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PA 144 High Plateau Scenic Byway: Scenic Overlooks, Hikes, and More

Our ride back from Potter County included a run on PA Route 144, the High Plateau Scenic Byway, through Clinton and Centre Counties. This is one of the nicest scenic drives in the state. Some of the curviest and abrupt changes on any road in the state can be found on this spectacular ride, with some sections looking as if they came straight out of a car commercial. To top it all off, there is a myriad of different overlooks, hikes, including the Chuck Keiper Trail, old growth forests, and so much more. Unfortunately during this trip there was lots of fog, so long distance views from this high elevation were not possible during this ride, but even with that, the ride was absolutely gorgeous. 
Fish Dam Overlook
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As with most of this region, the bulk of the area is covered with public land that both protects the land and opens it up for recreation for everyone. Clinton County's Letterman Wild Area is one of several designated wild areas along the route and it protects a mountainous tract of land that is home to some old growth trees and some stunning vistas. This overlook's parking area also serves as a trailhead for the excellent Chuck Keiper Trail. On a clear day you can get a tremendous view. It was still beautiful with all of the fog as well. The areas around the Cranberry Swamp, Lanterman Wild Area, and the Burns Run Wild Area.
Two Rock Run Vista
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This vista has short hikes to two different vantage points that provide stunning overlooks from an area that was home to one of the largest forest fires in the history of the state back in 1990. The forest is well on its way to regenerating, but seeing the size of the growth shows just how long this process takes. The vegetation looks very small compared to the rest within this region, which often exceeds a hundred years old. Nonetheless, it is beautiful to see how resilient nature can be after taking such a devastating blow. From this vantage point you are able to see extremely far, but once again, due to the fog this was not possible. In its own right, being seemingly caught in a cloud is pretty awesome as well. 

A nice glaze over some of the vegetation
One of the vistas. This area almost looks like a meadow now within this state of its regeneration. Additionally, nearly every state forest road in this area dead ends to a terrific vista. There are a number of great vistas, hikes, including the:

  • Chuck Keiper Trail
  • Kyler Fork Trail
  • Panther Run Trail
  • Rainbow Trail
  • Eddy Lick Trail
  • And many more 
Aside from the awesome scenery, there are also historic places, including St. Severin's Old Log Church, the building of a Roman Catholic Church that was built by settlers in 1850. 
All in all, exploring this region is something you want to do. Between the scenic drives around here, to the wonders of Potter County, Hyner View State Park, Bucktail State Park, Renovo, and Route 120, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Elk Country, and so much more, this region is a place that you want to check out. You are in for a real treat if you stick just to the byway, officially marked from Renovo to Snow Shoe, but you will have even more fun using it as just a guideline, exploring the different areas within this corridor of the Pennsylvania Wilds. 

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