Pennsylvania Wilds, an Affordable and Close Getaway – CBS Pittsburgh
WELLSBORO, Pa. (KDKA) – As more families look to get away, get away from it all, what is available within a short drive of Pittsburgh?
Well, how about considering the Pennsylvania Wilds?
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It is the upper north-central part of the state, comprising 12 counties that contain only 10% of the state’s population.
In other words, there is a lot of Pennsylvania to explore and much of it is forest.
Did you know Pennsylvania has a Grand Canyon?
The Pine Creek Gorge stretches 47 miles through the Allegheny Plateau to the Tioga State Forest – just search for Wellsboro on your map.
Michael Chapaloney is the Executive Director of Pennsylvania Tourism.
“There are two state parks that line the canyon created by Pine Creek, and it’s really amazing, amazing VISTAs, and I’d say go there every once in a while and fall,” he recommends. -he.
It’s not just a hiking, biking, or camping destination: “there’s a covered wagon ride at the bottom of the canyon, and it takes you horse-drawn too, so it’s really fun.”
The Wilds are home to the largest elk population in North America – they don’t call it “Elk County” for nothing.
“There are so many of them that your chances of seeing them are pretty good,” says Chapaloney.
If you think deer are fascinating up close, wait until you see a moose.
“The difference is around 500 pounds,” says Chapaloney. “So, you know, they range from six to 700 pounds.”
They don’t call them bulls and cows for no reason.
Speaking of animals, there’s a lot to see up close at Penn’s Cave near State College, and then there’s the cave.
“It’s the only cave in America that you can visit by boat,” Chapalone explains. “It’s very popular for school groups. So I think it’s definitely kid friendly.
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There is of course the Kinzua Bridge.
“The Kinzua railway bridge was the tallest and longest in the world until it was hit by a tornado and the central part was destroyed,” Chapalone explains. “Now they have an amazing skywalk experience. ”
WATCH: The Pennsylvania Wilds and Punxsutawney
Which, at its very end, leaves you looking out of sight 600 feet in the air.
At the western end of the Wilds is Punxsutawney who Chapaloney says is way past February 2. Sure, you can visit Phil at the library in the heart of town, but the button… “Gobblers Knob takes you to hiking and biking trails.”
There is also a Groundhog Wine Trail that takes you to “Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries Really Made Their Appearance.”
There are plenty of lodgings along the I-80 corridor, but in the small towns that dot the Wilds, you’ll find plenty of rustic bed and breakfasts and inns.
If you don’t like outdoor activities… “There are artists in these different cities. The food scene is really fantastic. You know you can get anything from a good steak to a real elk burger, ”says Chapalone.
Of course, the Little League World Series is held in Williamsport and there are sights to see even when the matches are not playing.
And if you love starry nights, you’ll want to put Cherry Springs Park on your list.
Nestled in the middle of the Tioga Forest, there isn’t much to see during the day, but Chapaloney says at night, “The experience when you lay out in the field at Cherry Springs is breathtaking. ”
People come from all over the world to see the sky.
“Light pollution is close to zero, and the natural setting of Cherry Springs has become an international draw,” he says.
A suggestion from the experts, visit during the “new moon” cycle where there is no moonlight. Also check the forecast and shoot for a clear sky night.
Cherry Springs is located near Coudersport, about a three and a half hour drive from Pittsburgh.
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The Pennsylvania Wilds have a lot to offer the children of the family. It just takes a bit of pre-planning. To check everything, you can go to the Visit PA website.