If you’re looking for the best things to see and do in Potter County, you’re in the right place!
The county was formed in 1804 and is named after James Potter, a Continental Army general from Pennsylvania during the American Revolution.
Because of it’s rugged natural beauty and ample outdoor attractions, Potter County is often referred to as “God’s Country”.
From state parks and state forests to museums and historic ruins, here are 14 of the best things to see and do in Potter County, Pennsylvania!
1. Cherry Springs State Park
You’ll find the darkest skies east of the Mississippi at Cherry Springs State Park, which makes the 82-acre Potter County park a magnet for casual stargazers and serious astronomers alike.
Featuring several observation fields, Cherry Springs State Park offers great views of the Milky Way, the planets, and other astronomical objects and phenomena not normally visible in Pennsylvania due to light pollution.
2. Lyman Run State Park
Lyman Run State Park is a 595-acre park located in northern Potter County.
At the heart of the park is Lyman Run Lake, a 45-acre man-made lake used for swimming, fishing, and boating.
3. Cherry Springs Vista
If navigating by GPS, you’ll find Cherry Springs Vista at coordinates 41.64538, -77.79962.
4. Boone Run Vista
Boone Run Vista is a roadside scenic overlook located 2.4 miles from Cherry Springs State Park, along Junction Road.
If navigating by GPS, you’ll find Boone Run Vista at coordinates 41.63511, -77.81436.
5. Ole Bull State Park
Ole Bull State Park is named in honor of Ole Bornemann Bull, a famous Norwegian violinist who purchased 11,144 acres in Potter County and attempted to develop a Norwegian colony there that he dubbed “New Norway”.
Hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, and picnicking are all popular activities at the park.
6. Austin Dam Memorial Park
Austin Dam Memorial Park is a beautiful but sobering destination to explore, with trails meandering through the towering ruins of a breached dam that caused the second-worst flood disaster in Pennsylvania history.
At least 78 people were killed in the flood caused by the dam’s failure, as a wall of water estimated to be 50 feet tall swept down the narrow valley into the small town of Austin a mile downstream.
Austin Dam Memorial Park is located along Route 872 at GPS coordinates 41.65314, -78.08517.
7. Bayless Paper Mill Ruins
The abandoned Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County is part of a planned 329 acre park and interpretive center dedicated to telling the story of the paper mill, the dam built to sustain it, and the disastrous 1911 flood that resulted when that dam broke, killing at least 78 people and devastating both the mill and the surrounding town of Austin.
If you’re looking for just a quick glimpse of the Bayless Paper Mill Ruins, then there is a roadside pull-off along Route 872, just north of Austin.
A recently-completed hiking trail, linking the ruins of the Austin Dam to the ruins of the Bayless Paper Mill, is an option for those looking to get a more up-close look at history.
8. Water Tank Vista
Water Tank Vista is located roadside along Route 44, just 3.5 miles from Cherry Springs State Park.
If navigating by GPS you’ll find this spectacular roadside vista at coordinates 41.66010, -77.78063.
9. The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum features a beautiful blend of historic artifacts and interactive exhibits related to one of the most important industries in the state in the 19th century.
Situated along historic Route 6 in the mountains of Potter County, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum helps visitors understand the history of the lumbering industry in the Keystone State, from the arrival of the first Europeans to the present day.
The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum is located along Route 6 at GPS coordinates 41.77927, -77.82623.
10. Denton Hill State Park
Denton Hill State Park is located directly across Route 6 from the aforementioned Pennsylvania Lumber Museum.
Once home to a popular ski resort, the slopes and lodge now sit abandoned.
While rumors occasionally swirl that a private company will partner with the state to reopen the resort, as of now it remains an enigmatic and beautifully dystopian spot to explore.
11. Longtoe Vista
Longtoe Vista is a roadside scenic overlook 6.8 miles northwest of Cherry Springs State Park.
If navigating by GPS, you’ll find Longtoe Vista along Route 44 at coordinates 41.70989, -77.91442.
12. Sinnemahoning State Park
Sinnemahoning State Park spans parts of Potter and Cameron counties, encompassing 1,910 acres of magnificent scenery and outstanding wildlife habitat on both sides of First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek.
Access to the park is from Route 872 at various entrances along this north-south highway, with the closest small towns being Sinnemahoning to the south and Austin to the north.
13. Pine Hill Summit Vista
Pine Hill Summit Vista is a roadside overlook and picnic area along Route 44 in Potter County.
If navigating by GPS, use coordinates 41.55539, -77.64796 to locate Pine Hill Summit Vista.
14. Susquehannock State Forest
Susquehannock State Forest derives its name from the Susquehannock tribe that once inhabited Potter County.
It comprises 265,000 acres and contains the Hammersley Wild Area, a 30,253-acre wild area that is the largest area without a road in Pennsylvania.
So there you have it – 14 of the best things to see and do in Potter County, Pennsylvania!
Kinzua Bridge State Park in neighboring McKean County is home to what was once the longest and tallest railway bridge in the entire world – The Kinzua Viaduct.
Partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003, the remaining 600 feet of the bridge was reborn as the Kinzua Skywalk in 2011.
31 Must-See Attractions in Tioga County is a guide to the best things to see and do in Potter County’s neighbor to the east.
13 Must-See Attractions in Clinton County shows you some of the best things to see and do in Potter County’s neighbor to the south.
9 Must-See Attractions in Lycoming County is a guide to the best things to see and do in Potter County’s neighbor to the southeast.
11 Must-See Attractions in Cameron County is a guide to the best things to see and do in Potter County’s neighbor to the southwest.
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