PA Wilds Hikes: Barbour Rock Trail
By Morgan Hilliard
Many people travel to Tioga County for amazing views of Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon and a visit to Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks. Little do they know, there’s another breathtaking vista just a small easy hike away! This trail is called the Barbour Rock Trail. It’s located on the western rim of the canyon along the West Rim Trail and is part of Tioga State Forest, but not within Colton Point State Park. This trail passes through a gorgeous second-growth forest made up of a majority of hardwood trees. It’s a wonderful sunrise spot as you see a 180-degree view of the canyon, almost 850 feet down to Pine Creek, and the Pine Creek Rail Trail below. A favorite for all ages, it’s also wheelchair and stroller accessible.
History of the Trail
The Barbour Rock Trail was constructed in 1978 by the Youth Conservation Corps and named after Samuel Barbour, who died in a log jam on Owassee Rapids in the 1890’s. Owassee Rapids is also known as Barbour’s Bend.
This trail is wheelchair accessible, though it is recommended that wheelchairs should have pneumatic tires as the trail might be troublesome with rubber tires. The trail is made of crushed stone. The average grade is 3%, though it can go up to 6% in some spots along the trail. Motorized wheelchairs are allowed on the trail.
How to Get There
Off of Route 6, turn onto Colton Road and go about 3 miles until you reach the parking lot on the right. If you reach the entrance to Colton Point State Park, you’ve passed the parking lot. GPS coordinates for the parking lot: 41.723338, -77.455741.
The trailhead is just across the road from the parking lot. You’ll see a big brown sign for the trail. GPS coordinates for the trailhead: 41.72323, -77.45591. Once you find the trailhead, you’ll head forward on the stone trail for about .2 miles. There you will have the option to take the blue-blazed and accessible widened stone trail that veers right or take the yellow-blazed trail on the left. If you take the blue-blazed trail, you’ll just keep following the path until you reach the overlook. If you take the yellow-blazed trail, you will once again come upon another fork in the trail. Either way will take you to the overlook, and if you like you can take the other way back for a different perspective! The official overlook has a fence and a bench. There are also several non-official lookouts along the trails – one just to the left of the official overlook along the yellow-blazed trail, and others along the blue-blazed trail.
Keep in mind that most of these non-official overlooks do not have fencing and do have very steep drops — so use extreme caution and hike at your own risk.
Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon!
First Day Hike 2022
Don’t forget to participate in the 2022 First Day Hike to ring in the New Year in a refreshing way. Hike the Barbour Rock Trail or check out your local state park to see when their scheduled First Day Hike is. Here is a list of the State Parks in the PA Wilds that are participating in the tradition and some additional information about First Day Hike.
About the Author
Morgan joined the PA Wilds Center in 2021 and manages the PA Wilds Conservation Shop at Leonard Harrison State Park, a unique gift shop featuring locally made creations from members of the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania. Prior to the PA Wilds Morgan graduated from the University of Delaware for Apparel Design, created her own website to promote sustainability and outdoor advocacy, completed the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Program, and has a passion for all things involving nature.
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