With making a few stops to enjoy what this route has to offer, it can easily take up an afternoon or entire day. Don’t miss Downtown Erie’s Renaissance Bayfront District with two lighthouses to tour and chic shopping opportunities, and enjoy all manner of activities at Presque Isle State Park from biking to swimming.

Art in the Wilds

Art in the Wilds is a juried fine-arts show held in Evergreen Park in Kane each year near the end of June. Featuring artists from a variety of mediums, high quality food vendors, a student art show and art demonstrations, admission is free.

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No. 9 – Journey Through Gettysburg

    Flickr user: RunnerJenny
Flickr user: RunnerJenny

Starting Location: Brush Creek, PA Ending Location: York, PA Length: 100 miles Best Season to Drive: All See this drive on Google Maps

This trip along Route 30 passes right through the heart of Gettysburg, where travelers should stop and explore the Civil War battlefield up close. For travelers with only a passing interest in history, however, there are still plenty of beautiful views on the drive. Pull over to enjoy the numerous overlooks in the Appalachian Mountains and the Michaux State Forest on the way.

Bushkill Falls, PA

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Considered the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” Bushkill Falls is located in the pristine Pocono Mountains along route 209 that offers plenty of breathtaking views. Situated about 100 miles from Philadelphia, Bushkill Falls is an ideal destination for a road trip and best to start out early in the morning, as Bushkill opens at 9 a.m. Once at Bushkill, you can see eight dramatic waterfalls, hike scenic (but easy, marked) trails, go fishing and enjoy paddle boating and natural scenery. Nearby, you can explore another waterfall, Resica Falls, as well as the Pocono Indian Museum, Millbrook Village, and Sugar Mountain Stable for horseback riding. 

The Back Roads of the Laurel Highlands

There’s a lot of beauty to enjoy on the road
There’s a lot of beauty to enjoy on the roads of the Laurel Highlands in the fall.

Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands region is a 3,000 square mile nature-lover’s paradise, spanning three counties and encompassing several state parks and state game lands. 

It also hosts a vast number of back road adventure options to explore, including navigating your way between two of the other back road trips on this list:  Route 40 and Routes 31/30.

Fall is the perfect time to visit Ohiopyle State P
Fall is the perfect time to visit Ohiopyle State Park.

You could dedicate several different blogs to all of the things there are to see and do in the fall in the Laurel Highlands.  I won’t begin to try to go through that here.

But, in addition to all of the wonderful activities close at hand, the area is home to a dynamic collection of excellent back roads to explore.  You can easily spend a day wandering north, south, east, and west on the curvy winding roads that climb the foothills of the Highlands. 

There’s a lot of beauty to be found in the L
There’s a lot of beauty to be found in the Laurel Highlands.

Many of the state routes in the area weave through the various parks in the area, and are both scenic and fun to drive.  Some of my favorites are 381, 711, 653, and 982. 381 is especially enjoyable, as it cuts through several small towns in the area, Ohiopyle (the state park AND the town!), and gets especially twisty once you get north of Route 31. 

Many of the smaller side roads are also enjoyable to explore.  They allow you to fully immerse yourself in the experience of discovering everything that the Laurel Highlands has to offer – and they give you a glimpse into what daily life is like for the folks who live there full time.

Brandywine Valley Byway

Take a trip through the picturesque town of Kennett Square all the way to Wilmington, Delaware for 15 miles of wildflowers, tulips, and oak trees. If the smell of mushrooms wafts into your open windows, you’re not going crazy. Kennett Square is the mushroom capital of the world. 

If you are driving by in early September, make sure to stop by the annual Mushroom Festival and save room for the soup and wine tasting.

Our local tourism partners provide on-the-ground tips, maps, itineraries and more

PA Route 6 Alliance

The PA Route 6 Alliance provides in depth traveler information for US Route 6 in Pennsylvania, a State Heritage Corridor. Approximately 3.5 million people travel historic US Route 6 through Pennsylvania each year; the PA Route 6 Alliance provides information and itineraries for visits to historic sites, national and state parks, artist studios, and quaint rural towns that remind us of the true America.

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