Deep Valleys Section
Appalachian Plateaus

Deep Valleys Section showing geology and shaded relief


The Deep Valleys Section consists of many very deep,steep-sloped valleys that are separated by narrow, flat to sloping uplands. In the deepest valleys, the stream at the valley bottom is more than 1,000 feet below the top of an adjacent upland. At the head of a valley, the valley merges with the upland with only a few 10’s of feet of elevation difference between the valley bottom and the upland. The valley slopes are always steep in the main part of the valley. In most valleys the slope is fairly uniform from top to bottom. In some valleys the slopes have a large-scale, stairstep appearance. This appearance results from erosion of sandstones and shales, rocks with different resistances to erosion. The sandstones are resistant to erosion and form very steep slopes and flat steps on the slopes. The shales are much less resistant to erosion and form sloping risers between steps.

The Deep Valleys Section occurs in north central Pennsylvania in Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, McKean, and Potter Counties and small parts of Centre, Clearfield, Columbia, Elk, Sullivan, Tioga, and Warren counties. Except for the northwestern part of the Section where the Allegheny River is the master drainage, the valleys have been eroded by the West Branch Susquehanna River and its tributaries. These tributaries are slowly but steadily extending the length of their valleys by erosion of their headwater areas. Bedrock in the section occurs in several low amplitude, broad anticlines and synclines whose axes trend northeast-southwest. This structure controls the orientation of the streams. The larger streams are oriented approximately northeast-southwest while their tributaries join approximately at right angles. The overall pattern of the streams is rectangular.

Scenic routes within the Section include Pennsylvania Route 120 between Lock Haven and Emporium. Views of both uplands and valleys occur along Pennsylvania Route 144 between Renova and Galeton or along Pennsylvania Route 44 between Jersey Shore and Coudersport. This latter route, 44, has several excellent vistas: Benson Ridge, Deck Lane, Hyner Run, Longtoe, and Pine Mountain, as well views of Kettle Creek Gorge and Slate Run Gorge. The best view of both uplands and valleys is at Hyner View in Hyner View State Park. Other excellent views are at Lookout Mountain and Renova View.

The Outstanding Scenic Geological Features included in the Section are Algerine Swamp Bog, Angel Falls, Bodine Mountain Overlook, Barbour Rock, Big Trail Vista, Brown Vista, Bull Run Overlook, Canyon Area, Cherry Springs Vista, Coal Knob, Coal Run Road Falls, Colton Point, Dry Run Gorge, Devils Den, Devils Garden, Dry Run Falls, Fox Mountain, Harrison Lookout, Haystacks, High Knob Overlook, Hoagland Overlook, Horton Run Vista, Hyner View, Ice Mine, Jamison Run Vista, Jakes Rocks, Junction Road Vista, Kettle Creek Gorge, Kinzua Gorge, Labyrinth, Lebo Vista, Lookout Mountain, Loyalsock Creek Gorge, Mason Hill, North Rock, Oxbow Bend, Picnic Rock, Pine Creek Gorge, Ramsey Vista, Renova View, Reynolds Spring Bog, Route 44 Scenic Highway (Longtoe Vista, Cherry Springs Scenic Area, Pine Mountain Vista, and Benson Ridge Vista), Rimrock Overlook (Sams Rock), Rock Run Vista, Smiths Knob Vista, Sharp Top Vista, South Rock, The Bunk, The Nipple, and Ticklish Rock.

The many aspects of the Section can be enjoyed by visiting the State Parks, which include Kettle Creek, Kinzua Bridge, Little Pine, Cherry Springs, Colton Point, Denton Hill, Hyner Run, Hyner View, L. Harrison, Lyman Run, Ole Bull, Patterson, Prouty Place, Ricketts Glen, Sinnemahoning, Sizerville, Upper Pine Bottom, and Worlds End. Look for more information on these state parks at the State Parks web page.

State Forest Natural Areas in the Section include Reynolds Spring, Algerine Swamp, Miller Run, Forest H. Dutlinger, Johnson Run, Tamarack Swamp, Cranberry Swamp, East Branch Swamp, Miller Run, Bark Cabin, Marion Brooks, and Pine Tree Trail.

Picnic Areas: Jesse Hill and Wayside Memorial.