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Near Wellsboro, PA
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Reviewed by: Bill Ames
Best reason to go: West Rim Trail, solitude
Cost: prevailing state park rates, about $15
Prime Campsites: almost all of them!
The campsites at Colton Point are all spread out, with plenty of privacy. Sites 1-7, 13, and 19-25 are drive-in, and the rest are walk-in.
Your only real decision is how far you want to walk to the head--a clivus multrum composting toilet.
In addition to a nice new lantern hanger, each site has a raised, level bed for your tent. While I feared some punctures from the tiny gravel, my ground tarp protected well enough. It's nice not to have to sleep on knotted roots and odd rocks. The platforms also keep water out of your tent in the event of a downpour. A standard picnic table completes the setup. I especially liked site 20, but as I said, they are all nice.
Visit the DCNR for a camp map or for a map of the entire park.
Colton Point is within walking distance of some of the best views in the state of Pennsylvania. Perched atop the Pine Creek Gorge, this "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" is a true gem. I've camped at Colton Point for both hiking and canoe trips, and it makes a great base camp for those activities.
The West Rim Trail runs close by, and the shorter included Barbour Rock Trail is within a mile or so. If you want to take a relatively short day hike, the Barbour Rock Trail takes you to some of the best spots of the West Rim Trail in a hurry. You can probably hike the whole thing in a couple hours, walking from your campsite. This trail includes an overlook of the Owasee Rapids and brings you right to the edge of the rim. If you can only take one hike, make sure this is it. Look for a variety of mushrooms after a rain :-)
At the bottom of the gorge is the Pine Creek Gorge Rail Trail, a multi-use trail suitable more for biking, I think, but it follows an historic railroad bed from the lumbering days. You might also want to head over to Leonard Harrison State Park and head down the Turkey Path, which is a fairly popular hike to a nice waterfall. The Turkey path is also available across the creek, and meets up with the Rim Trail (not to be confused with the West Rim Trail) on the Colton Point side. If you want a nice, all-day hike, shuttle from Leonard Harrison, down the Turkey Path, across Pine Creek, up the Turkey Path and up the Rim Trail to your campsite. Also available from Leonard Harrison is the Overlook Trail, which I think is overrated.
What I like the most about this campground is the relative solitude. Many PA parks are crowded, and the sites are shoehorned into a space that I feel is too small to enjoy. This park is different, and the sites have plenty of space, trees and undergrowth to provide some privacy--you won't feel like your neighbors are staring at you the whole time.
The campground is at a fairly high elevation, so figure on needing a little extra warmth, and there are no showers. You can use the facilities at nearby Leonard Harrison State Park, which is on the opposite rim of the canyon, or you can bring waterless shower supplies or your own hot water.
The West Rim Trail is probably the best reason to camp here, but if you want some diversions, there are some nice gift shops and "Reptile Land" nearby. If you stop by Pine Creek Outfitters in Ansonia (off RT 6) you can get maps and some personal recommendations for things to do.
There are several eagles nesting in the Canyon, and I've seen more than one blue heron. I've not seen any bears :-)
If you intend to canoe Pine Creek, better get there before Memorial Day, as it usually gets dry soon afterward.
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