Poconos is a highland region characterized by flat-topped mountains that lie within the Carbon Counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania, bounded on the west side of the Lehigh River, and boasts staggering elevations that reach 1,800 feet. The Pocono Mountains are an ideal pathway for road trips, whether travelers intend on crossing into another state or remaining in Pennsylvania! This region of the US retains several scenic routes that provide visitors with front-row seats to mesmerizing backdrops of the natural expanse of Northeastern America. Make the road trip an adventure and break from hours of driving as there are plenty of recreational opportunities available just a quick turn off these routes. Whether travelers seek hiking and scenic views, or shopping in Jim Thorpe, these routes are sure to please.
Gateway to Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon
The "Gateway to Pine Creek Gorge" or Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon, stands as a paradise for nature enthusiasts and tourists alike, as the route beholds one of the world's greatest natural wonders, the Grand Canyon. Incised by the Colorado River, the canyon is one of the finest examples of arid-land erosion, consistently retaining a depth of 4,000 feet for 277 miles. The Pine Creek Gorge itself, often known as The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, is a 47-mile-long canyon with depths of up to 1,450 feet that begins south of Ansonia and goes through along US Route 6 towards the south along the path of an old railway. The creek offers visitors enlightening glimpses of the region's lush forests and abundant wildlife, a perfect setting for taking photos to remember the trip by.
Cultural attractions in the "Gateway to Pine Creek Gorge" are also plentiful. For example, the nearby town of Wellsboro flaunts a charming downtown district lined with historic buildings, unique boutiques, restaurants, bars, and cozy cafes. For an extra dose of insight into the evolution of the massive geological local structures, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania Visitor Center in Wellsboro will accommodate those who seek answers. Wellsboro is also famous for its annual Dickens of a Christmas event, where the streets light up with Victorian-era festivities, reflecting the town's sense of community and love for nostalgia.
Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania
The Delaware Water Gap unveils itself at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a natural calming haven that sits between two integral interstates: I-80 at the south and I-84 at the north. The park entices locals and those passing through the state via Route 611 to enjoy the gorgeous local landscapes that are characterized by towering cliffs that are complemented by the beautiful Delaware River. The area is coated with outdoor opportunities such as rock climbing, swimming, fishing, hunting, camping, cycling, and cross-country skiing in the winter. One of the standout natural attractions is the Raymondskill Falls, a series of cascading waterfalls that draw hikers and photographers alike.
Cultural attractions are abundant as well. The charming town of Delaware Water Gap itself has a rich artistic history, with numerous galleries and studios showcasing local talent. The Deer Head Inn, one of the oldest continuously running jazz clubs in the country, brings live jazz performances to the heart of the town. The nearby Pocono Environmental Education Center provides educational programs and interactive exhibits on the region's ecology and natural history, making it an ideal destination for scout programs and school field trips.
Hawley to Lake Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania
When driving along Route 6 or Route 507, pass by the warm-hearted town of Hawley and Lake Wallenpaupack for a pause before hitting the road again. The lake has a 52-mile shoreline, a perfect getaway to cool down on a hot summer day. Hawley itself, perched along the Lackawaxen River, is a unique town known for its historic architecture and spritelier arts scene. Nearby, the Ritz Company Playhouse is a must-visit, offering live performances in a beautifully restored historic theater.
While venturing toward Lake Wallenpaupack, visitors will encounter the breathtaking 5,700-acre lake. The lake offers boating, fishing, and water sports. The Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center provides information on recreational activities and the area's history. The beauty of the lake, surrounded by wooded hillsides, offers ample opportunities for picnicking and relaxation. Together, Hawley and Lake Wallenpaupack create an extraordinary backdrop that will make an average road trip into a relaxing and beautiful voyage.
Jim Thorpe and Lehigh Gorge, Route 209, Pennsylvania
If driving through Route 209, it is highly recommended to take a detour of the Carbon County seat, Jim Thorpe, a historic town often referred to as the "Switzerland of America" due to its abundance of Victorian architecture. The town's name derives from the Native American sports legend of the same name, whose burial site resides in the area. The town also wields plenty of note-worthy cultural and natural attractions, such as the Old Jail Museum, the Mauch Chunk Lake Park, the Stonekeep Meadery, the Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary, and the Mauch Chunk Opera House, a beautifully restored 19th-century theater that hosts live performances, which perpetuates the town's appreciation for nostalgia and the past.
