Exploring Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in Cameron County

Exploring Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in Cameron County Pennsylvania

Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is a gorgeous off-trail scenic overlook in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area in Cameron County.

The "spine" of Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.
The “spine” of Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.

First popularized by hiking blogger/outdoors author Jeff Mitchell, this overlook had been on my “must-see” list for quite awhile, and I finally made the trip in late September 2022.

Early season fall foliage along the hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in Cameron County Pennsylvania.
Early season fall foliage along the Elk State Forest in September 2022.

Not only did I visit Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista, but located two additional nearby vistas that Jeff had speculated might exist.

Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Cameron County portion of the Elk State Forest
Lower Jerry Run Vista.

So what follows is my trip report from visiting these three scenic overlooks in Cameron County, as well as trail maps/directions/GPS coordinates that will hopefully make your hike a little easier, should you choose to go see them for yourself.

Parts of the forest road leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista are covered by ferns.
Parts of the forest road leading to the vistas are covered by ferns.

Directions to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista

The hike to these three scenic vistas takes place approximately 3 miles east (as the crow flies) of Sinnemahoning, in eastern Cameron County.

Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is located just east of Sinnemahoning on the Cameron-Clinton County line.
Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is located just east of Sinnemahoning on the Cameron-Clinton County line.

The trailhead is accessed via Montour Road, a gravel forest road that as of September 2022 was in good condition and passable by a standard passenger car.

Montour Road in the Elk State Forest leads to the parking area for the Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista hike.
Montour Road in the Elk State Forest leads to the parking area for this hike.

The parking area for the hike is located 2.5 miles from Route 120, up Montour Road along the north side of the road – if navigating by GPS use coordinates 41.32539, -78.04270 to find the parking lot.

The Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista parking area along Montour Road in the Elk State Forest.
The parking area along Montour Road in the Elk State Forest.

The trailhead for the hike is located at a gated forest road 100 yards south of the parking area, along Montour Road.

The trail head for the hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is this gate located just a few yards southwest of the parking area along Montour Road.
The trail head is this gate located 100 yards south of the parking area along Montour Road.

The Hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista

The hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is two miles one-way (or four miles out-and-back); add another half-mile to your total mileage of you choose to visit all three vistas mentioned here.

Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Elk State Forest is comprised of a large south-facing rock outcropping.
Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Elk State Forest is comprised of a large south-facing rock outcropping.

The majority of the hike takes place on an unblazed but obvious gated forest road in the Elk State Forest; two of the three vistas mentioned have you crossing over into the Bucktail State Park Natural Area as well.

The forest floor along the Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista trail is a sea of ferns.
The forest floor in the Elk State Forest.

From the trailhead gate along Montour Road, follow the forest road for approximately 475 yards until you reach a pipeline right-of-way.

The first part of the hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista follows a gated forest road through the Elk State Forest.
The first part of the hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista follows a gated forest road through the Elk State Forest.

Once you reach the pipeline, turn left and follow the left edge of the pipeline for 175 yards, until you reach a small stand of pines that jut out into the pipeline clearing.

The hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista follows this pipeline right-of-way for approximately 175 yards.
The hike follows this pipeline right-of-way for approximately 175 yards.

At the small stand of pines, you’ll turn left (south) again and follow the forest road – this is really the only tricky part of the hike as the forest road is partially obscured by the pines.

The trail leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista branches off of the pipeline right-of-way in a grove of pines that jut out into the pipeline swath.
The trail leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista branches off of the pipeline right-of-way in a grove of pines that jut out into the pipeline swath.

If you’re navigating by GPS (which I advise), use coordinates 41.32133, -78.04812 to help you pinpoint this trail junction.

The first part of the hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista utilizes a gated forest road and a pipeline right-of-way.
The first part of the hike to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista utilizes a gated forest road and a pipeline right-of-way.

From here, the next 1.2 miles is simply hiking along a fairly flat, moss-covered forest road.

The moss-covered forest road leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is beautiful in its own right.
The moss-covered forest road leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is beautiful in its own right.

Eventually the forest road dead-ends into what looks like a fern-covered cul-de-sac in the forest.

The forest road leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista dead-ends into a fern-covered cul-de-sac just north of the overlook.
The forest road leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista dead-ends into a fern-covered cul-de-sac just north of the overlook.

If you poke around on the east side of this open area, you’ll find the remnants of an old car that someone dove back here and ditched a long time ago.

