The Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania offer many winding roads, scenic vistas, and wooded paths ideal for biking and cycling trips. Low-traffic and well-maintained asphalt, packed gravel, and dirt roads meander throughout the county, introducing challenging hill intervals for the experienced road cyclist. Within the city limits, plenty of wide, low-grade, bicycle-friendly roads are available for novices or families who wish to pedal through the historic residential streets of Wellsboro, stopping for ice cream at the Frog Hut or to enjoy a picnic lunch and play on the playground facilities at Packer Park or Woodland Park.
For insider information, descriptions, and cycling maps of some good back-country bike tours in and around Wellsboro, check out local cycling enthusiast Bill Yacovissi’s suggestions.
Cycle through the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon
Many of the area’s State Parks include paved cycling trails, as well as off-road biking trails for experienced mountain bikers. One of the best biking trails in the region is the Pine Creek Rail Trail, which was voted by USA Today as one of the “10 great places to take a bike tour” in the world. This approximately 62-mile-long hiking and biking trail travels through the Pine Creek Gorge starting in Ansonia, 8.4 miles west of the Penn Wells, and ending in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. The biking trail is a hard-packed gravel surface available to hikers and bikers. Equestrians can enjoy a section designed just for horses that runs alongside the gravel cycling path. There are multiple easy-to-reach access points along the cycling trail and the going is not too tough, even for children and beginner cyclists. The biking trail winds through the many hills surrounding it, with only a 1-2% grade over its entire length. This biking trail is a great place to immerse yourself in wilderness without the difficulty normally associated with leaving behind civilization.
Keep your eyes peeled and you just might see the striking flash of a bald eagle’s white head as it scans the river for dinner. Whitetail deer, beavers, raccoons, opossums, and the occasional black bear may also make an appearance. In a few places the trail emerges from the wilderness and passes by country inns, restaurants and bars, ice cream shops, and general stores, which offer a great chance to stop and take a break with a cold drink in the relaxing small-town community atmosphere so many of our guests seek.
Historically, the Seneca Indians used the Pine Creek Path as a link between the Great Shamokin Path along the Susquehanna River and the Iroquois settlements along the Genessee River in New York. The route was first developed for commercial use in 1893 when the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek, and Buffalo Railway built railroad tracks to service area sawmills during the great timber boom of the turn of the century. Ownership and use of the corridor shifted multiple times between timber, coal, and other industries, and ended in 1988 with the last Conrail freight train passing through on October 7.
Almost immediately the Rails to Trails Conservancy began lobbying the state legislature to acquire the route for recreational development. After some discussion the trail was purchased from Conrail for a whopping $1.00. The Pine Creek Rail Trail opened in 1996 and follows the river for all but seven miles of it route, passing through two state forests (the Tioga to the north and the Tiadahton to the south) and many beautiful wilderness scenes.