Scenic Highway Driving Tour
Circuit swings north from Honesdale
description: This 66.3-mile circuit travels quiet
mountain highways through the Pocono Mountains of
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.
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.
Remote northeast corner of the state. Start at Honesdale (32 miles
northwest of Interstate 84, exit 46).
U.S. Highway 6;
Pennsylvania Highways 191, 370, and 670.
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
Find full services in Honesdale and in Hawley, to its south off
Otherwise, services are limited.
attractions: Zane Grey Museum and Roeblings Aqueduct (in
Lackawaxen); Lake Wallenpaupack; historic Hawley; Shohola Falls
Recreation Area; Claws and Paws Animal Park (Lake Ariel).
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.