Dave Moz

Member
Jul 15, 2021
54
Right off the bat, this might be my favorite PA State Park camping experience. Phenomenal location for access to the Grand Canyon, Pine Creek, Wellsboro, and more.
Dates - Saturday, April 9 - Saturday, April 16.

We arrived Saturday April 9, 2022 around 6pm, minutes before the snow started to fall. With only 25 sites, 7 with electric, it is definitely a quaint campground that needs to be booked in advance if possible. We booked pretty early even though it was off season and went with site 23 as it seemed to be the electric site tucked back the most from the others.
Left side of site 23 in the snow

The excellent -
Site 23 - Located just past the halfway point of the loop, this site is set on a small rise with very large unpaved pad at the top of the rise. If I thought ahead, the pup could have been placed with the door set towards the woods and we never would have even known we had neighbors.
There is plenty of space around the pad as well where we set up our screen tent and shade/wind tent. Even with the snow and rain during the week, the spot didn't get to muddy or torn up.
There are no neighboring sites behind or to the right (when facing the site) and the near neighbor to the left is a good distance away.
Site 23 from the middle of the pad 360 degree view from bathhouse (both sides of pic) to our site (little yellow dot under the pine).

The staff - Huge shoutout to Ranger Smith who patrols both LHSP and Colton Point SP (on the west rim of the Canyon.) He gave a lot of great information on the Canyon and region in the 3 different times we talked to him, including once in Colton Point when we couldn't find a spot and happened to run into him. The other maintenance staff were excellent. I wish we got their names but the young lady and gentleman who were doing everything from chopping down dead trees, pulling out stumps, cleaning the restrooms, patching potholes, cleaning the sites that were water logged from the snow and rain went above and beyond in their duties.

The location - From site 23, it is only a .25 mile walk to the first overlook at the PA Grand Canyon. We would just walk up to the Canyon at various points of the day to enjoy the view.
Beyond that, the Overlook Trail and the Turkey Path Trail entrances are right there. The Turkey Path Trail is a great hike down with switchbacks and fantastic views during it's mile down. The mile up, woah... Be ready for it. The Overlook Trail to Otter View is about .5 miles and while listed as most difficult, really wasn't that bad.
You have to walk through the day visitor parking lot to get to the access points. Ranger Smith said they will be expanding the parking lot in the next few years to accommodate the peak leaf season traffic which could back up over a mile at times.
There are restrooms at the visitor center and also a gift shop featuring items from The PA Wilds Conservation Shops. This was only open 2 days while we were there since it was off season. The items they stock are reasonably priced and local when possible.

Sun rise over the PA Grand Canyon
The park is an easy drive to Wellsboro and other points. To get to Colton Point SP is about 20 minutes. To get to Darling Run Access and the Pine Creek Rail Trail, it is less than 15.

-One note- The Turkey Path is closed right before you reach the Pine Creek Rail Trail, so there is no access at this time. The staff is working on getting the path cleared as soon as possible. Darling Run Access is the closest point to access the Rail Trail.

Omi of the Canyon - While not in the park, Omi's is a little shop with homemade ice cream, hot dogs, gifts, and more. Great selection, wonderful owner, tasty ice cream, and more. The shop is right on the route into the park and can't be missed.

The good -
Firewood - There are plenty of places along the route to LHSP to get firewood. Most is reasonably priced and the wood we bought burned well.
Firepit time

The other sites - There are some HUGE and LONG sites at this place, especially for the electric sites. There is no vegetation separating most of the electric sites, so you will see your neighbors. This area is also less tree covered and gets more direct sun than the non-electric sites. While 23 was pretty level, many of the other campers set up did have a number of chocks or jacks set for leveling. The campground does slant downhill from 23 to the entrance.

The restrooms - So yes, on 2 of the nights only one other site was taken... However, the rest of the time the restrooms were kept clean. There's a men's, ladies', and family set up. Each restroom has 1 shower which is accessible with a bench and hand held wand.

The meh -
The mud - The campground road and site pads are not paved; gravel for the site pads and a combo of gravel and dirt for the roads. Not the fault of the staff, but some of the tent/non-electric sites were closed because of rain and snow. They were totally mud and puddle covered during our stay. It didn't affect us, but should be noted.

The restrooms - While they get a good above, they also get a meh for their lights. Since LHSP is so remote, the sky can be brilliant at night. The restrooms though have giant windows near the roof so when the lights go on at night (on a motion sensor) they do add light pollution. Would be great if they could make the inside lights dimmer at night or even replace with red/green somehow. It's minor but very noticeable.

Overall LHSP gets 4.9 campfires out of 5 for me.

View from site 23 into the rest of the campground Looking over Pine Creek Panoramic shot of Pine Gorge at sun rise
 

Attachments

  • 20220410_145025.jpg
    20220410_145025.jpg
    434.8 KB · Views: 17
Last edited:

Raycfe

Waterford Ct.
Oct 3, 2007
18,439
Waterford, Ct
We stayed there about 16 years ago and yes it is a great place. There was a church group camping there and they would drop off cupcakes in the morning to other campers. We took a ride north of there and saw fields of wildflowers and sunflowers ..... we had a great trip.
 

Mbroady

Member
May 22, 2021
15
Eastern Pennsylvania
IMG_20220702_173810632.jpg
Recently stayed here 7-1 to 7-6 2022. I concur with Dave on everything he said. Park was relatively quiet all 5 days even when pretty full over the weekend. We stayed in site #1 and between that one and site #19, they are your best bets for some privacy on the non electric side. On the electric side, I would recommend #23 or #22. View to left and right of site #1 below.
IMG_20220705_130920284.jpg IMG_20220704_132236345_HDR.jpg

In addition to the visitor center and gift shop, Miller's Purely Maple has a food "truck" there selling maple products (hot dogs, ice cream, cotton candy, syrup, etc) The ice cream was a nice treat. We did stop at Omi of the Canyon for ice cream on Dave's recommendation. WOW! Excellent ice cream and HUGE portions.
We also took the 40 minute ride to Cherry Springs which was simply amazing. If you are lucky enough to get a clear night on your stay, I would recommend the visit. Also, if you stay during the 4th of July, visit Galeton for their fireworks. They were the absolute best fireworks I ever seen. The whole show seemed like a finale with the actual finale leaving me blind and deaf.

The park was kept clean including the restrooms and even when almost full, we never had to wait for a shower. We may have just picked the best times to go since there are only 3 (1 men's, 1 women's, 1 family). The rangers would ride through every so often and wave and be available for questions. Since there is absolutely no cell signal (I would advise printing directions to the park before leaving from home), we would stroll up to the office where they would have the daily/weekly weather posted and a ranger was always there to offer directions or advice.

There was plenty of dead wood down 20 feet into the woods to be used for firewood in case you missed the multiple spots to purchase before reaching the park ($3 a stack seemed to be the going rate). The park service also had a stack of wood by the service road between site 23 and 19 that I saw some campers take from even though we didn't need it. Plenty of our neighbors that left on Sat. or Sun. left plenty behind.

The trails are a fairly moderate hike for regular hikers. The Overlook Trail if done counter clockwise is a bit easier than clockwise. The Turkey Path was still closed before the creek.

We were the only pup in the park with the travel trailers taking the electric and tent campers on the non electric side. It was an enjoyable, quiet, relaxing stay with plenty of local things to do in the area. The 1/4 mile stroll to the canyon is the big sell here and well worth it too. Easy enough to do with flip flops on before breakfast or after dinner for a sunset view.
 




Latest posts

Top