From Erie to the Pocono Mountains, the northern part of Pennsylvania is rural and is sometimes a forgotten area for visitors to the Keystone State. Spanning the northern counties, the drive holds a wealth of exciting attractions and picturesque views you won’t want to miss. It’s a beautiful drive year-round but extraordinarily breathtaking in the fall when leaves are changing. The trip covers approximately 350 miles.
It will take you past several state parks that could be additional stops if you desire. Let’s look at a few of my favorite stops on a road trip from Presque Isle to the Pocono Mountains.
During a Route 6 Trip we were hosted at many of the places mentioned, but all opinions are my own.
Presque Isle, Erie
Pennsylvania does not border an ocean, but we have our share of lakes. Presque Isle borders Lake Erie and provides plenty of beach area to enjoy some sun, swim, or walk along the lake. There are museums and monuments to explore, as well as a National Natural Landmark, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Presque Isle State Park is open daily till sunset.
This is a great place to spend a few days as you start or end your drive.
Kane is located in the northwest part of the Keystone state, right on Route 6, near the Allegheny National Forest. It’s a historical town named for Civil War General Thomas L. Kane. In the 1860s, he founded the town and hosted several presidents at his home.
President Grant was a frequent visitor and helped Gen. Kane plant the trees in the front yard of Kane Manor Inn. The inn is full of historic artifacts, memorabilia, and antique furniture.
Some “must-see” things in Kane include the McCleery Discovery Center, learning about the Lobo Wolves, and the history of the Inn. Be sure to stop at Jack Bell’s Meat & Poultry for some unique meat and poultry options to take home with you.
When we visited, I was thrilled with the food and drink scene. Be sure to eat at the upscale eatery, Table 105, for a fantastic meal. Next door, find the Logyard Brewing Taproom for some local beer. If wine is your drink of choice, Flickerwood Wine Cellars & Cocktail Lounge has you covered. Texas Hot Lunch/4Sons is an excellent choice for a quick lunch.
Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the tea set at the McCleery Discovery Center that eight presidents drank tea from.
Kinzua Bridge Skywalk, Mt. Jewett
This skywalk is a must-see when in the area. At one time, the Kinzua Viaduct was the tallest railroad bridge in the world at 301 feet. The bridge was erected in 1882 out of wood and rebuilt in 1900 with steel.
While making repairs to the bridge in 2003, a tornado whipped through the valley and destroyed it, uprooting 11 of 20 bridge towers.
The viaduct was reinvented in 2011, turning the part of the bridge still standing into a pedestrian walkway. The skywalk overlooks the remaining debris of bridge remnants that lay on the valley floor where they landed.
The Kinzua Bridge Skywalk provides a fantastic view of the wreckage and the beautiful forest surrounding it. It is a flat, leisurely stroll out the 600 feet of the skywalk.
There are other hiking trails along the old railroad bed from easy to difficult levels. I do not advise the trail under the skywalk unless you are an experienced and in shape hiker.
There is also a gift shop. I would plan a 2-hour visit if only walking to the end of the skywalk. Allow additional time for other hikes.
Pro Tip: If you want a quick, homecooked, and delicious lunch when in the area, be sure to stop at Kaffe Sol in Mt. Jewett. Be sure to have one of their huge cinnamon rolls.
This is a fun town. Plan to spend the day and check out the Zippo Museum which is full of history. The Marilyn Horne Museum is fascinating. Be sure to visit the Allegheny Mountain Arts Gallery and check out the phenomenal artwork.
While in town, stop for a casual lunch at the Magic Bean Café. They have hundreds of board games to help entertain you. For dinner, dine at the Bradford Brew Station. We enjoyed a delicious meal and a flight tasting when we visited.
Eliot Ness Museum, Coudersport
Remember Al Capone, Elliott Ness is the guy who brought him down. After leaving Chicago, he moved to Coudersport. The Eliot Ness Museum is a history of his life. They have artifacts, documentary films, memorabilia, and more. It is a fun and unique stop.
Cherry Springs State Park, Coudersport
If you are into stargazing, you will want to spend a night in Cherry Springs State Park. It boasts exceptionally dark skies that give you unparalleled viewing pleasure.
