A Hidden Gem of Outdoor Activities

Wellsboro, Pennsylvania is often an overlooked gem when it comes to outdoor activities for the family. Visiting the town and surrounding locations offers a relaxing, yet fun environment for young children, or it helps older kids get reconnected with nature. The spot also presents a chance for couples, old and young, to try new outdoor activities.

Pine Creek Rail Trail

Lori Copp, Public Relations director of the Tioga County Visitor’s Bureau said one of the most popular ventures of the area is the Pine Creek Rail Trail. Combining biking, hiking, horseback riding, camping and canoeing, she said the Rail Trail offers something for everyone. The 57 mile long trail, neighboring the Pine Creek, extends from Ansonia, 12 miles west of Wellsboro, south to Jersey Shore, PA. The hard-packed gravel trail is most commonly used for bikers and hikers, though horse covered wagons and horseback riders frequent the dirt shoulder of the trail. Bicycles can be rented close to the Ansonia end of the trail and according to Copp, shuttles are provided to bring tired travelers back to their cars.

PA Grand Canyon

The Northern end of the trail runs through the bottom of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, arguably the most famous landmark around Wellsboro. The canyon is a breathtaking site in any season, though the peak of Fall is the most gorgeous time to view the tree covered gorge, 800 feet deep with the Pine Creek running at the bottom. There are several places to view the canyon, including Leonard Harrison State Park, 10 miles West of Wellsboro with several hiking trails, a visitor’s center and camping grounds. A few miles from the park is the overlook tower, sitting 2,100 feet above sea level.

Wagon Rides and Fishing

Other popular attractions are covered wagon rides and horseback trips offered by Mountain Trail Horse Center, an adventure resource of Nature Quest, Inc. The center is located in Ansonia, just across from the Pine Creek Gorge opening. Offering packages to accommodate any interest level, including trail rides, part day or full day excursions, cookout wagon rides, family rides and waterfall adventure rides. Nature Quest Marketing Manager Julie Puckett says, “There’s something for everyone at Nature Quest.”

Not keen on horses? Water sports are all the rage in Tioga County, with the Pine Creek in the steering wheel. Visit Pine Creek Outfitters for guided water tours and canoes, raft and kayak rentals. One day guided raft trips, 17 miles down the creek, are a steal at $38 to $43 per person.

Local water hot spots perfect for fishing, swimming or boating activities are the Pine Creek, Hammond Lake at Ives Run and Hills Creek.

Winter activities

Winter time is all about the snow in Tioga County. Wellsboro sits in the middle of two small yet exciting ski resorts. The bigger of the two is Ski Denton, about 45 minutes west of Wellsboro in Coudersport just off Route 6. Denton is complete with a tubing complex, a terrain park and 20 trails, including Avalanche, the steepest slope in the East, according to the website.

Wellsboro is also a snowmobile enthusiast town. The PA Grand Canyon Snowmobile Club “provides you direct access to hundreds of miles of groomed trails,” according to the PA Grand Canyon Snowmobile Club.

Booking a Stay

Looking to book a place to stay? Wellsboro and the surrounding areas do not lack lodging, but rooms fill up quick. Check the availability of the more than 70 establishments at the Tioga County Visitor’s Bureau.

Wellsboro may be rich with farmland and retirement plans, but it’s often overlooked when it comes to vacation and adventure. With tourism being the second largest industry in Pennsylvania, just after agriculture, the third largest county in the state, by square mileage, could not survive without its year round visitors. All that land mass is abundant with activities for all levels of excitement, ability and age. Truly a hidden gem, Wellsboro takes vacationing to the next level.