Enjoy an Adventure in Central Pennsylvania: Columbia and Montour Counties


Photo © Seunghyo Hong

Nestled in the heart of Central Pennsylvania, Columbia and Montour Counties are located only a few short hours west of New York City—the perfect distance for a long weekend getaway. The area is renowned for its rural beauty and outstanding adventure opportunities, but the quaint countryside also offers a treasure trove of local history and culture.

The landscape is comprised of rolling hills, farmlands, charming riverside communities, forests, parks, and state game lands. One must-see outdoor attraction is Ricketts Glen State Park, where hikers can enjoy a vast network of trails that take them past more than 20 stunning waterfalls.

There is also a beach, lake, campground, cabins, and kayak rentals. Another outdoor hotspot, the Montour Preserve is home to a 165-acre lake perfect for fishing and boating, educational maple sugaring programs in the early spring, and plenty of hiking trails. For archaeology lovers, a one-acre exposed Mahantango shale pit at the Preserve is open to the public for finders-keepers fossil hunting. And just south of the Preserve in Danville, the J. Manley Robbins Rail Trail is America’s oldest-known rails-to-trails system.

Those looking for an aquatic adventure will appreciate the Susquehanna River, the longest and oldest river on the east coast, which weaves directly through the counties. The slow-moving Susquehanna is the perfect spot for a leisurely summer kayak, canoe, or tubing excursion. If fishing is on the mind, Fishing Creek is one of the best trout streams in the state.

Nostalgia is heavy in the air at Knoebels Amusement Resort, where the old-fashioned rides and secluded woodland setting evoke sweet childhood memories. Knoebels has no entrance fee and offers free parking. The park has been named the “Favorite Traditional Amusement Park” in the country and the “Best Park for Families” by the National Amusement Park Historical Association. The park also boasts the number one wooden roller coaster in the world—the “Phoenix”—as awarded by Amusement Today in their annual Golden Ticket Awards.

columbia and montour counties
© Chris Cooley/Terry Wild Stock

Columbia and Montour counties are also home to 25 covered bridges, the third most in the nation. These “kissing bridges” symbolize small-town America, and coax travelers off the beaten path to explore little streams and forgotten dirt roads. Every year, visitors from all over the world come to admire the antique craftsmanship of the bridges and relax in the quiet countryside.

When planning your visit, the counties offer over a dozen bed and breakfast options and several hotels, motels, and campgrounds. After a tasty home-cooked breakfast, set out for a day filled with antiquing, local farmers’ markets, and sampling flavors at the area’s wineries and craft breweries. The ever-popular River Rat Brew Trail is Central Pennsylvania’s premier craft beer trail and encompasses 13 enterprising breweries with countless specialty drafts.

From the earliest blossoms of spring to the last leaves of autumn, the counties have no shortage of fairs, festivals, and carnivals. Many towns host weekend street fairs in April and May featuring local artisans, entertainment, and delicious homemade foods.

July brings cowboys and cowgirls to the Benton Rodeo and blues lovers find their way to the Briggs Farm Blues Festival. The counties are also prime destinations for fall foliage lovers. Local corn mazes, seasonal foods, pumpkin patches, and train rides all make for an unforgettable fall family getaway.

To request a free Travel Guide and to get more information, visit: iTourColumbiaMontour.com. You may also contact the Visitors Bureau by calling 1-800-847-4810.

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