You learn something new everyday… at least that is my goal to do so. On this journey I discovered that Pennsylvania has its very own Grand Canyon. What??? You say! Yes indeed it is true… nestled in the mountains of the Tioga Country northern part of the state of Pennsylvania is a wonderful canyon that I had never heard about before my journeys east. So when we got to Ives Run Park it was on the list of places to go and on our first day at the park we hit the road to find it.
On the way up to the Grand Canyon we stopped by the tail waters below the dam of Hammond Lake. I what struck was how blue the waters were and even more confusing to us was why they were so blue. We don’t know the real answers but local lore has it that the waters are contaminated by the Fracking that produces waste water that is contaminated with chemical additives. Fracking is a relatively new drilling technology, high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which now makes it possible to reach the abundant natural gas reserves that underlie much of the state of Pennsylvania.
A short 30-40 minute scenic drive southwest from Ives Run park lies Leonard Harrison State Park. This park is one of two state parks dedicated to preserving the area around the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. The other is Colton Point State Park and you can see their observation area on the other side of the canyon from this one. Leonard Harrison State Park was originally built by the CCC back in the mid-1930s. A picture of the bronze monument to their achievement is on the overlook. I love seeing the rockwork done by the CCC as they were such exceptional craftsmen.
From the park you are treated to many scenic vistas that each offer a different spectacular view into the 800-foot deep glacially-carved canyon. At its deepest point the canyon is 1450 feet deep and it is only 800 feet deep between the east and west rims of the state parks. We came on a Monday and there were a few visitors but not many. There was however a sizeable group of young Amish girls visiting and taking pictures with digital cameras which I found interesting. I can only assume those small cameras must not have been digital but could they have been?
We took the shorter hike (due to the threat of rain) on the Overlook Trail. This is a 0.6-mile loop that offers a few scenic overlooks along the way and then follows a stream (which was dry this time of the year). You have to appreciate the thousands of years of erosion that Pine Creek had to take in order to carve this spectacular Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.
Good thing we had a great Monday as Tuesday the clouds greeted with a morning rain so we just stayed around the camp and took small walks when the clouds quit dropping rain upon us. If you are ever in this part of the state of Pennsylvania you must visit the Grand Canyon of PA and best of all the admission is FREE… it is after all a Road Treat!