Purchases of our 2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book

2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options


Coudersport Ice Mine: A COOL Roadside Oddity Along Route 6 in Potter County

The Coudersport Ice Mine is a quintessential roadside oddity. In the summer months, this strange spot produces ice. Last Memorial Day Weekend had the stars align for us in being able to visit, and I have to say that it was cool to see and feel. Our dog CeCe enjoyed it and the fresh icy water. This small attraction is family run, with the operation involving access to this ice filled hole, along with their little gift shop and picnic areas on a beautifully wooded lot. This is a great place to go and relax and have a picnic lunch. 

Due to the hot spells in April and May, the ice is exceptionally abundant this year, with the actual pit essentially sealed up from this year's ice "crop." 
This mysterious spot occurs because the cold winter air gets trapped within the mountain and the condensation from the hot and humid Pennsylvania weather gathers and freezes up when it comes in contact with the remaining winter cold of the mountain. 

The story of how this place initially came to be is comical in a way. In 1894 Billy O'Neill used a snake oil kind of device called a divining rod that supposedly told him there was silver in the mountains. He dug the 10 foot long, 8 foot wide, and 30 foot deep shaft that is now the ice mine. It eventually became a roadside tourist attraction, but it abruptly closed in the 80s. After 25 years, the ice mine was reopened in 2014.

"Tourist trap" has a pejorative connotation, but this place is along those kind of lines. It is as closest thing that Pennsylvania has to a place like South of the Border in the Carolinas, or Wall Drug in South Dakota, albeit this is much smaller. I personally love this kind of roadside stuff. They help break up drives and add excitement to the road. I am known to take the longer and more scenic route when road tripping. I live off of this kind of stuff and the Coudersport Ice Mine is quintessentially American with this. If you find yourself in the area of Coudersport in the summer, go and pay the five dollars and feel the crisp and cold air, stretch out your legs, and relax at this cool spot. It is located right off of Route 6 in Coudersport, about 45 minutes west of the PA Grand Canyon. For anyone heading to the PA Grand Canyon from west and southwest points, Central New York State on routes passing from the south and southwest, or to Kinzua Bridge State Park from the east, this place easily en route to visit and even worth a small detour. A few years ago I included this place within our PA oddities list. Since that list was published, five of those places have vanished. This place needs to be checked out and is well worth stopping at when you are in the area. The Ice Mine is generally open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. For more information on visiting, check out their Facebook page.  

No comments :

Post a Comment

Blogger Widget