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  • The incredible Kinzua Sky Walk in Kinzua Bridge State Park, Pennsylvania
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    Allegheny National Forest: Four Seasons of Outdoor Fun

  • Viewing the night skies during a star party at Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
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    Gateway to Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon

  • Fall foliage color the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania
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    History, Rail Trails and State Parks in the Endless Mountains

  • The mansion at Grey Towers, a landmark in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains
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    Pocono Mountain Stops: Museums, Mansions and More

Driving the mountain roads of Route 6 in Northern Pennsylvania
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Stunning Stops Along Northern Pennsylvania’s Route 6

By Heather Lalley

  • Route distance:
    800.00
  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

From Erie across Northern Pennsylvania, discover charming villages, sparkling lakes, enchanting forests and staggering mountains.

U.S. Route 6, which stretches from Long Beach, California, to Provincetown, Mass., is an epic drive. In fact, the 687-kilometer portion of the road that winds through northern Pennsylvania has even been called one of the most-scenic drives in the USA by National Geographic magazine. There’s plenty to explore on the drive that includes Allegheny National Forest, Kinzua Bridge State Park, Pine Creek Gorge, the state’s lush Pocono Mountains and Endless Mountains, and many quaint small towns along Route 6.

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The incredible Kinzua Sky Walk in Kinzua Bridge State Park, Pennsylvania
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Allegheny National Forest: Four Seasons of Outdoor Fun

Fly in to Erie International Airport (ERI) before making your way two hours southeast to one of the gems of Northern Pennsylvania: Allegheny National Forest. The state’s only national forest includes awe-inspiring vistas at Willow Bay, Rimrock and Kinzua Point. There are plentiful hiking trails, as well as cabins to rent and camping along the Allegheny Reservoir’s shore. Hop in the car and cruise Longhouse National Scenic Byway (especially gorgeous in autumn) to the small village of Kane, which was founded during the American Civil War. See the world’s largest collection of buffalo wolf artifacts at The McCleery Discovery Center at Kane Depot and quench your thirst at one of the area’s many craft breweries, wineries or distilleries. Drive east along scenic route 6 to Kinzua Bridge State Park. The park’s Kinzua Sky Walk offers 360-degree aerial views through a partial glass floor as it juts out over Kinzua Gorge. While in the area, learn about American-made icons Zippo lighters and Case knives at the brands’ museum in Bradford; do some fantasy house-hunting at the Victorian Smethport Mansion District; or take a quiet moment to reflect among the vibrant artwork at Serenity Glass Park in Port Allegany.

151 km
2 hours by car
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Viewing the night skies during a star party at Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
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Gateway to Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon

The forests are splendid and plentiful on your next stretch of Route 6, home to state parks and slow-paced small towns that’ll make visitors feel as if they’ve stepped back a century. This leg of the journey through Potter and Tioga counties takes you to the Pine Creek Gorge, a 76-kilometer gorge carved into the Allegheny Plateau that’s been called the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Nearly a half-kilometer deep, the Gorge treats visitors to nature’s fireworks, including lush greenery, steep canyon walls and cascading waterfalls. For the most-memorable views, don’t miss the Pine Creek Gorge overlooks in Leonard Harrison State Park on the East Rim and in Colton Point State Park on the West Rim. Park the car for a bit and hike or bike the Pine Creek Rail Trail through the Gorge. Or, travel back to the past with a horse-drawn, covered-wagon tour. The area around the Gorge is dotted with charming villages including Coudersport, Galeton, Wellsboro and Mansfield (from west to east), where you’ll find small-town hospitality in the form of restaurants and hotels. Make sure to plan an evening outing to see night skies with nearly zero light pollution at Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania’s only International Dark Sky Park. It's renowned as one of the best places in the Eastern USA for stargazing and studying astronomy.

180 km
2.75 hours by car
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Fall foliage color the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania
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History, Rail Trails and State Parks in the Endless Mountains

The rural counties of Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming are known for their breathtaking scenery, including the Endless Mountains. Part of the Appalachian Mountains chain, the area was first settled by a number of Native American tribes hundreds of years ago. Watch trains rumble across Tunkhannock Viaduct on State Route 11 in Nicholson. It’s the largest poured concrete train bridge in the world and still in use after more than a century. Grab a bike or some hiking boots to explore the D&H Rail Trail, a former railroad corridor that now offers Instagram-worthy views of the upper Lackawanna River, Stillwater Cliffs, Stillwater Reservoir and the Starrucca Viaduct. Continue your exploration with a trio of nearby state parks, from the rugged beauty of Worlds End State Park to the plentiful waterfalls of Ricketts Glen State Park to the towering hemlock trees of Salt Springs State Park, some of which are more than 300 years old. Your next stop will blend even more mountain views with history and small-town culture.

114 km
1.75 hours by car
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The mansion at Grey Towers, a landmark in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains
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Pocono Mountain Stops: Museums, Mansions and More

Meander southeast on Route 6 into the Pocono Mountains, home to fantastic resorts offering year-round adventures. Skiing is big in the winter months, and the indoor water parks are popular in any season. Explore the villages and landmarks around the region, starting with the Dorflinger Glass Museum, where you can see the American-made cut lead crystal that graced tables at the White House. It features fine-cut, etched, engraved, gilded and enameled crystal made from 1852 to 1921. The museum sits on the grounds of the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary, perfect for quiet reflection along the many walking trails. In the summer, the sanctuary hosts the Wildflower Music Festival featuring performances of classical, jazz, folk, bluegrass and chamber music under the pine canopy. Head to Lake Wallenpaupack for fishing, boating, stand-up paddleboarding and sailing. The fun-for-all Wally Lake Fest takes place each summer along the shores of the 20-kilometer-long lake. The first head of the U.S. Forest Service (and a two-term Pennsylvania governor) made his home at Grey Towers. You can tour the mansion and grounds, which are now a National Historic Landmark. Each August, the ornate estate hosts the Festival of Wood, a celebration of handmade crafts that includes educational exhibits and children’s activities. Get some rest a short drive away in Milford at the historic Hotel Fauchere, a 16-room boutique hotel that was built in 1880. It’s a 2.5-hour drive for travelers departing from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).