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4.08.2018

PA Grand Canyon Scenic Overlooks: Barbour Rock, Bradley Wales, & Lebo Vista

The PA Grand Canyon, also known as Pine Creek Gorge, offers some of the most sweeping vistas and views within the state. It is 47 miles long in very remote and beautiful woodlands. This was not always the case, for around the start of the 20th century, the entire gorge was clearcut, with all of the old growth trees being cut and harvested for lumber. This left it barren. When cutting the trees, any branches and anything else not fit for lumbering was just left on the ground, and the dead branches would frequently catch fire and cause huge problems. Progressive politicians like Teddy Roosevelt, and his chief of the US Forest Service, the PA native Gifford Pinchot, went on to advocate for conservation of natural resources. With these visionaries in power, great care was taken to restore places that had been devastated by industrial use. Forests were replanted in the area of the PA Grand Canyon, and throughout the state and country, and many of the beautiful recreation areas that we cherish today were restored. 
Bradley Wales Picnic Area Overlook, West Rim Trail
The geology of the PA Grand Canyon lends itself to phenomenal views. 20,000 years ago, Pine Creek flowed to the northeast. As glaciers dammed up the creek, it flowed in a more southerly direction, leading towards the plateau being worn away, with the course forming a series of meanders through its course to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. It is 1450 feet at its deepest point.
Barbour Rock Trailhead Coordinates:
41.7202, -77.4506 
We have previously covered the overlooks at the Leonard Harrison State Park, and Colton Point State Parks. Today we visit three more of the myriad of awesome overlooks throughout the course of the gorge. Our first stop takes us to the Barbour Rock Overlook. This rock outcropping provides an excellent overlook along the West Rim Trail, just north of Colton Point State Park. It is accessible for longer distance hikers on the West Rim Trail, and by way of a short, and fully handicap accessible, hiking trail that is 0.6 miles each way. 
The trail is follows a gradual set of switchbacks with a cinder trail surface.

Getting close to the overlook!
The overlook gives a view over one of the characteristic meanders of the gorge.
The Barbour Rock outcropping gives an awesome view of the PA Grand Canyon.

Colton Point
Coordinates:
41.709037, -77.464523
Our next stop takes us to Colton Point State Park. Our favorite view from this state park is found right at the northern entrance to the park. It is not uncommon to see dozens of turkey vultures soaring just below and over the vista. You can also see the former railed that went through the gorge, which is now utilized as the Pine Creek Rail Trail, a bicycle trail that gives beautiful views.

Further along on the West Rim Trail is the Bradley Wales Picnic Area Overlook. This is accessible for distance hikers on the West Rim Trail, or by way of a short hike on the trail from the Bradley Wales Picnic Area. This view is truly incredible. It is also home to an antique guardrail that looks like it was either repurposed from a lumbering railroad or from an old bridge. 
The following views are from the southern area of Pine Creek Gorge, from a different trip.
Lebo Vista Coordinates
41.39013, -77.46864 
The further south you go in the gorge, the deeper it gets. Our last stop takes us to the Lebo Vista and the Golden Eagle Trail. The Golden Eagle Trail is a 9 mile hike that is home to some spectacular overlooks, including the Ravenshorn and Beulah Land Vistas.
The entire gorge is filled with little waterfalls like this.
Spectacular vistas await visitors to these locations, in addition to awesome hikes and little waterfalls. Between the Golden Eagle, and the West Rim Trails, this area is home to two of the premier trails that the state has to offer. Other trails, including the Turkey Trail, and others, offer challenging and beautiful hikes. We highly recommend exploring the PA Grand Canyon.


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