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Photos by Kim Erickson &
Jeff Hiller


Wayne County Chamber of Commerce

32 Commercial Street, Suite 200
Honesdale, PA 18431

Phone: (570) 253-1960
Fax: (570) 253-1517

GPS
Lat.: 41 degrees 34' 17.114" N
Lon.: 75 degrees 15' 22.235" W

 

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Driving Tour

Scenic Highway Driving Tour
Circuit swings north from Honesdale


  • General description: This 66.3-mile circuit travels quiet mountain highways through the Pocono Mountains of Wayne County. From historic Honesdale, the leisurely route swings north, pinches to the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, travels past secluded lakes and ponds, and ventures through sleepy villages and leafy forests for a meandering return.
  • Special attractions: Remnants of the Delaware and Hudson Canal; the Stourbridge Line excursion train; Dorflinger Glass Museum; Upper Delaware River; a fish nursery; autumn foliage and winter bald eagle watching; fishing, canoeing, boating, skiing and other winter sports, shopping, antiquing.
  • Location: Remote northeast corner of the state. Start at Honesdale (32 miles northwest of Interstate 84, exit 46).
  • Drive route numbers: U.S. Highway 6; Pennsylvania Highways 191, 370, and 670.
  • Travel season: Year-round.
  • Camping: Private campgrounds serve travelers along the route. On Lake Wallenpaupack (12 miles southeast of Honesdale, along U.S. 6) is the Pennsylvania Power and Light's Wilsonville Campground with 318 modern sites.
  • Services: Find full services in Honesdale and in Hawley, to its south off U.S. 6. Otherwise, services are limited.
  • Nearby attractions: Zane Grey Museum and Roeblings Aqueduct (in Lackawaxen); Lake Wallenpaupack; historic Hawley; Shohola Falls Recreation Area; Claws and Paws Animal Park (Lake Ariel).

The drive

This drive celebrates the remote, laid-back beauty of the Pocono Mountains and the shining waters that divide the ridges and reflect the calm. The highways have a back roads quietness, with a variety of unhurried stops: at family picnic areas, historic society museums, and old mill, pond and river fishing accesses, a fish hatchery, and farm stands. In fact, what most recommends this tour is its continuous, winning signature of simplicity and naturalness.

Seasonal changes suggest repeat tours: The month of May typically heralds the arrival of shad in the Delaware River. In September, the leaves on the trees and shrubs stop synthesizing their chlorophyll and change color, becoming a full-blazing kaleidoscope by the second week of October.

Next up, December through March sounds the arrival of the wintering bald eagles. Then, ice skates, cross-country, cross-country skis, and horse-drawn sleighs offer alternative conveyance. When ice, frost, and snow brush the Pocono landscape, it is easy to become inspired. So, it comes as no surprise that a Honesdale resident penned the Christmas song "Winter Wonderland."

On Main Street, which advances both U.S. 6/PA 191 through the center of Honesdale, locate the Wayne County Historical Society Museum (810 Main Street); it signals the start of the tour. The museum occupies the old brick office of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and has a fine collection of area history (an admission fee is charged; hours vary).

Out the office's back door was the 108-mile, privately owned and operated Delaware and Hudson Canal (1828-1898), which transported anthracite coal from Carbondale, Pennsylvania to New York ports. The first leg of the journey between Carbondale and Honesdale required a 16-mile gravity railroad to haul the coal up and over the obstinate Moosic Mountains, west of town.

For what accomplished this hauling feat, see the pride of the historical society collection--the replica Stourbridge Lion, with a fierce painted lion decorating the steam-engine boiler. In 1829, its namesake first conquered the tracks of the canal company's gravity railroad, sounding the birth of the railroad industry in America and giving Honesdale its slogan: "birthplace of the American railroad."

The tracks behind the museum today belong to the Stourbridge Line excursion train, which operates weekends through out the year. Tickets are sold by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. The train runs to Lackawaxen or Hawley, with a stopover for sightseeing. Theme runs vary from old-time train hold-ups to an oompah band. Where the train follows along the Lackawaxen River remnants of the  canal can be seen.

For the loop drive , follow U.S. 6 West/PA 191 North through Honesdale, staying on PA 191 North in 0.3 mile. At the loop junction with PA 670 (at just under a mile), again stay north on PA 191 for a counterclockwise tour. Attractive homes from a by gone era usher the tour from town.

