Exploring the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park

0
1286
Looking out over the Pine Creek Gorge at Leonard Harrison State Park.

The Turkey Path is a popular mile-long hiking trail in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon that combines stunning views with several outstanding waterfalls.

The trail descends 750 feet from the vistas up top to the banks of Pine Creek at the bottom.

An observation area near the Turkey Path trailhead at the PA Grand Canyon.
An scenic lookout near the Turkey Path trailhead at Leonard Harrison State Park.

Along the way you will pass numerous waterfalls on Little Fourmile Run, as the stream and trail run parallel to one another for half of the hike.

Observation area along the Turkey Path in the PA Grand Canyon.
Waterfall along the Turkey Path in the PA Grand Canyon.

So let’s examine the Turkey Path and what you can expect to see along the way.


Hiking the Turkey Path

The trail begins near the Visitors Center at Leonard Harrison State Park, and yes there are restrooms there.

For real time information about current trail conditions and any potential closures, please visit the park’s official website.

A map of the Turkey Path Trail at Leonard Harrison State Park.
A map of the Turkey Path Trail at Leonard Harrison State Park.

The hike is steep, but manageable. My daughter (pictured below) first hiked it with me when she was 6, so don’t let the warning signs scare you away.

Turkey Path trailhead at Leonard Harrison State Park in Tioga County.
Turkey Path trailhead at Leonard Harrison State Park in Tioga County.

ANY hike can be “hazardous” if you come unprepared.

Bring proper footwear, a bottle of water, and a hiking pole and you’ll be fine.


The View from the Trailhead

The views near the Turkey Path trailhead are some of the finest anywhere in Pennsylvania.

A view of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon from the Turkey Path.
A view of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon near the Turkey Path trailhead.

If you’ve ever wondered why this area is called the “Pennsylvania Grand Canyon“, you’ll wonder no more!


First Half of the Turkey Path

The first half of the Turkey Path is a descent down a series of switchbacks until you reach Little Fourmile Run.

Navigating the Turkey Path Trail in Tioga County.
Navigating the Turkey Path Trail in Tioga County.

The trail can certainly be slippery after a hard rain, so again I want to emphasize PROPER FOOTWEAR (not flip-flops) as essential gear for safely navigating this trail.


Second Half of the Turkey Path

After descending the trail for approximately 0.4 miles, you will reach Little Fourmile Run and see the first of four waterfalls that you’ll encounter on your descent to the bottom.

The uppermost waterfall along the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.
The uppermost waterfall along the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.

All of the waterfalls you’ll encounter along the Turkey Path can be seen from the trail itself, but if you want closer views, obvious user-created trails veer off at each one.

You’ll encounter more infrastructure in the form of stairways and benches as you hike parallel to the stream, on your way to the remaining waterfalls.

Navigating the steps along the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.
Navigating the steps along the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.

The next waterfall you encounter is the tallest one along the Turkey Path.

The tallest waterfall along the Turkey Path in Tioga County.
The tallest waterfall along the Turkey Path in Tioga County.

This waterfall looks particularly outstanding dressed in fall foliage.

Fall foliage around the tallest waterfalls along the Turkey Path.
Fall foliage around the tallest waterfalls along the Turkey Path.

Continue down the trail to more stairways and waterfalls.

Waterfalls along the Turkey Path in Tioga County.
Waterfalls along the Turkey Path in Tioga County.

Even without a lot of water, Little Fourmile Run provides for some stellar sights and sounds.

Fall foliage and waterfalls along the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.
Fall foliage and waterfalls along the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.

Of course when there IS a lot of water, it’s pretty outstanding as well!

Waterfall along the Turkey Path near Wellsboro.
Waterfall along the Turkey Path near Wellsboro.

As you near the bottom of the Turkey Path, you encounter one more remarkable waterfall.

Waterfalls near the bottom of the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.
Waterfalls near the bottom of the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.

This is an exquisite waterfall when the autumn leaves cover the rocks around it.