Just a quick drive away along Route 93, Lehigh Gorge State Park shines through its stunning environment, defined by its inviting natural havens that accommodate visitors to embark on hiking, biking, and white-water rafting. The 6,107 acres of the park's expanse is carved by the Lehigh River and is embedded between diverse landscapes filled with thick vegetation, rock outcroppings, and waterfalls. Additionally, the park's Rail-Trail follows the path of an old railway that provides closer views of the local river and dense woodlands.
Bushkill Falls, Route 209, Pennsylvania
Continuing from Jim Thorpe on the edge of Route 209 and Route 2001 lies the enchanting Bushkill Falls, commonly referred to as the "Niagara of Pennsylvania." Make a stop to stretch your legs at Bushkill Falls, a series of eight privately owned waterfalls, the tallest of which cascades over 100 feet. A breathtaking spot to stop, Bushkill Falls stands as a true sight to behold that is accessible via well-maintained trails and scenic walkways. Nature enthusiasts will certainly avoid missing out on witnessing the area's explosive scenery of its forested surroundings, crossing charming wooden bridges, complimented by the tranquilized sounds of the gentle roar of the falls as they flow through the gorge. The trails are suitable for all levels of hikers, making Bushkill Falls a must-see attraction for families and adventurers while on the road.
Interstate 80 to Poconos, Pennsylvania
For a memorable road trip, drive through Interstate 80, an east-west transcontinental freeway that crosses several US states, including the central part of Pennsylvania from the Ohio state line. The route ranges across several adorable towns like Stroudsburg and Bellefonte, characterized by their tree-lined streets and 1800s aesthetic. Both communities contain several enticing attractions, whether examining the thought-provoking art at Stroudsburg's notable art gallery, the ArtSpace Gallery, or escaping in the wilderness at the Bald Eagle State Park near Bellefonte. The journey along Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania showcases the state's iconic natural wonders and diverse attractions, making it a road trip for travelers to savor.
Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park, Route 534, Pennsylvania
Lodged within Hickory Run State Park along Route 534, Boulder Field is a geological wonderment that captivates visitors with its eccentric natural scenery. Covering a whopping 16 acres, this vast stretch of unglaciated area overflowing with boulders is a striking sight to behold. Created during the last ice age, these massive rocks are a testament to the Earth's gradual geological evolution. Visitors can explore this remarkable field, climbing over the boulders and marveling at their sheer size and intricately balanced formations. It's an ideal location for photographers, geology enthusiasts, and anyone seeking an extraordinary natural experience. Beyond the geological wonders, the park offers over 40 miles of hiking trails, serene lakes for swimming and fishing, and a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Route 6, Pennsylvania
Route 6 in Pennsylvania, commonly referred to as the “6th Top Scenic Routes in America,” is a perfect pathway for cross-state road trips as it breezes through several towns around the beautiful Lake Harmony, such as Wellsboro. The town is known for its iconic gas-lit streetlights and downtown district, home to the delicious meals of the Wellsboro Diner and the Arcadia Theatre, which adds to its vintage charm. The route also directs visitors to the almighty spectacle of the Grand Canyon and to water havens such as the Susquehanna River that meanders through the town of Tunkhannock, providing opportunities for kayaking and riverfront picnics for those who want to blow off some steam after hitting the road for hours. Route 6 has plenty of attractions and amenities along its path, cementing itself as a flawless cross-state or cross-country road trip route.
Route 507, Pennsylvania
Route 507 is a 27.2-mile-long state highway that passes through Monroe, Wayne, and Pike counties. The route breezes through the Pocono Mountains, providing drivers front-row-seats to escape in the dazzling scenery of the mountainous terrain. Along the route, Lake Wallenpaupack takes center stage, as it extends across miles of tranquil shores, covering 5,700 acres of land and water that serves as an ideal sanctuary for water enthusiasts that offers hundreds of swimming and calming fishing spots. You can also explore the Palmyra Township Public Beach for a good dose of sun and relaxation or visit the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center to learn about the area's geological and historical significance.
On a conclusive note, routes within the Poconos region of the United States pass through abundant natural sites, stops for outdoor opportunities, and cozy towns, all contributing to optimal road trip experiences. Whether visitors seek to stop by the Grand Canyon for photographs in the summer, ski at the Deleware Gap in the winter, or hike around the harmonious Bushkill Falls, the varying experiences folks can have along the highways of Poconos are limitless!