If you're looking for fishing, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, canoeing, covered wagon rides, skiing and snowmobiling all in one area, then Tioga County in north-central Pennsylvania is calling your name. Home to Pine Creek Gorge, the Pennsylvania version of the Grand Canyon, this neck of the woods is called the "Wilds" and lures outdoor enthusiasts for scenery, solitude and an abundance of recreational adventures. To get the full flavor of this scenic wonderland, pack up your gear for a stay in nature's cradle at one of a number of campgrounds in Tioga County.
The small town of Tioga shares the name of the county, and two campgrounds call this place home. Tioga Heritage Campground (tiogaheritagecampground.com) provides 85 primitive tent sites with mountain views, RV sites with full and partial hookups, a camp store, a laundry and a dump station. Open from April through October, the campground has a number of recreational amenities, including a playground, planned activities, hiking trails and a pond for canoeing and licensed fishing. Additionally, for a small fee, a shuttle service transports canoes, kayaks and bicycles to the nearby lakes and reservoir. The year-round Ives Run Recreation Area (recreation.gov) has fewer creature comforts, but swimming at Hammond Lake, boating and licensed lake and stream fishing keep campers busy.
Wellsboro, the central town in the county, has a number of camping options. Year-round Stony Fork Creek Campground (stonyforkcamp.com) has more than 200 campsites, a camp store, a laundry, a swimming pool and a boat launch. A shuttle takes bicycles, kayaks and canoes to Pine Creek and the Pine Creek Rail Trail, or you can stay on site for planned activities and licensed pond and stream fishing. Open from mid-April through October, Canyon Country Campground (campinpa.com) has primitive tent sites, full- and partial-hookup RV sites and cozy rustic cabins, as well as a camp store, game room, laundry and bathhouses. The Animaland zoo is adjacent to the property, and a hiking trail leads to Leonard Harrison State Park, a scenic park where additional camping sites are available.
Visitors to the remote township of Gaines can set up camp within walking distance of Pine Creek at year-round Kenshire Campground (kenshirecampground.com) or Kearse's Campground (kearsescampground.com). Both facilities have primitive and partial-hookup campsites, either cabin or trailer rentals, river swimming and licensed river fishing. For a back-to-basics experience, year-round Pine Creek Vista Campgrounds (no website; 77 Bloody Run Road, Gaines; 814-435-6398) is also nearby. All the facilities are roughly 30 minutes from Susquehannock State Park (dcnr.state.pa.us), where organized group tenting, hiking and horseback riding are at your disposal.
Set in a lush valley with creek and mountain views, Twins Stream Campground (twinstreamscampground.com) in Morris has a variety of camping options, including rustic tent sites, RV sites with full or partial hookups, RV and log cabin rentals. You can even rent a guest house with all the comforts of home. The campground has Internet access, a game room, licensed stream fishing and bike rentals. For some recreational amenities you don't often see at rural campgrounds, Bucktail Camping Resort (bucktailcamping.com) in Mansfield provides more than 200 full-hookup campsites and cabin rentals, with an antique carousel, miniature golf course and batting cages on site. Tanglewood Camping (tanglewoodcamping.com) in Covington has more than 100 primitive and full- and partial-hookup sites as well as cabin rentals. Grab supplies at the camp store and head down to the lake for some swimming, boating and licensed fishing, or drive north to Cowanesque Lake at Tompkins Recreation Area, where you'll find more camping, swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. All the campgrounds are open from spring through fall.
- Tioga Heritage Campground
- Recreation.gov: Ives Run Campground
- Stony Fork Creek Campground
- Canyon Country Campground
- Kenshire Campground
- Kearse's Campground: About Us
- Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Susquehannock State Park
- Twins Stream Campground
- Bucktail Family Fun Park Camping Resort
- Tanglewood Camping
- Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images
- Geotimes: Pine Creek Gorge: The Other Grand Canyon
- Youtube.com: Pine Creek Vista Campgrounds
- Woodall's 2012 Comprehensive Infoon Campgrounds; Ann Emerson, publisher