Waterfall next to the Pine Creek Rail Trail along the Turkey Path.
Waterfall next to the Pine Creek Rail Trail along the Turkey Path.

Not much water? No problem – still looks fantastic!

Waterfalls near the intersection of the Turkey Path and the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
Waterfalls near the intersection of the Turkey Path and the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Standing downstream, with your back to the Pine Creek Rail Trail, you can take in the full grandeur and complexity of this exemplary waterfall.

The waterfalls closest to the bottom of the Turkey Path.
The waterfalls closest to the bottom of the Turkey Path.

Bottom of the Turkey Path

As you reach the bottom of the Turkey Path, you’ll step onto the Pine Creek Rail Trail, so be vigilant for oncoming cyclists.

The Pine Creek Rail Trail Bridge over Little Fourmile Run.
The Pine Creek Rail Trail Bridge over Little Fourmile Run.

Now walk down to the banks of Pine Creek and take in the view!

Pine Creek as viewed from the bottom of the Turkey Path.
Pine Creek as viewed from the bottom of the Turkey Path.

You’re now standing on the banks of one of Pennsylvania’s most outstanding waterways.

You’re also standing about 750 feet in elevation below where you were 45 minutes ago!


The Return Hike

AC/DC famously sang “It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll”.

Guess what?

Hiking to the top of the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.
Hiking to the top of the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.

The same thing applies to the Turkey Path!

The return hike is all uphill for a mile, retracing your descent and 750 feet in elevation change.

Fortunately those same benches you passed on the way down are there for when you need to take a breather.

And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ultimate reward for completing this hike…

Enjoying lunch at the Wellsboro Diner after hiking the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.
Enjoying lunch at the Wellsboro Diner after hiking the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.

Lunch at the Wellsboro Diner!


Final Thoughts

The Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park makes for an AWESOME family outing, provided you are an outdoorsy kind of family to begin with.

The author and daughter along the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.
The author and daughter along the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park.

Superb waterfalls, an exhilarating hike, and incomparable vistas – what more could you ask for?!

You absolutely MUST put the Turkey Path at Leonard Harrison State Park on your PA Bucket List!


Nearby Attractions

The opposite side of the PA Grand Canyon has it’s own amazing sights to behold.

Looking out over Pine Creek from Colton Point State Park
Looking out over Pine Creek from Colton Point State Park

Be sure to check out Colton Point State Park and the other 1/2 of the Turkey Path there.

Fourmile Run Falls on a summer afternoon.
Fourmile Run Falls near Colton Point State Park.


The easiest and most family friendly hiking/biking excursion I can suggest in Tioga County takes place along the Pine Creek Rail Trail, further south near Blackwell.

Stone Quarry Run Falls in mid-March 2019.
Stone Quarry Run Falls along the Pipne Creek Rail Trail.

That would be a trip to see the waterfalls along Stone Quarry Run and Water Tank Hollow, both located next to the flat, smooth rail trail.


Feeling more adventurous?

Then consider hiking the Bohen Trail to Bohen Run Falls and Jerry Run Falls.

The author at Bohen Run Falls.
The author at Bohen Run Falls.

This is a more demanding 4 mile out and back hike, with the trailhead also located in Blackwell.


Speaking of the Pine Creek Rail Trail, Campbells Run Falls is located less than a half-mile off of it near the Tiadaghton trailhead.

Campbells Run Falls in Tioga County PA
Campbells Run Falls in Tioga County PA

And if you don’t mind going off-trail all together (for a short distance, but off-trail nonetheless), then let me suggest a trip to Chimney Hollow Falls.

Steve standing on Chimney Hollow Falls, for a sense of scale.
Chimney Hollow Falls in Tioga County, PA.

Chimney Hollow Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the entire Pine Creek Gorge, and is located near Colton Point State Park, opposite Leonard Harrison State Park.


Did you enjoy this article?

If so, be sure to like and follow PA Bucket List on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest to stay up-to-date on my latest write-ups.

Click on any of the icons below to get connected to PA Bucket List on social media!


Pennsylvania’s Best AD-FREE Adventure Guide!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here