On the left, at the outskirts of Honesdale is Apple Grove Picnic Area, accessed by a rough dirt road. It occupies the bank of Dyberry Creek. Wooded hills overlook the site, while crickets drown out the sounds of PA 191. The grove's small playground can distract fidgeting youngsters.

Next pass Wayne County Fairgrounds, while pursuing Dyberry Creek. A turnout at 2.7 miles overlooks the countryside and a flood-control dam. Unbroken forest swallows much of the route. Over 100 species of tree contribute to the flamboyance of fall. Maple, oak, beech, gum, sassafras, aspen, birch, and conifers contribute to the richly woven tapestry. Hay-scented ferns and laurel patch the woodland floor.

A few cabins and lodges serve travelers. Gradually, sprawling farmhouses, barns, and cultivated fields create sprawling farmhouses, barns, and cultivated fields create openings for extended mountain views. Traffic along PA 191 typically advances in pulses; stay attentive to the road and await proper turnouts to pull over for photographs or leaf collecting.

The Poconos were first inhabited by Indians: the Delaware, Iroquois, Lenape, Minisink, Shawnee, and Paupack. Their influence lives on in the area names--Pocono is Indian for "stream between tow mountains." Since the early 1800s, these stream-carved mountain plateaus have attracted the city-weary, and to this day, the appeal remains untarnished.

A small cemetery with a mix of old and new markers and Rileyville Grange Hall next mark off distance. At the hall, PA 371 East suggests a detour to the Upper Delaware River, but proceed north on PA 191. Where the route rolls atop rises, you will discover broader Pocono perspectives. Dairy cows and horses contribute to the tranquil backdrop.

Past the small, white St. Joseph's Church, a left turn on Creek Road at 14.7 miles, followed by a right on Duck Harbor Road leads to Duck Harbor Pond in 1.5 miles. En route, pass Hill Sawmill and Pond on the left. This rustic, water powered mill was built just after the Civil War and operated until 1974. A national historic site, it is presently being restored by the Equinunk Historical Society as a piece of living history. Duck Harbor Pond is a long, beautiful pool cradled by private farms. At the Pennsylvania Fish Commission access find a boat launch, dock, open shoreline, and vault toilets.

For the loop alone, stay north on PA 191 and pass SR 1016, which travels 7 miles east to Callicoon--the next call for a river visit. Again, postpone your visit to the Upper Delaware, until points north. The drive now passes a general store and small cemeteries before plunging through a forested corridor to meet the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, a National Park Service recreation corridor.

At 23.1 miles enter the tiny village of Equinunk, with its 100-year-old general store, the Calder House Museum, scenic Methodist Church, and the first river acquaintance. The Equinunk Historical Society runs Calder House Museum, located exhibits on early industry, farming, and textiles; and Native American artifacts take you through the building. A donation is requested; hours vary.

From Equinunk, view the Delaware River below to the right, the steep forested canyon slope to the left. The leafy aisle of the narrow road filters view. Guard rails deny turnouts, but primitive Buckingham fishing Access is just ahead, at 25.7 miles; be alert for the brown sign marking the turn. A thin roadway leads to the boat launch. Parking is roadside.

Here, the Delaware River flows broad and glassy, twisting through the tree-clad Poconos that tower 800 feet above; New York State is across the way. Viburnum and other flowering shrubs and wildflowers grow along the banks and river bars. This part of the river is noted for its trout fishery and its May-June shad run. In places, inch-long fingerlings darken the river shallows. Canoeists have front row seats for the tranquil river discovery.

Winter brings the bald eagle watch, when some 100 of the majestic birds escape the harsh Canadian cold and settle along the Delaware River. The river's fish population and ample roosts attract the birds. If you look for eagles, minimize your presence: watch quietly from a remote area and never give chase to the birds. Use binoculars and scopes to better your vantage.

Northbound, PA 191 now hugs the Upper Delaware, touring the wooded canyon bottom. Where the floodplain broadens, it often conceals the river, but deer may be spied as they make their way to the water. Where the slope to the river again steepens, enjoy a return of filtered Delaware River overlooks.

