Views at the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon (East & West Rim)

Yes, there is more than one Grand Canyon and Pennsylvania has a nice tree-covered one of its own. If you like mountain views, hiking, camping, picnics or anything along those lines, then maybe you should stop by the PA Grand Canyon yourself.

There's a lot you can do at the Grand Canyon, but I'm going to focus mainly on the mountain views from both sides of the canyon. There are actually two separate state parks on opposite sides of the Pine Creek Gorge: Colton Point State Park & Leonard Harrison State Park.

The canyon is about 800 feet deep at these parks and you need to come here to get the best views. I've gone to both sides at different times but I'm going to start you out on the west rim; Colton Point.

How do you get to Colton Point State Park?

First and foremost, I want to make sure that you know how to get here so that you can see it yourself.

I'll direct you to the main road into the park. Stick to this road until you start seeing lookout points on your Left.

Click THIS LINK to open a map to the main road.

This will show you exactly where you want to go and you can even enter your address to get directions to the state park from your house.

See what you're missing out on! - West Rim

Now you can chose to read the text below and look at the pictures first or you can "hike" the Rim Trail through the video to the right.

**We came up on Easter so it wasn't as green as I'd hoped it'd be.**

As you're driving up Forest Road, you're going to come to the first of 5 vistas that overlook the canyon. Pull over and take a look before continuing on to the Rim Trail.

You'll pass restrooms and places to get a drink if you need it, after you're done taking in the view and start driving up the road a little farther.

View from the West Rim (Easter 2009)
View from the West Rim (Easter 2009)

Now you're going to want to park your car before the start of the Rim Trail so you can walk from vista to vista.

Don't worry, it's a nice flat mile long trail.

It really is a nice little stroll through the woods and you'll come to 4 more different vistas to take in some great views of the canyon.

View from the West Rim (Easter 2009)
View from the West Rim (Easter 2009)

As you're walking along, you're going to pass 5 really nice stone-pillared pavilions.

You can reserve one if you like; I think it'd be a great spot for a picnic or a cookout.

They come equipped with tables, benches and a really chill fireplace.

So if you're looking for a spot to have a small party or a family gathering, this might be it.

Nature + good food = you can't go wrong.

View from the West Rim (Easter 2009)
View from the West Rim (Easter 2009)

What else is there to do at Colton Point State Park?

If you want to do more than just check out the views you can hike the difficult 1.5 mile Turkey Path down to the floor of the canyon. You'll even pass a 70 foot waterfall half a mile down the trail. There's also about a mile of the Pine Creek Trail that passes through the state park.

Hunting, fishing and camping are also allowed at Colton Point.  You can even snowmobile here in the winter. 

Now let's head on over to the East Rim of the canyon.

How do you get to Leonard Harrison State Park?

First and foremost, I want to make sure that you know how to get here so that you can see it yourself.

I'll direct you to the parking loop in front of the main building.

Click THIS LINK to open a map to the parking loop.

This will show you exactly where you want to go and you can even enter your address to get directions to the state park from your house.

See what you're missing out on! - East Rim

Now you can chose to read the text below and look at the pictures first or you can "walk" the paths on the East Rim through the video to the right. The second time we came up it was a lot warmer, so the scenery was a lot nicer this time around.

As you come closer to the parking lot you'll pass a road that takes you to the campground on the left. Continue forward and you'll find a place to park before or around the loop. You'll want to walk to the end of the loop and pass the Environmental Interpretive Center.

View from the East Rim (June 2009)
View from the East Rim (June 2009)

There are 3 different vistas you can go to to take in great views of the canyon.

The 2 main vistas are close by with stone walkways and steps right to them.

There are restrooms near the first vista if you've been holding it for a while.

This side of the canyon seems to be a lot more built up and civilized.

View from the East Rim (June 2009)
View from the East Rim (June 2009)

Although it doesn't have as many vistas, the views are just as good if not better.

After you take in the views at the first vista you can walk further down the stone walkway, down some stairs and arrive at the second vista.

Depending on the time of the year you're here, you may walk past some nice flowers on your way to the next vista.

There's also benches and observation binoculars along the way.

Otter View from the East Rim (June 2009)
Otter View from the East Rim (June 2009)

To get to the last vista you'll have to walk back up towards the first vista and then take a right (and then another right) onto the Overlook Trail. This is a .6 mile loop trail that will take you to Otter View. It's not a difficult trail and it's downhill to the vista.

You may walk past some local wildlife on the way down to this vista. I enjoyed this short walk and the view's worth checking out. It doesn't seem like as many people make there way down to it though. Don't worry, there's a bench waiting for you at the vista if you need a rest.

View from the East Rim (June 2009)
View from the East Rim (June 2009)

Been here before?

Which side of the canyon do you like more?

  • West Rim
  • East Rim
See results without voting

What else is there to do at Leonard Harrison State Park?

Of course you don't have to come here just for the views. There's plenty of other things you can do at the state park. As I said before, there is a campground with flush toilets, hot showers and even a playground.

You can hunt here or you can hike down to Pine Creek to fish if you like; which would be a mile trip down via the Turkey Path Trail. The trail might be difficult but there's a vista and two waterfalls on the way down to reward you for your troubles.

There are also plenty of picnic tables, pavilions and grills available if you'd like to come here for a picnic. There's even drink and vending machines near the gift shop if you didn't happen to bring enough food or drinks.

So if you're in the area and you're looking for a place for a picnic, good views, or a nice stroll through nature, maybe you ought to head to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. It's a whole different experience to see it yourself, rather than just looking at the pictures and videos I provided.

It doesn't matter which side of the canyon you decide to visit; I'm sure that you'll appreciate being here regardless of the side you're on.

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What Do YOU Love About The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon? 6 comments

eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Nice, and beautiful area. Thanks for letting us know about it.

Did you know that Yellowstone has a big canyon too?

Keep on Hubbing!


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Hey eovery,

Yeah there's canyons all over! I hope to make it out to Yellowstone eventually...


Camping Dan profile image

Camping Dan 7 years ago

This canyon is a whole lot greener!! Beautiful country, I keep trying to make it east of the Mississippi River but there is so much to do all over and it would take more time to go there.

What is the floating like on this river below?


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Hey Dan,

Yeah there really is so much to see all over our country, but it'd be worth the trip!

I personally haven't been on this part of Pine Creek but there were kayakers down in the water when I was there. There was a lot of activity in the water. Pine Creek is great for kayaking, canoeing and so on, whether you're on this portion of the creek or not.


yfguy profile image

yfguy 5 years ago from Mallorca

i've never been to any of them (east or west) but it looks cool.. i like the colors.. they're so vivid... great hub


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Yeah if you go at the right time it's realllly bright and green, yfguy! Great views here... thanks for reading!

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