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2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options


PA 144 Scenic Ride: Touring the High Plateau Scenic Byway

I think my favorite overall ride, of many impressive drives across the state, is the PA Route 144 Scenic Ride from Clearfield County through Renovo and Hyner View. All of the roads in this region are beautiful and remote, but there is something about this specific drive that is just incredible. In certain areas you ride across the top of a mountain and have views out either side of the road to different mountains. In the final stretch as you go down the high plateau into the valley of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, you have an incredibly curvy switchback setup and aggressively gets down to the level of the River. In certain spots you have a direct view down 100 foot embankments. Along the entire route you have pulloffs for scenic overlooks. Easily dozens of them. On the day we went, autumn was giving way to winter, with freshly fallen leaves, browned out grasses and shrubbery, and some sun and light flurries that you could see move into the valleys. The landscapes are just inspiring and I really feel like this route does not get the attention it deserves for just how beautiful it is. 

PA Route 144 is 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
41.2368, -77.78243

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
41.18986, -77.85284
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 on a clear day, but even on an overcast or foggy day this is an awesome place to explore.  

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 CountyHyner View State ParkBucktail State Park, Renovo, and Route 120, the Pennsylvania Grand CanyonElk 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. 



Negley Park Scenic Overlook Above the Susquehanna River and Harrisburg

Negley Park in LeMoyne, just across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg, gives awesome views of the grand Susquehanna River and the skyline of our state capitol. It is a great place to take in the views and maybe have a picnic lunch or to play some sports in this community park. 

Just across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg, you can get a sweeping view of the river, city, and capitol complex from Negley Park. This is a pretty awesome place that is well worth seeking out. The vista of the capitol complex and overall city are fantastic, along with the sweeping landscape, the waters of the mighty Susquehanna River, and the cool bridges that cross it. This is a great place to have a picnic lunch or just take in the scenery. 
It is places like these that take full advantage of the scenic value of the natural and man made resources that this state has to offer. These places are also great as community gathering places. Everything about them is a positive to the greater community.


Exploring Poe Paddy State Park, Poe Valley State Park, and Bald Eagle State Forest

If you are looking for a fantastic place to truly feel like you are getting away in Central PA, the Poe Paddy and Poe Valley State Parks and Bald Eagle State Forest is a great place to go. The rugged landscapes, incredible forests, rock outcrops, and meandering creek valleys make this a visually breathtaking place. 
The old infrastructure of the CCC, coupled with some reinvestment into the parks, over the last twenty years, including fortifying an old railroad tunnel in Poe Paddy State Park, have these place in fantastic shape and accessible for recreational access that is pretty far off the beaten path. Seemingly endless forest roads traverse the area. 

Poe Valley State Park has a beautiful and small man made lake with a beach, log cabin bathhouse and concessionaire, beautiful cabins, campground, a playground, hiking, and more. 

Countless scenic overlooks are spread throughout the area. For a list on information on many of them and how to access them, check out this article. 

Poe Paddy State Park has a beautiful rail trail through an old rail tunnel, a beautiful rustic campground, and a wonderful meandering stretch of creek. In between the state parks, and completely surrounding them, is seemingly endless expanse of aggressive roads up to breathtaking scenic overlooks with views of up to twenty miles or more. 

The renovated old rail tunnel through Poe Paddy State Park.

Back to Poe Valley State Park!
The creek outflows from the lake create some neat waterfall features that you can hear throughout the campground. 

While this area is pretty far out and off the beaten path, 30 minute drives in any direction can lead to nice small boroughs like Millheim, Siglerville, Centre Hall, and more, all with nice places to get a meal or supplies. Our wintry stay on one of the last weekends of campground operations until the spring was a quite and relaxing time. Outdoor recreational opportunities of many kinds are available in this area, one of the finest areas for outdoor exploration that the state has to offer. 


10+ Amazing Scenic Overlooks in Bald Eagle State Forest

Bald Eagle State Forest is an incredibly remote and beautiful place to explore. Dozens of official and unofficial overlooks dot the rugged landscapes of this state forest, with almost all of them offering views that go out for miles. The lake at Poe Valley State Park is within a rugged creek valley and offers scenic vistas on its shores of the rugged mountain landscape.

The Chocolate Drop Vista is located on Pine Swamp Road, when you turn off of Poe Valley Road near Poe Valley State Park. You can't miss this spot. You can see it on a curve as you go up the hill. If you continue on this road, then follow the signs to "Vistas" and turn right, you will head up to Penn's View Overlook, and the others on that road, which only get better as they go along. 

