Relaxing along the Wilds

Surrounded by green guardians of PA State Parks and Forests, flowing into serenity by babbling creeks, serenaded by songbirds – these are the calls of the Pennsylvania Wilds

A long weekend took us about five hours away from home with our boys, PJ, a nine-month-old Golden Doodle and Cody, a five-year-old American Eagle, with a visit to the Pennsylvania Wilds.  We stopped along our journey on Rte. 80 at mile marker 111, in the middle of Parker Dam State Park State to stroll in the enchanted forest of Souders Trail. Accurate reviews posted on All Trails.    It was an easy 1.5-mile loop in an enchanted forest, and a perfect way to rejuvenate. Continuing, we also stopped at the town of Lock Haven, and enjoyed a walk along the elevated trail by the Dam.    East of the Appalachian Mountain ridge, and west of the Poconos, the Wilds are home to gorgeous ridges and lush valleys, with hundreds of trails for hiking and biking.  It is two million acres of public ands with highlights from Scenic Rte. 6, Elk Drive at dusk or dawn, Pine Creek Gorge, and the darkest skies in the east at Cherry Springs State Park.  The river is wide, and perfect for canoeing. 

We chose as our weekend landing spot the Pine Creek River, near Little Pine State Park.   The drive along SR 414 was gorgeous and is home to a Rails to Trails pathway.  Cyclists can find conveniently spaced-out General Stores to offer respite.  Most stores have general infirmary, prepared sandwiches, clothing, sundries and at every single spot – soft serve or hard packed gloriously delicious ice cream.  Fresh produce sells out fast, so if you see a road-side country stand, stop and shop. Nestled along S.R. 414, are the towns of Waterville, Cammal and Morris, which are home to an abundance of hunting lodges and vacation cabins.  If not along the creek, cabins are dotted along the tree line in hill country, providing advantage to the truck and 4WD owners. For a meal “in town”, I recommend Waterville Tavern, a country diner, with a long bar and at least two pulls of draft beer.  Rail Trail public parking is behind the tavern, not marked from the road, but down a little side street. 

Common Country Store

If you follow our posts, we consider ourselves travelers, not tourists. However, we set a destination to a popular spot, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, near the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, scenic State Rte. 6.  The gorge was formed 20,000 years ago, when the glaciers melted created the waterway, and rains and floods deepened its swatch over time.   Home to colorful maples and pines, the fall foliage is breathtaking, though there isn’t any off-seasons to this landmark. The Overlook trail takes you down a steep, rocky and rooted path to another vista.  

Scenic Overlook of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

For a clean, well-appointed cabin, I recommend Slate & Starlight Cabin Rentals. We had the pleasure of staying at Touch of Heaven on Mill Run Road, a pet-friendly cabin with a well-appointed kitchen, Satellite TV, and Wi-Fi service, helpful for a weekday stay when you still need to conduct business. We thoroughly enjoyed the expansive yard where we can play frisbee with the boys, prepare home-cooked meals on the grill out back, and sip some whiskey by the firepit at night. There are warning signs about bears and rattlers – there isn’t a Rattler Snake Trail nearby because it is a kicking cool name.

Touch of Heaven Cabin Rental found on Air BnB

I recommend the Pennsylvania Wilds as your destination. Perfect for travelers who want to avoid heavy dense state parks and monuments, and experience how the friendly locals live. Next stop – the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and a luxurious stay at the Cuyahoga Valley Inn!


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