The ULTIMATE Day Trip to the Poconos Mountains – Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway | Pennsylvania

Looking for the perfect trip to the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania? How does it sound to take a vintage style train ride through the mountains, visit a quaint local town, and have a picnic at a state park? If this seems like a lovely way to spend time in the Poconos, then this itinerary is just for you! Perfect for a day excursion full of fun, particularly in the fall (when it’s too late for white water rafting and too early for skiing)

Poconos Mountains Pennsylvania

I lived near Philadelphia until I was 21 years old and yet I had never visited the Poconos Mountains! It’s really quite a crime considering they are only about a two hour drive away from my house and about an hour and a half from Philly.

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway Poconos Mountains

I was so excited when I came across such a fun thing to do in the Poconos. Definitely a one of a kind experience, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway offers a lovely 16 mile ride through the Lehigh Gorge State Park. It is exceptionally beautiful in the autumn with the changing leaves. You can see the forest, the river, waterfalls, and even possibly some bears!

An old fashioned steam engine (with the traditional tooting of the horn) will tug tug through the historic area and beautiful scenery. Conductors in perfect uniform will give fun facts about the area. They offer open air coaches, standard coach, and you can even ride in the caboose!

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway Poconos Mountains

Costing only about $17 per person, it’d definitely worth the ride and experience. And the best part of all is that they are pet friendly! We were so happy to be able to bring our puppy along with us (she also made the pictures much much cuter!)

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway Poconos Mountains

If you’re looking for a longer train excursion, they do offer full day trip and half day trips for those interested. The trains run every day, multiple times per day, and all year round. Consider getting your tickets in advance though as it is quite the popular tourist attraction! There will most likely be many people visiting with you, especially in the autumn when everyone is eager to see the changing leaves.

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway Poconos Mountains

Jim Thorpe Town

Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is located within the town of Jim Thorpe. Jim Thorpe is The town is cute and quaint with local shops of all sorts and unqique places to eat. With its beautiful buildings, stunning views of the mountains, and old american town vibes, it’s certainly a fun place to walk around and explore. Buy some local donuts or handmade household items to keep as memorabilia before you head out of this fun place.

Lehigh Gorge State Park – Picnic

Although there are certainly many nice places to eat within the town of Jim Thorpe, we decided to pack a picnic for our day trip. As much as I love my cute coffee shops, nothing tops a picnic!

After our train ride and explorations through the town, we had to find the perfect picnic spot. There were so many options of beautiful places around – Lake Harmony, Mauch Chunk Lake Park, and the one we decided upon – Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Lehigh Gorge State Park Pennsylvania

This is the same park that we took our scenic train ride through, but as it’s quite large (over 6,000 acres) we decided to explore more of it on foot.

There were countless hiking trails, views of the river gorge, and interesting things to see at this park, but we had our minds on one thing-the perfect picnic spot. If you’re looking for the most beautiful hike, the Tank Hollow Vista is the perfect option- a short and simple hike with stunning views!

We found the perfect picnic table, with views of the changing leaves and a little trail leading to the river. Setting up the picnic, we took out our picnic blanket – my grandmother’s that you passed down generation after generation (was even used to swaddle my mom when she was a baby) and my grandmother’s picnic basket and thermos.

Lehigh Gorge State Park Pennsylvania

We took out our goodies and enjoyed our meal with a view of the forest on one side and the occasional passing train on the other.

When sunset time came around, the already beautiful fall leaves all turned golden with the setting sun. It was the perfect way to end the day!

Lehigh Gorge State Park Pennsylvania

When to Visit the Poconos

Although the Poconos are most famous for their skiing options, there are so many things to do there year-round. Endless hikes, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway runs all year, horseback riding, white water rafting, visiting the quaint old American towns, and more! Of course in the autumn, the leaves in the forests turn majestic and colorful, but the waterfalls and rivers are stunning year-round. Whenever you choose to visit, there are countless things to do. For a day trip EXACTLY like mine, I would recommend visiting in October or November when the changing leaves are at their finest.