A long-abandoned car at the end of the old forest road leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in Cameron County Pennsylvania.
A long-abandoned car at the end of the old forest road leading to Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista.

From here, each of the three vistas is downhill, albeit in slightly different directions.

A map showing Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista, as well as vistas in close proximity to the north and south of it.
A map showing Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista, as well as vistas in close proximity to the north and south of it.

The forest just beyond the cul-de-sac is fairly thick for the fist 75 yards, but soon opens up as you cross into the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.

Open woods above Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.
Open woods above Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.

I visited the three overlooks moving from north to south, so that’s how I’ll describe them here; you can visit them in any order you choose.

Topo map showing Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista, as well as two nearby vistas in Cameron County.
Topo map showing Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista, as well as two nearby vistas.

Upper Jerry Run Vista

Upper Jerry Run Vista looks out across Route 120 far below and southwest into the Upper Jerry Run Valley.

Upper Jerry Run Vista is located approximately 400 yards northwest of Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista.
Upper Jerry Run Vista is located approximately 400 yards northwest of Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista.

Upper Jerry Run Vista is located at GPS coordinates 41.30287, -78.05031, roughly 250 yards west and 100 feet downhill from the cul-de-sac.

View to the southwest from Upper Jerry Run Vista in the Bucktail State Park Natural area.
View to the southwest from Upper Jerry Run Vista in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.

Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista

Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is located at GPS coordinates 41.30009, -78.04866, roughly 376 yards and 250 feet downhill from the cul-de-sac.

Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista on a late September afternoon in Cameron County Pennsylvania.
Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista on a late September afternoon in Cameron County.

Also located in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area, this vista offers 180 degree views of the Sinnemahoning Creek Canyon and the Sproul State Forest on the southern side of Sinnemahoning Creek.

Looking due south from Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in Bucktail State Park Natural Area.
Looking due south from Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista towards the Sproul State Forest.

Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista is one of the most impressive overlooks I’ve hiked to in recent memory, and worth the hike itself, even if you chose not to visit the other two vistas mentioned here.

Looking in the direction of Sinnemahoning from Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.
Looking in the direction of Sinnemahoning from Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.

Lower Jerry Run Vista

Lower Jerry Run Vista is located at GPS coordinates 41.29670, -78.04411, approximately 812 yards and 225 feet downhill from the cul-de-sac.

Late September afternoon at Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Elk State Forest of PA.
Late September afternoon at Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Elk State Forest of PA.

This vista is located in the Elk State Forest, and offers views into the Middle and Lower Jerry Run valleys on the opposite side of Sinnemahoning Creek.

View to the south from Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Elk State Forest of Pennsylvania.
View to the south from Lower Jerry Run Vista.

The rock outcropping that makes up Lower Jerry Run Vista is interesting in and of itself.

Side view of the rock formation that makes up Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Elk State Forest.
Side view of the Lower Jerry Run Vista rock outcropping.

As a side note – Lower Jerry Run Vista is the only place along this entire hike where I was able to get a cell phone signal (on Verizon service), should you need to get a call out.

Standing below the rock outcropping that comprises Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Elk State Forest of PA.
Standing below the rock outcropping that comprises Lower Jerry Run Vista in the Elk State Forest of PA.

The Return Hike

The return hike is a simply matter of retracing your steps back the forest road and pipeline right-of-way to you vehicle, completing this off-trail but straightforward hike to some amazing views in Cameron County!

Hiking the Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista Trail in the Elk State Forest in Pennsylvania.
Return hike to the parking area along Montour Road.

Nearby Attractions

11 Must-See Attractions in Cameron County is your guide to even more great things to see and do near Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista.

Hiking through the rock formations along the Fred Woods Trail in Cameron County
Hiking the Fred Woods Trail in Cameron County.

8 Must-See Attractions in Elk County is your guide to some of the best things to see and do in Cameron County‚Äôs neighbor to the west.

The Best Things to See and Do in Elk County PA.
Scenes from Elk County, PA.

Hyner View State Park, just east of Sinnemahoning Canyon Vista, offers visitors one of the most famous scenic overlooks in all of Pennsylvania!

Fall foliage views for miles at Hyner View State Park.
Fall foliage views for miles at Hyner View State Park.

70 of the Best Scenic Overlooks in PA is your guide to amazing views from all across Pennsylvania!

A hiker takes in the view from Big Mountain Overlook in Fulton County PA
A hiker takes in the view from Big Mountain Overlook in Fulton County, PA.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.