Visiting Leonard Harrison State Park
Last week my friend Steve Rubano and I took a roadtrip from State College to Tioga County, PA to visit Leonard Harrison State Park and the PA Grand Canyon. It was a misty, gray kind of day, not well-suited for the sweeping vista shots the area is known for, but perfect for our intended target that day.
We were excited to check out some of the waterfalls we'd seen photos of that lie along the Turkey Path and Little Four Mile Run. Little Four Mile Run feeds into Pine Creek, the body of water that has carved out the canyon over thousands of years.
To reach Little Four Mile Run we started down the Turkey Path trail from the park headquarters. The path itself is a series of switchbacks and stairs that descends approx. 1000 feet to the floor of the Pine Creek Gorge (official name of the PA Grand Canyon). After 10 minutes of hiking we encountered Little Four Mile Run and the first waterfall along it.
Departing from the trail to gain a better vantage point, we made our way down to Little Four Mile Run itself (don't try this unless you are an experienced hiker in good physical condition). For the rest of the day we alternated between hiking down the stream bed itself and returning to the Turkey Path when there was simply no other way to make a safe descent.
The waterfalls along Little Four Mile Run seem not to have been individually named (unlike the falls at Ricketts Glen State Park, for example), but each has it's own unique character. I refer to them in my photos simply by number in the order we encountered them as we descended towards the bottom of Pine Creek Gorge.
Both Steve and I were blown away by the number and magnitude of waterfalls along this relatively short stretch of water. We spent the better part of 5 hours here taking in the sights and filling our SD cards with photos and video.
The hike back up the Turkey Path to the park headquarters and our truck wasn't as bad as we had anticipated, thanks to the switchbacks and a few breathers along the way. Back at the rim of the gorge, we were treated to the sight of a bald eagle gliding up and down the canyon below, looking for his next meal. Certainly a sight that never gets old.
Getting to the park is a relatively simple affair (see map below) and nearby Wellsboro has several options for a post-hike meal. We chose the Wellsboro Diner and enjoyed some delicious food and plenty of hot coffee to fuel us up for the 2 hour drive back home.
All-in-all a fantastic road trip and I can't recommend the Turkey Path and Little Four Mile Run highly enough if you enjoy a vigorous hike and the sights and sounds of falling water.