Poconos Mountains Pennsylvania

Tips for Visiting the Poconos Mountains

  • Wildlife– It’s important to remember that you are going up into the mountains of Pennsylvania. Much of this area is filled with untouched wildlife. It’s quite common to see snakes, bears, deer, and much more. Although they tend not to bother people, always be aware.
  • Hunting Grounds– Much of the Lehigh Gorge State Park is also state game land/hunting grounds. Depending on the season, it’s probably a good idea to check if there may be hunters out if you’re going for a hike in the mountains.
  • Insects– Pennsylvania is one of the top areas in the country that is endemic with deer ticks that carry a variety of diseases including Lyme Disease. BE SURE TO BRING STRONG BUG SPRAY. Especially if you are going hiking, it’s important to check yourself for bug bites after going out in the woods, particularly to make sure that no tick has managed to attach itself to you. Of course there are mosquitos and other biting insects as well, but the ticks are the biggest and most dangerous threat in Pennsylvania.
  • Cost– most of the park entrances are free, so many activities can be done without a cost whatsoever. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway costs about $17 per person.
Poconos Mountains Pennsylvania

Looking for more amazing things to do in Pennsylvania? Maybe a day trip to Philly? Check out all of our other Pennsylvania posts for unique and interesting things to do!

Lots of Love and Safe Travels,

Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters

Join the discussion

  1. Retirement and Dogs

    Love the area. Great blog

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you!! It really is a beautiful area πŸ™‚

    • hisprodigal1

      Growing up in Philly . . . back when dinosaurs roamed the earth . . . I spent my summers exploring the Poconos forests and fishing it’s lakes at Promised Land, PA. It left me with a repertoire of precious memories that always stretch a smile across my ole mug. Thanks for reviving them.
      Keep Looking Up

      • Colorful Sisters

        Oh wow that sounds soooo lovely! I love all the lakes in Pennsylvania and fishing is relaxing. I love boating of all kinds too! Happy it could bring back some good memories! πŸ™‚

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  3. NazaInnocent

    The pictures are amazing.

  4. Timothy Price

    So cool. I love old trains.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Yess they really are super cool! Especially when they have a great view!

  5. rescuedogdexter

    Good blog. What is the name of your dog?

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thanks! We actually have 3 dogs, but this one is named Mishmesh. It means apricot in Hebrew and since she is a reddish/apricot color it’s a perfect fit πŸ™‚

  6. Olympus Mountaineering

    Great post with amazing photos as usual from you. πŸ™‚ Well done

  7. jbcowgill

    Great railroad, and a great town. One of my best all time photos was taken in Jim Thorpe.

  8. marlagro

    Your pictures, stories and modeling are so beautiful. And your puppy! I lived in Pittsburgh until I was 35. Wonderful place to grow up. And honeymooned in Poconos. πŸ™‚ Keep on exploring the world so we can enjoy it!

    • Colorful Sisters

      Awww thank you so very much!! I’m happy you are enjoying and you must have had a wonderful time on your honeymoon in the pococnos! It’s a lovely place for sure πŸ™‚

  9. lisaonthebeach

    That sounds like a most perfect and unique day outing. I would simply love an adventure such as that. Thank you for making me feel almost like I joined you on your ride 😊
    I also love your photos! ❣

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so much!! I’m so happy you felt like you could almost be there! I hope maybe one day you can experience it for real as well πŸ™‚

  10. Magaidh Bryan

    I think this is one of my favorites of your photoshoots! β™₯οΈπŸ“Έ

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so much!!! It’s one of my favorite as well!! We were really happy with how it turned out πŸ™‚

  11. Jyothi

    Wow. Superb pictures!

  12. Francina

    Lovely pictures ! Thank you for sharing, Your post brings back many good memories,

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so much! Have you been here before?

      • Francina

        Yes, a long time ago though , it was also a day trip and we rented a rowboat to spend some time on the lake before we had to go back.

      • Colorful Sisters

        Wow that sounds so lovely, boating of all kinds is just amazing πŸ™‚

  13. Simon

    What an amazing place, you captures the colours really well πŸ™‚

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thanks so much!! It was such a lovely day, the lighting and everything was so perfect πŸ™‚

  14. Kris

    This looked like so much fun!!! Something I’ll add to my someday if I visit the East Coast list. The colors are incredible and your information was not just ‘stuff’ but useful. fun fun fun!!!

