Riding the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe

Fall foliage around the train station in Jim Thorpe, PA.

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe is consistently ranked as one of the best sightseeing trains in the northeastern United States.

Coach car on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.
Coach car on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.

Recently I had a chance to take the fall foliage excursion, and I can confirm this is indeed a train ride you won’t soon forget!

View from onboard the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway fall foliage train.
View from onboard the fall foliage train.

Departing from the historic train station in downtown Jim Thorpe, the train winds its way north into Lehigh Gorge State Park, before returning on the same track.

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway fall folaige excursion passing through the Lehigh Gorge on October 20, 2021.
The fall foliage excursion train passing through the Lehigh Gorge.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know to make your own memories aboard the historic Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.

Inside one of the open air cars on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway fall foliage excursion.
Inside one of the open air cars on the fall foliage excursion.

How to Find the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway departs from the train station located at One Susquehanna Street, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229.

A map to the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe, PA.
A map to the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe, PA.

There is a large municipal parking lot next to the train station – the weekday I went it cost $8.00 for the entire day, which I thought was very reasonable.

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway preparing to board in Jim Thorpe, PA.
Preparing to board in Jim Thorpe, PA.

The ticket booth is located next to the old train station.

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway ticket booth next to the train station in Jim Thorpe.
Ticket booth next to the train station in Jim Thorpe.

I purchased a $20.00 seat on an open air car; seats on a standard coach car were a few dollars cheaper.

Open air car on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.
Open air car.

You can even rent out the entire caboose for $125, for up to 6 passengers.

Caboose on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.
Caboose on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.

Riding the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

The fall foliage excursions are 45 minute out-and back trips, departing from Jim Thorpe and heading north into Lehigh Gorge State Park, before reversing course and returning along the same tracks.

Looking towards the engines on the fall foliage excursion aboard the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.
Looking towards the engines on the fall foliage excursion aboard the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway.

The day I rode the train, it was pulled by two diesel locomotives.

One of the two diesel engines pulling the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway fall foliage train.
One of the two diesel engines pulling the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway fall foliage train.

The train crosses over the Lehigh River on its way towards Glen Onoko.

Passing over the Lehigh River on the fall foliage train out of Jim Thorpe.
Passing over the Lehigh River on the fall foliage train out of Jim Thorpe.

Along the way we passed numerous cyclists riding the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail.

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway passing bikers along the Lehigh Gorge rail trail.
The train passing bikers along the Lehigh Gorge rail trail.

The open air cars like I was riding on provide an excellent view of the passing landscape.

The view from inside an open air car on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway fall foliage excursion.
The view from inside an open air car on the fall foliage excursion.

Eventually we returned to the train station in Jim Thorpe.

The Jim Thorpe train station, now a Visitor Center.
The Jim Thorpe train station, now a Visitor Center.

After getting a “make it official” photo, I set out to do a bit of exploring across the street from the train station.

Photo op at the Jim Thorpe train station.
Photo op at the Jim Thorpe train station.

Many people come to Jim Thorpe just to soak up the architecture.

The Carbon County Courthouse in Jim Thorpe.
The Carbon County Courthouse in Jim Thorpe.

Without strolling more than a block or two from the train station, you’ll understand why!

The Asa Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe, PA.
The Asa Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe, PA.

In a town whose fortunes were built on coal, it’s impressive to see how the economy here has pivoted to a largely tourism-driven one.

Carbon County historical marker next to the Carbon County Courthouse in downtown Jim Thorpe,PA.
Carbon County historical marker next to the Carbon County Courthouse in downtown Jim Thorpe,PA.

And the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is certainly a big part of that.

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway fall foliage train passing through Glen Onoko on October 20th, 2021.
The fall foliage train passing through Glen Onoko on October 20th, 2021.

The Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe is a steep but easy-to-follow trail leading up Mount Pisgah to a pair of fantastic Carbon County vistas.

The Lehigh Gorge Overlook at the top of the Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe.
The Lehigh Gorge Overlook at the top of the Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe.

Exploring Hickory Run State Park is an in-depth guide to the best things to see and do at this 15,990-acre park in Carbon County, just north of Jim Thorpe.

Stametz Dam along the Shades of Death Trail at Hickory Run State Park.
Stametz Dam at Hickory Run State Park.

Turn Hole Tunnel is an abandoned railroad tunnel located near the Glen Onoko access to Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Looking through the Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park towards the north portal.
Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

And directly above Turn Hole Tunnel you’ll find Moyer’s Rock Overlook, offering a commanding view of the Lehigh Gorge.

Moyer's Rock Overlook on an October afternoon at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Moyer’s Rock Overlook on an October afternoon at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park is a cascading waterfall along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail, 1/4 mile north of the Rockport Access to the park and rail trail.

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Luke’s Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park is an easy 1/4 mile hike/bike ride south of the Rockport Access along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail.

Fall foliage around Luke's Falls in October, 2021.
Fall foliage around Luke’s Falls in October, 2021.

Tank Hollow Overlook in Carbon County offers visitors a stunning view of a bend in the Lehigh River in the western Poconos.

Panoramic view of Tank Hollow Overlook in the Lehigh Gorge.
Panoramic view of Tank Hollow Overlook in the Lehigh Gorge.

Railfans will be happy to know that the East Broad Top Railroad in Huntingdon County is back and running again!

A diesel engine pulls passenger cars along the East Broad Top Railroad line in September, 2021.
A diesel engine pulls passenger cars along the East Broad Top Railroad line in September, 2021.

Did you enjoy this article?

If so, be sure to like and follow PA Bucket List on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest to learn more about the best things to see and do in Pennsylvania!

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


Pennsylvania’s Best Travel Blog!

Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here