Pocono Mountains, PA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/28/2006 --The Pocono Mountains is not only home to great shopping, dining, attractions and lodging, but also pristine natural surroundings found in the region’s national parks. The four-county Pocono Mountains region of Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne is home to two national parks and several historic sites including: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA) covers 40 miles of the Delaware River from north of Milford, Pennsylvania to south of Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. It boasts 70,000 acres, on which visitors may camp, whitewater raft, canoe, hike and more.
The DWGNRA is also close to popular attractions, such as Bushkill Falls, the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” which has eight spectacular waterfalls and over two miles of trails. There are also a number of other waterfalls that are part of the DWGNRA and are free and open to the public. From north to south: Dingmans Falls, Silverthread Falls, Raymondskill Falls, Deer Leap, Factory and Fulmer Falls. All falls are within the George W. Childs Recreation Area. On their way to Dingmans Falls, visitors can stop at the Pocono Environmental Education Center, which sponsors interesting seminars, workshops, field trips, events, etc. geared to learning about the Pocono Mountains environment.
A short distance away is the Grey Towers National Historic Landmark in Milford. Grey Towers is the former home to the Father of American Conservation and twice Governor of Pennsylvania, Gifford Pinchot. It is now administered by the US Forest Service and free tours are offered seasonally.
The National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River is another national park in the Pocono Mountains. The Pennsylvania State Game Commission’s Shohola Recreation Area is a great place to spot bald eagles and other rare wildlife. Visitors should be sure to stop and view Shohola Falls in the Shohola Recreation Area.
Visitors can also visit the Zane Grey Museum in Milford, the former home of the Father of the Western Novel, Zane Grey. It is now a museum administered by the National Park Service. Just across from the museum is a beach access to the Delaware River. Adventure seekers can get in a canoe or kayak here to take a journey down the Delaware River, which is one of the most popular summertime activities in the Pocono Mountains region.
The entire Upper Delaware Region is worth exploring this summer over a laidback self-guided driving tour. Whether you like peace and quiet or fun-filled family attractions, the Upper Delaware Region is the place to be. Visitors can pick up a map to lead themselves to the off the beaten path towns of Masthope, Milanville, Damascus and Equinunk. They should not expect too much action here, as this trip fulfills the desire for simplicity and natural beauty. However, visitors can go to the town of Hawley, which has historic treasures such as the Ritz Company
Playhouse, fine dining and accommodations or more outdoor recreation on Lake Wallenpaupack, one of Pennsylvania’s largest man-made lakes. Visitors can also head on over to Honesdale, which offers shopping along the quaint Victorian Main Street and is home to the Wayne County Historical Museum, which features a replica of the Stourbridge Line, the first locomotive.
The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor traverses five counties, one being Carbon County in the Pocono Mountains. Carbon County gave birth to the Industrial Revolution with 83 tons of coal per year exported from the mines to New York and Philadelphia via the Delaware and Lehigh Canal. The town of Jim Thorpe, also known as “America’s Little Switzerland,” is well-known for its outdoor adventure and unique history. Situated in this National Historic District are several noteworthy sights including the Asa Packer Mansion Museum, Old Jail Museum, St. Marks Episcopal Church, Mauch Chunk Opera House, Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center, Old Stone Row and the D&L’s Old Mauch Chunk Landing for the former N.J. Central Railroad Station.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy biking, hiking or cross-country skiing on two well-known rails-to-trails: the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail and the Switchback Trail. Mauch Chunk Lake Park affords ample opportunity for fishing, boating, swimming, camping and picnicking. Lehigh Canal Park is an ideal spot to walk or bike a restored section of the canal.
A short distance away from Jim Thorpe is Hickory Run State Park, famous for its Boulder Field, a large field of boulders created thousands of years ago by a glacier. Or, visitors can visit Lehigh Gorge State Park, where they can bike along the Rail Trail or whitewater raft the river.
Comprehensive Pocono Mountains visitor information is available online at 800poconos.com or by phone at 800-POCONOS (800-762-6667). The Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau, Inc. is the official destination marketing organization for the four counties of Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne in northeastern Pennsylvania.