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Author Topic: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY  (Read 546 times)

webny99

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Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« on: April 04, 2022, 11:57:12 AM »

I am thinking about a potential road trip to southwestern PA sometime this year (Pittsburgh area, but not sure of the finer details yet). If this did happen, the return trip would likely involve I-99... however, I am looking for thoughts on the below alternative which would finally net me two of my closest unvisited counties, Potter, PA, and Cameron, PA. It looks to be about 3-1/2 hours of "backroads" instead of 3 hours of mostly freeway, so my question is two-fold: Has anyone ever driven any part of this route*, and if so, what did you think of it? Is it pretty manageable, or would it get tedious if it was evening/dusk? And secondly, what are the chances of seeing interesting scenery and/or wildlife, bears in particular, along this route? I'd be glad for any thoughts/suggestions. Thanks!



* PA 350 > PA 53 > Rolling Stone Rd > PA 879 > Quehanna Hwy > Wykoff Run Rd > PA 872 > N Hollow Rd > PA 49 > PA 449 > PA 244 > NY 248A > NY 248 > Independence Rd > NY 21 > I-86 > NY 36
« Last Edit: April 04, 2022, 11:59:18 AM by webny99 »
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1995hoo

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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2022, 12:07:16 PM »

We used the segment of PA-350 shown on that map southbound on the way home from Toronto in June 2019 and it was fine. My memory is telling me to warn you to keep a close eye on the road signs in Phillipsburg because I seem to recall there being some spot where our sat-nav's instructions were slightly ambiguous and I made a wrong turn and had to loop around, but that may have been an issue specific to going southbound, I just don't recall for certain (my mind was not entirely focused on the roads on that particular day).
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webny99

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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2022, 02:45:24 PM »

We used the segment of PA-350 shown on that map southbound on the way home from Toronto in June 2019 and it was fine. My memory is telling me to warn you to keep a close eye on the road signs in Phillipsburg because I seem to recall there being some spot where our sat-nav's instructions were slightly ambiguous and I made a wrong turn and had to loop around, but that may have been an issue specific to going southbound, I just don't recall for certain (my mind was not entirely focused on the roads on that particular day).

That's good to know, thanks. Understood! I'll be sure to check out that area and especially the US 322/PA 350 intersection on Street View if/when this ends up happening.
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1995hoo

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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2022, 02:50:56 PM »

I just looked at the map and I think I know what it was, and I think it was an issue specific to going southbound—I'm almost positive the direction the sat-nav gave me said to make a right turn at the intersection of US-322 and PA-350, when in fact what I should have done was go straight. It became apparent almost immediately that this was wrong and I wound up going around the block. Not a big deal at all, just an annoyance, and I see from Google Street View there were signs, but as I said in my prior post, I was really distracted that day. It would be a bigger concern if you wanted to make sure to clinch PA-350 or some such.
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webny99

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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2022, 03:17:19 PM »

OK, got it. That's totally understandable given the configuration of the intersection. You're expecting PA 350 to be on the right, when it's actually straight, but going straight is really more of a slight right turn, so it wouldn't be completely crazy for a GPS to say "keep right" or similar.

(On another note, browsing around that area led to an interesting find which I just posted about in the "Crazy things you've found in Street View" thread.)

« Last Edit: April 04, 2022, 03:21:53 PM by webny99 »
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jemacedo9

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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2022, 06:18:56 PM »

I've driven PA 449 and NY 248A/NY 248...both are roads marked mainly 55 and were good roads for the Twin Tiers...shoulders exist but minimal, curves aren't too bad with an exception here and there.  Same with PA 872.  There isn't difference with the 2-lane roads in the NY Southern Tier vs the PA Northern Tier.  Some of the PA routes can be hit or miss.

PA 879 is near Elk country, if you'd be interested in that.

Near the intersection of PA 49 and PA 449 is a rare Triple Divide...where the Allegheny River head is which flows SW towards the Ohio, the Pine Creek head is which flows SE towards the Susquehanna River, and the Genesee River head.  There are a few markers nearby.

Evening/dusk...not too bad but watch out for deer...that's the main concern in any of those areas. 

US 219 is a slightly higher quality 2-lane road...but I'd say the differences are minor.  US 219 has more trucks, wider shoulders, truck climbing lanes, and softer curves...but still curves.  IF you choose to take US 219 and still in daylight, check out Kinzua Bridge, which isn't too far off US 6 near there.

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webny99

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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2022, 06:44:27 PM »

Thanks, that is all good info!

I'd heard of Elk County, but had never heard of Elk country until you mentioned it.  It's a bit west of the route I mentioned, but not too far, and it looks like there's a visitor center and viewing areas that might be worth a stop. I'm very interested in anywhere that might be a good spot to see black bears, too - seeing a bear in the wild has always been high up there on the family bucket list.

And yep, I am familiar with US 219 - took that route back from the Altoona area one time and once was enough.  :-D  It wasn't really that bad, but I'm spoiled by US 15, which is a much higher quality route in northern PA. I did visit Kinzua Bridge on that trip and again a few years later, so I'm fairly familiar with that area, especially relative to Cameron and Potter counties, which have been a bit of a blind spot in my travels.
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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2022, 10:30:03 AM »

I'm sure I've done the northern parts of this at some point or other, and to my mind you can't go wrong with a good backroads drive in Pennsylvania, especially if you stick to quadrant routes and above. (Township roads might devolve into dirt without notice, but you can also usually tell which are going to be well-traveled and/or improved.)

The only thing I'd say is that it would be shame to do in the dark, as you'd miss all the beautiful and intriguing sights along the way. :-)
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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2022, 11:17:38 PM »

As a general rule, I wouldn't expect to go very fast along that route north of I-80.  The PA 879 and PA 49 segments are decent as I recall (I've been on both), but most of the rest up to the NY line you're probably not going to get much faster than 40 or 45, especially if you have someone slow ahead of you.
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webny99

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Re: Thoughts on alternate route from southern PA to upstate NY
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2022, 11:58:54 AM »

I'm sure I've done the northern parts of this at some point or other, and to my mind you can't go wrong with a good backroads drive in Pennsylvania, especially if you stick to quadrant routes and above. (Township roads might devolve into dirt without notice, but you can also usually tell which are going to be well-traveled and/or improved.)

The only thing I'd say is that it would be shame to do in the dark, as you'd miss all the beautiful and intriguing sights along the way. :-)

This doesn't look to involve anything unpaved, or even unstriped, so it should be good there. Most likely, it would be starting mid to late afternoon/early evening, so it would almost certainly be dark by the time we reached I-86/I-390, but light for at least some of it, and I'm OK with twilight driving especially if it maximizes the chances of seeing a bear or other wildlife.


As a general rule, I wouldn't expect to go very fast along that route north of I-80.  The PA 879 and PA 49 segments are decent as I recall (I've been on both), but most of the rest up to the NY line you're probably not going to get much faster than 40 or 45, especially if you have someone slow ahead of you.

That's good to know - the average I had figured based on travel time/mileage was right about 45 mph, so that makes sense. I am guessing the slowest parts would be those off the main state route system (Kylertown to Sinnamahoning aside from the short section of PA 879 you mention), and I also note a 35 mph speed limit on Wykoff Run Rd, so there's probably not much time to be made up there.
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