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so much!!! I’m happy you found it informative as well πŸ™‚ I hope you can visit the East Coast one day! Where are you from?

      • Kris

        I live in Eastern Oregon at this time, grew up in Alaska and have spent my summers there for the last several years.

      • Colorful Sisters

        Wow that seems lovely, I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska-looks like such stunning and untouched beauty! My only problem is that I hate the cold! But hopefully I’ll be able to visit one day regardless πŸ™‚

      • Kris

        Summer isn’t very cold. :o)

      • Colorful Sisters

        Trueee! We’ll have to plan a trip in the summertime! Or just embrace the cold in winter!

  15. Optimal Health

    That was some great adventure. The pictures are well-taken and help capture the goodness of it all.

    • Colorful Sisters

      It really was so lovely! Such a wonderful day and a beautiful memory πŸ™‚

  16. Michael Polyak

    Great post– and incredible fall colors! Such an incredible time of year to be in PA! I’ve always wanted to visit Jim Thorpe town– it looks really cool! Btw– you’ve probably already heard of it, but my favorite spot to hike and see falls colors in PA is at the Kinzua Bridge State Park: . Cheers!

    • Colorful Sisters

      Ooo I haven’t heard of it! But I’ll have to check it out!

  17. Charles Dada

    I like the pooch! The trains are good too.

  18. Train Today to Reap Tomorrow

    It’s a beautiful place to be. You have described it very well.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thanks so much!!

      • xaranahara

        My mother lives two hours away from Jim Thorpe. It’s a beautiful and relaxing place. I would visit, but COVID-19 has my family locked down.

      • Colorful Sisters

        Oh wow so you’re so close! Well when all of this passes hopefully you can visit πŸ™‚

      • xaranahara

        Unfortunately, I live in Georgia, one of the many homes of political unrest. My mother is fine. I, however, try to stay out of the public.

      • Colorful Sisters

        Well let’s hope that all of this passes soon! The political unrest and also corona!

      • xaranahara

        Exactly. This is all just stuuuupid.

  19. Shashank Narayan

    Beautiful pictures, I love the place great post πŸ™‚πŸ’

  20. authorstephanieparkermckean

    What a great trip! Lovely photos…a great adventure! Good for you!

  21. Elaine

    I was there in October 2019. Jim Thorpe is a great little town! If you’re interested in a B&B stay the Times House was wonderful! Had planned to go back this autumn but with COVID decided against it. Will definitely go back next year.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Ooo that little B&B looks so cute!! The town is really adorable. Hopefully you will be able to go back next year!

  22. Markgtr

    I grew up in Western Pa. but spend a year out this way. A beautiful part of the state for sure. By the way, your photos are excellent!

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thanks so much!! I never spent much time in Western Pa but I’m sure there are so many beautiful areas there!

  23. -Eugenia

    Excellent post and amazing photos! It’s good connecting with you and thank you for following my blog.

  24. craig lock

    thanks for another follow, Brooke and Danielle
    All the best
    “very bland and unfashionable” c

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  26. Ann Garcia - River Blossoms

    Great blog! Love the pics and the energy!

  27. Katie

    Beautiful photos. Isn’t Jim Thorpe the coolest place?!

  28. SisDr

    My parents used to live in the Poconos! You’re visit tugged at my heart strings. Keep traveling and sharing it with the world!

    • Colorful Sisters

      Ohhh how amazing!! I’m happy that it brought back some lovely memories. It’s truly a magical place πŸ™‚

  29. SisDr

    Apologies for the usage error / typo your vs you’re!

  30. lavapix

    I wasn’t expecting to see the Poconos in your blog πŸ™‚ Went there often and the town of Jim Thorpe back in the 60s, 70,s, and 80s..

    • Colorful Sisters

      Amazing! I wonder how much it has changed since then…it still seems to have maintained it’s small town vibe πŸ™‚

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