WALESBAR, PA (KDKA) – As more families seek to escape, only what is available is a short drive from Pittsburgh?
Well, what about the Pennsylvania Wilds?
It is the upper north-central part of the state, which includes 12 counties, home to only 10% of the state’s population.
In other words, Pennsylvania has a lot to explore, and most of it is forests.
Did you know that Pennsylvania has a Grand Canyon?
The Pine Creek Gorge runs 47 miles across the Allegheny Plateau in the Thiogo State Forest – just look for Wellsbar on the map.
Michael Chapalani is the executive director of tourism for Pennsylvania.
“There are two state parks that are on the sides of the canyon that was created by Pine Creek, and these are really incredible, amazing prospects, and I would say go, and then again in the fall,” he recommends.
It’s not just hiking, biking, camping: “there are covered carts at the bottom of the canyon, and you’re also being carried by horse-drawn carriages, so it’s really fun.”
The wild moose population in North America lives in the wild – they call it the “moose county”.
“There are so many of them that your chances of seeing them are pretty good,” says Chapalani.
If you think the deer up close are captivating, wait until you see a moose.
“The difference is about 500 pounds,” explains Chapalani. “So you know, they range from six to 700 pounds.”
They are not called bulls and cows for no reason.
Speaking of animals, the Penn Cave near the State College has something to see up close, and yet there is a cave.
“This is the only cave in America that can be visited by boat,” says Chapalone. “It’s very popular in school teams. So I think it’s definitely child-friendly. ”
Of course, there is the Kinzua Bridge.
“The Kinzua Railway Bridge was the tallest and longest in the world until it was hit by a tornado and the central part was destroyed,” Chapalone said. “Now they have an incredible experience of walking in the sky.”
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Which at the very end allows you to look out of sight from hundreds of feet in the air.
At the western end of the Wilds is Punxsutawney, which, according to Chapalani, is more than about 2 February. Sure, you can visit Phil at the library in the heart of the city, but up at Knob … “Knob Gobblers will take you to walking and cycling routes.”
There is also the Groundhog Wine trail that will take you to the “Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries That Really Appeared”.
Along the I-80 corridor there are many living quarters, but in the small towns dotted with wild places, you will find many boarding houses and country hotels.
If you don’t like outdoor recreation… “There are artists in these different cities. The food scene is really fantastic. You know you can get everything from a great steak to a real elk burger, ”says Chapalone.
Of course, the Little League World Series is in Williamsport, and there are sites you can watch even if the games don’t go.
And if you love a starry night, you’ll want to include Cherry Springs Park on your list.
Settling in the middle of the Thiogo Forest, there is nothing to look at during the day, but Chapalani says at night, “The experience of lying in a field in Cherry Springs is breathtaking.”
People come from all over the world to look at the sky.
“Light pollution is almost zero, and only the natural conditions of Cherry Springs have become an international draw,” he says.
One suggestion from experts is to visit a “new moon” cycle where there is no moonlight. Also, check the forecast and shoot at night when the sky is clear of clouds.
Cherry Springs is close to Coudersport, which is about a three and a half hour drive from Pittsburgh.
The Pennsylvania Wilds have something to offer children in the family. Just need a little pre-planning. To check it all out you can go to the Visit PA website.