At 31.7 miles, the loop turns left (west) on PA 370, but just 0.1 mile north on PA 191 is another primitive river access--Shehawken Fishing Access. It overlooks the narrowed West Branch Delaware River, with areas of big willows and banks of joe-pyeweed, milkweed, and goldenrod. Opposite the entrance to the fishing access, a farm produce stand tempts travelers with tastes of the season.

As you take the turn west on PA 370, view an attractive dairy farm. Rolling, meandering travel along Shehawken Creek Valley follows. More ranches and farms dot this narrow valley. An ice cream parlor, general store, a bed-and-breakfast, and historic country inn bring touches of life to this otherwise natural or pastoral tour.

At 39.7 miles, Preston extends traveler services. Beyond town, a private marsh to the left varies roadway viewing. As the tour climbs, encounter a younger, busier forest growth. At 45.1 miles, reach PA 670 and follow it south to return to Honesdale. This country highway lacks a road shoulder, but enjoys a wonderful arbor. Rough patches of road may slow travel, while openings to the west provide a window to Mount Ararat.

After going about 3 miles on PA 670, a left turn on paved road leads to Belmont Lake Pennsylvania Fish Commission Access, where a large gravel parking area, boat launch, and vault toilets serve lake visitors. Dammed at its south end, Belmont Lake is a good-sized water body, with a symmetrical hill rising opposite the access. The water is ideal for small fishing boats and canoes. The tree-shaded slope between the lakeshore and parking area invites the spreading of a blanket.

Past the Belmont Lake access, turn left on PA 670/PA 371 East, bypassing a couple monuments to early-day residents of Wayne County. In 0.5 mile, Pleasant Mount Fish Culture Station (established 1903) and its associated picnic area straddle the quiet highway. Joe-pyeweed and cattail adorn the banks of the West Branch Lackawaxen River, which threads through this fish rearing facility. Kingfishers dart along the creek sized water.

At the station, a large fish tank with porthole windows affords a look at the common Pennsylvania game fish: catfish, bass, trout, pickerel, and others, while stairs mount the tank's side to a top-of-the-tank vantage. The fish culture station is an extensive operation with a series of stucco buildings, fish pens, and ponds. While it is unlawful to fish the hatchery waters, drooling is still acceptable for all you anglers.

Just beyond the station, at Pleasant Mount, PA 670 and PA 371 part company; bear right, staying PA 670. The rolling tour again dishes up fine mountain country views. At 54.3 miles, a 12 to 15 foot tall rockwork dam contains the fish-rearing basin of Hankins Pond. The reflection water and precise lay of the stones, now etched by lichen, contribute to viewing. Again, anglers must curb the temptation to cast.

Ahead, woods and farms grace the rolling tour. Picturesque country churches and the shimmery platters of private ponds add to windshield viewing. At 58.5 miles, a dirt access road heads right and then left to reach Long Pond in about a mile. Find a public launch for canoes and fishing boats. Arrowhead grows in the shallows, and private residences dot the far shore.

Rural life and woods settings complete the tour. A painted line now divides the 2-lane road. Days of humidity give the landscape an aura of mist and muted images. South of Bethany is an orchard with u-pick blueberries, apples, and peaches in season, as well as fresh honey. At the north end of Honesdale, the loop comes to a close at PA 191.

Turn right to revisit the history and visitor attractions at the center of Honesdale. Or proceed southeast out of Honesdale on U.S. 6 for White Mills and the Dorflinger Glass Museum, Hawley, or Lake Wallenpaupack.

For the combined attractions of Dorflinger Glass Museum , 600 acre Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary and Wildflower Music Festival (held summers, outdoors), go 5 miles southeast on U.S. 6 to White Mills and turn left on SR 2006 for 1 mile. Some 5 miles of nature trail explore the grounds of Dorflinger manor, while the manor/museum artfully displays the antique glass amid period pieces. Sunlight dances off the facets and prisms in rainbow spectrums. The collection exceeds 600 pieces: etched, cut, gilded, colored, and engraved. During its heyday, Dorflinger cut glass was the finest in the country.

If your drive occurs on a summer Saturday, evening concert tickets for the Wildflower Music Festival can put a fine cap on the day. Unfurl a blanket a the open-air amphitheater, watch the sunset, and commune with nature and a  musical score.