Cherry Springs is rated a Gold Level Park, one of the top dark sky destinations in the world according to the International Dark Sky Association and the best place on Earth for stargazing according to Travel Channel. Be sure to take a sweater or jacket, even in summer, since it gets chilly at night, and take a camp chair or blanket so you can relax and enjoy the view. Plan to spend at least an hour enjoying the stars with visitors from around the globe.
Pro Tip: Get there before dark since it is very black and you will want to find a place to sit before dark. It is darker than you can imagine.
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Ulysses
History buffs might enjoy stepping back 100 years in time to an era when lumberjacks with giant handheld saws cut the white pine and hemlock every day — working 70 hours a week with hand tools of their trade.
I was very impressed with the museum. It is more about the history of the state and how logging and agriculture were important to our growing state.
Allow 2 hours or so to visit the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum.
Be sure to plan ahead and have dinner at the Log Cabin Inn. Our meal there was fantastic and the service equally as wonderful.
Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Wellsboro
A mile wide from rim to rim, the Pine Creek Gorge, dubbed the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, runs approximately 50 miles and plunges 800 feet along most of the gorge. It plunges even deeper to almost 1600 feet near the southern end.
This natural wonder is one of the most spectacular destinations in Pennsylvania. We viewed it at the Leonard Harrison State Park on the canyon’s eastern boundary.
Accessible viewing platforms are located less than a hundred yards from the parking lot.
I highly recommend making reservations for the horse drawn wagon ride through the gorge with Ole Covered Wagon Inc. You can enjoy the beauty of the area and learn a bit of history.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget your camera. You will want to take pictures in this area.
Wellsboro is a quaint town full of Victorian homes, gas street lamps, unique shops, hospitality, and excellent bed and breakfasts.
When visiting, be sure to stop at Pop’s Culture Shoppe to find out about every game imaginable plus things made in Pennsylvania.
Be sure to check out the Wynken, Blinken & Nod Fountain on the Green
A delicious stop is the Highland Chocolate Shop. The candy is handmade and deliciously created by extraordinary employees.
Little League Museum, Williamsport
Take a side trip down to Williamsport to see the Little League Museum. The museum is designed to test your knowledge, allow you to handle baseball artifacts, and keep you moving.
Honoring the history of Little League Baseball, the museum will take you on a journey through baseball history and the culture surrounding it. There are lots of interactive exhibits. I would plan to spend a minimum of 2 hours for this visit.
If you are visiting in August, you can even take in the Little League World Series in person.
French Azilum, Wyalusing
History buffs will enjoy visiting this French Revolution refugee settlement built in 1793. You can also take in marvelous views from the Marie Antoinette Lookout, an overlook giving you a picturesque view of the Susquehanna River, mountains, and the French Azilum. Eight miles southeast of Towanda, this site is one of the prettiest along the winding Susquehanna River. Allow an hour or 2 for this visit; and even more time if you plan to hike along the river nature trail.
Steamtown And Electric City Trolley Museum, Scranton, PA
Steamtown is a National Historic Site that keeps the history of steam trains alive. Enjoy a railroad museum and a ride on a train pulled by a steam locomotive. They have a variety of excursions and tours under normal conditions. The park grounds and some displays are open, but unfortunately, due to COVID, all tours and excursion train rides are still on hold.
Across the street and sharing the same parking area is the Electric City Trolley Museum. They have trolley rides that are currently operating.
Another quaint small town, Montrose is full of character. We stayed at the Rosemont Inn that is a destination unto itself. It is gorgeous. Two highlights of the town you won’t want to miss include Chocolates by Leopold, where they make the chocolate and other treats following “old world” recipes, and The Inn at Montrose for your evening meal.
The beautiful Pocono Mountains offer various activities, from outdoor water recreation, camping, hiking, and ziplining to casinos, waterparks, and luxury resorts.
Learn about the fantastic things to do in the Poconos. Check out some of the best places to stay for the mature traveler in the Poconos. The Pocono Mountains are a great place to spend several days as you start or end your beautiful Alleghany road trip.
During these times, when we seem to be getting back to nature and the great outdoors, a trip across the state from Erie to the Poconos is the perfect answer to your desire to travel.
Check out all the outdoor activities that Pennsylvania has to offer: