The Pocono Mountains are rich in history and natural beauty. It’s worth experiencing it in many ways, including by train. While critical to the development of the region long ago, taking passengers through the steep and difficult terrain, today, it is one of the best scenic experiences in the region.
At Skytop Lodge, we encourage you to explore the area fully, taking in all of the natural beauty from the sparkling river beaches to the cascading waterfalls. Learn more about the options to take a train ride in the Poconos.
There are several ways to see the Poconos from a railcar. Below is a list of the best scenic railways that take you through numerous historic towns.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway offers a fantastic option for a family-friendly getaway into the mountains. It’s comfortable but offers vintage coaches that add a lot of charm and class to the experience. These coaches were built as early as 1917, many with original detailing and feel to them, though updated to meet the needs of today’s passengers. Each of them is pulled by a diesel engine.
The regular season offers rides throughout the area including to Jim Thorpe and the Lehigh Gorge State Park. Each trip allows passengers to explore the Lehigh River going over bridges and along mountain ridges. The views change, often ranging from a scenic waterfall to seeing various animals along the banks of the rivers.
This railway is handicap accessible and motorcoach friendly. It’s also pet-friendly for those who want to bring along their well-behaved canine. During the season, there are various special train experiences available. For example, there’s a Santa Train during December followed by the Winter Character trains that run after the holidays. Spring and fall train rides can be fun experiences, too.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway travels from Jim Thorpe, which is why it is often referred to as the Jim Thorpe train. These train rides are about 70 minutes long. They leave from the train station on Susquehanna Street in Jim Thorpe, PA.
Once you reach the stopping point, you’ll be able to walk around downtown’s numerous unique shops and the historic Race Street. Be sure to check out the architecture in this area. You’ll also see plenty of gorgeous mansions, a stunning Gothic church, and many local eateries. Depending on when you visit, there are also events happening at the Mauch Chunk Opera House. It all takes place in this beautiful community – you have to see it for yourself.
For those who want more of an underground experience, the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum is a must-see experience. Located in Lansford, this is an opportunity to take a mine car and travel across 1,600 feet into the mountain. It is a real coal mine dating back to 1855. This train ride is a bit different. Once you get inside the coal mine, you can then get out of the railcar and take a guided walking tour.
Inside, passengers get the opportunity to explore the original mine shaft and walk the mule-way. There’s also a hospital-like area carved into the rock that was critical to providing services for those inside.
After exploring the inside of the mine, it’s also possible to check out the wash shanty. This was first created after World War I but has many of its original features and functionality. For history lovers of this time period, it is a fantastic find. The museum itself is home to many mining artifacts. While not the typical train experience, this trip does provide an outstanding way to see the area’s history up close.
In Honesdale, the Stourbridge Line is quite a fun excursion to add to your bucket list. This is one of the best traditional railway experiences through the Pocono Mountains. It’s relaxing and full of beautiful sites. It also helps you feel like you’ve stepped back in time with the vintage railroad coaches.
This train takes passengers along the Lackawaxen River Valley. There are various opportunities for excursions along this route. Also, this rail line has the traditional seasonal routes along with various themed train rides throughout the year, right into the holiday season. Some of the best experiences are fall train rides into the Pocono Mountains.
The Steamtown National Historic Site is a fantastic location to visit with a train tour through the Pocono Mountains that is unlike any other. Many of these are themed events, including holiday and fall foliage tours. These are the types of steam locomotives that are true treasures in terms of how much they’ve changed the industry over the years. It’s easy to step on board, smell the hot steam and oil mixture, feel the heat from the engine, and listen to the whistle. These are powerful trains that create an impressive experience.
At the Steamtown National Historic Site, you’ll be able to explore the history of the steam engine along with seeing local artifacts. You’ll learn the history as well as the various types of trains that operated here. There are also some interesting things to see, including engines. You can get up close to explore firsthand.
If you are looking for something else to do in the Poconos, check out the Soarin’ Eagle Rail Tours in Hawley, PA. This tour is the only rail biking recreational adventure in the area. It’s also a fun way to really experience the outdoors.
The railbikes are like traditional bikes where people sit side by side. They fit just right onto the railroad tracks, and all it takes is a slight bit of pedaling to get them going. Choose a two-seater or a four-seater for your group. From there, you can take a ride along the Lackawaxen River. Overall, it is about a six-mile route with some outstanding views.
From taking the Lehigh Gorge Train to taking a train ride in the Poconos to explore a mine, there is much to do and see in this area. When you stay with us at Skytop Lodge, you are only minutes from all of the activities here. It’s a fun and enjoyable experience that will make your time in the Pocono Mountains a bit more enjoyable overall.