Where to Play, Stay, and Snack on Pine CreekFeb 28, 2022 09:00AM ● By Lilace Mellin Guignard
The Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area, also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, is the second largest natural area in the state—and that’s not counting adjacent state forests. Add in the recreational opportunities above the gorge on Upper Pine, and there’s everything you need to plan a vacation full of paddling, hiking, biking, and fishing.
First, check out Pine Creek Outfitters just outside of Wellsboro on the Upper Pine, where you can put in or take out depending on what section you boat. They service the entire Upper Pine/Pine Creek area. Make online reservations for guided trips, or rent rafts, kayaks, canoes, and duckies (inflatable kayaks). Check the water levels online to see what’s offered. If water’s low and heat is high, tubing may be best. They have more than a hundred bikes of different styles to rent for pedaling on the Pine Creek Rail Trail or elsewhere, and shuttle services that pick you up on the other side of the gorge. Want to hike the West Rim or other trail systems? Get the maps and guidebooks in their store at 5142 Rt. 6, where you can grab camping or paddling items—or books—that you forgot. They can ensure you don’t walk one step more than necessary by shuttling you or your vehicle. Reach them 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at (570) 724-3003 and find information at pinecrk.com.
Upstream, you can camp at Crooked Creek Campground and put your boat or fishing line in right from your campsite or small cabin. Located at 112 John Deere Road in Gaines, they also offer standup paddle board rentals and instruction, tubing, and yoga. Find them at crookedrootsadventures.com or call (814) 433-6100. A bit downstream, you’ll find Rough Cut Lodge at 2570 Rt. 6 where families and groups may choose from the main lodge or seven cabins. For information about holding your event there, go to roughcutlodge.com or call (814) 435-2192. Colton Point Motel at 4643 Rt. 6 has pet-friendly rooms. Call (570) 724-2155 or see colton-point-motel.mydirectstay.com. If you stay at Great Valley Cabins at 5155 Rt. 6, you’ll be right across from Pine Creek. Find out more at greatvalleycabins.com or call (814) 433-6100.
Other than public camping at Darling Run and Tiadaghton (dcnr.pa.gov), no services are offered in the gorge until you reach Blackwell where Miller’s Store at 730 Rt. 414, just up from the rail trail parking lot, has ice cream, sandwiches, used books, and local fiber arts. You can also rent bikes or tubes. If you’re hiking the Mid-State Trail you can rent one of their apartments or cabins for a bed and shower mid-trek. Check out millersblackwell.com or call (570) 353-2258. One mile south is Ludwig’s Trailside B&B, at 150 Rt. 414 right on the rail trail. Book a room, or, for large groups, book the cabin or farmhouse at ludwigstrailside.com. Or call (570) 353-2013.
A bit downstream is Cedar Run Inn at 281 Beulah Land Road. Call them at (570) 353-6241 to enjoy excellent dining and direct access to the rail trail. If you just need to stop for a snack and provisions, the Cedar Run General Store across the street will have what you need. Reach them at (570) 353-2740. Pettecote Junction Campground at 400 Beach Road is right around the corner on the creek with a variety of sites, including glamping tents. See pettecotejunction.com or call (570) 353-7183 for more details.
Slate Run has groceries, souvenirs, and tasty subs at Wolfe’s General Store at 14167 Rt. 414, and right next door you can get your fishing gear at Slate Run Tackle Shop. Both can be reached at (570) 753-8551 or slaterun.com. Across the creek at 392 Slate Run Road, nine rooms are available at Hotel Manor, which serves drinks and meals on their deck. They are online at dev.hotel-manor.com or call (570) 753-8414.
Even if you’re up the creek without a paddle, these businesses will take good care of you.