Route: West Rim Trail (Lycoming County, PA)

Pennsylvania, US
29.7 mi

Maggie Gesue reported:

The West Rim trail is located in Lycoming County, PA, and runs along the Pine Creek Gorge, the grand canyon of Pennsylvania. I wrote a little about it here I can't wait to go back and run it again. 

Phil Maynard added some more detail, and some options for making this route into a loop:

This trail is unique for the area, because it is extremely runnable. Most of the longer trails in Allegheny Plateau are characterized by steep, loose shale and swampy areas, with limited long-range views. That’s not to say there isn’t some excellent hiking in the area, but the West Rim is unique. Hugging the edge of the Pine Creek canyon, it offers tremendous views, and stays very dry. And yet, it crosses numerous small tributaries that provide ample sources for water. And, because the trail contours gently around most of these tributary gullies, it’s very rarely steep enough to force you to hike.


30 miles of dry, runnable, trail with very few roads and plenty of water - that makes for a good route already. The real kicker is the creek in the cayon. By running south to north, you can finish the trail, tack on a couple miles of road, and jump in a canoe or kayak to paddle back to your car. This is a very aesthetic loop, and the contrast between the rim and the canyon is incredible. Pine Creek is only Class II most of the time, so even a novice paddler can make it down in one piece. And of course, being able to do the West Rim as a one-way hike without a car shuttle is more aesthetic. There’s a also a cinder-surface rail-trail in the canyon, so you could bike the return journey if you’d prefer, or run the rail-trail to complete the loop on foot. 


The West Rim Trail has a Strava segment.

Apparently there's a triathlon called the "CanyonMan100", which includes the paddling AND biking options:

We will record FKTs here if they improve on the race records.


GPS Track


There is currently no male FKT on this route, which is shocking because it’s such a great line. I am going to attempt this, including a paddle back to the car, and will submit my time here. I do so with an emphasis on the “K”, because I find it hard to believe nobody has ever done it faster. My intent here, as with most of my attempts, is to draw attention to the route. I’ll be looking for a weather window in early May sometime. Ideally things will be fairly dry and cool, but with river levels over 2.0ft for quick paddling. I would welcome some company/competition if anyone is up for it! I hope to get it done in under 5 hours, but I’ve never run it (I’ve backpacked it as a multi-day), and perhaps I will end up over my head.