Chocolate Drop Vista Coordinates:
40.832362, -77.451150

CeCe enjoying the Chocolate Drop Vista

Penn's View Overlook is one of the finest in the state. It offers sweeping vistas of the mountains, plateaus, valleys, and meandering creeks of the area, along with views of farms and old rail bridges. On the first day we went up there, a group of birders had their binoculars out and a nice little fire going. While all of these overlooks are nice, this one is just fantastic. The best thing about it though is getting to it requires going by all of the other scenic overlooks and vistas, and this one is the capstone of the journey. The elevation in this spot is about 1740, and you can see the village of Coburn out in the distance.
Penn's View Overlook
40.842546, -77.452578

This is the first overlook that I went to in a while that I wanted to take out a bunch of lenses for. There is just so much going on. Any single view would be fantastic as a scenic overlook, but the 180 degree views are just fantastic in this spot. I used my wide angle, mid telephoto, and fisheye lenses in this spot. If you are camping in the area or spending a lot of time in the state forest, this spot will have your phone buzzing a few times as it is one of the few spots with decent phone coverage. Make sure you have a paper map and save the Google Maps data into your phone to ensure you are able to navigate if you need to. In this spot, both sunrise and sunset should be visible.

Just a breathtaking spot. 
Just a half mile further down the road, you run into three more overlooks, Ingleby View, and the Raven's Knob East and Raven's Knob West Views. These spots are pretty self explanatory to see. Just keep going on the road as you pass Penn's View and you will run right into them. Ingleby View is off of a pretty outcrop and gives a portion over view just around the corner from what you see at Penn's View, though it is more obstructed. The road beyond this point is called "Road Trail" and it is not maintained. I would not recommend driving on it, even if you have a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle. 

Raven's Knob East and West give views from both sides of the mountain. Our adventure dog CeCe loved every minute of it. 

Bell's Majestic View 
40.829736, -77.508941

We visited this spot once before enroute on an west to east drive. This is is a stunning view that is about a 15 minute drive across the rocky forest roads from Penn's View. You can't miss it if you are headed up to Millheim, up and out of Bald Eagle State Forest. Our first visit was at sunset and it was breathtaking. You get a view over several sets of mountains here, the remainder of the state forest, and out to the valley in a strong agrarian setting. I always love central PA overlooks, and this one is no different. 

Big Valley Vista
40.784399, -77.514830
Catching this one is blue hour is fantastic. Any fog or haze sort of hangs in the valleys and the view of each set of mountains is just fantastic. It looks like something straight out of a Bob Ross painting. While the view is not as widely expansive as Penn's View, the view itself is just so awesome. It is about 15 minutes south of Bell's Majestic View.

New Lancaster Valley Overlook/Ridge Road Vista
The New Lancaster Valley Vista gives a stunning view about twelve miles down the New Lancaster Valley to where Jacks Mountain and Thick Mountain meet. The view is so incredible. Central PA's topography is so amazing. 

In the more eastern reaches of Bald Eagle State Forest, (remember this state forest is about 194,000 acres, and it takes more than an hour to reach from end to end) There are at least two labelled scenic overlooks, The New Lancaster Valley Scenic Overlook, Coordinates: 40.79362, -77.31011 which gives an incredible view that goes for at least 12 miles, and the Chimney Rocks Overlook, coordinates: 40.84599, -77.29787 

Both of these overlooks are a solid hour from the rest that we covered. We have hit them in passing on road trips and did not hit them on this trip. They are well worth the effort, especially the New Lancaster Valley Overlook.

Overall, Bald Eagle State Forest is a tremendously large place with ample scenic and outdoor exploration opportunities. It is well worth exploring. All of these listed overlooks are roadside, and even more are available with some exploration in this beautifully rugged setting. 

We have released our 2022 Pennsylvania Calendar! 

It features views of: 

-Independence Hall in Philadelphia 

-Sunrise in Downtown Pittsburgh 

-Knoebels Amusement Resort 

-Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway 

-Millersburg Ferry across the Susquehanna River 

-Tank Hollow Overlook above the Lehigh Gorge in the Poconos 

-The Reading Pagoda 

-Kennywood Park 

-Mercer's Mill Covered Bridge in Chester and Lancaster Counties 

-Academia-Pomeroy Covered Bridge in Juniata County

-Ohiopyle State Park 

-A holiday scene in Pittsburgh 

The calendars open up to be 17 inches tall by 11 inches wide (8.5 by 11 pages) 

It makes for a great gift for someone or for yourself. It is available for purchase through the PayPal dropdown menus at the top of the page and the bottom of this article.

Thanks for your ongoing support over the years! 

2022 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options


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