The Poconos: Wikis


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Mt. Pocono overlook

The Pocono Mountains region comprises approximately 2,400 square miles (6,200 km²) located in northeastern Pennsylvania, United States.

The Pocono Mountains is a popular recreational destination for local and regional visitors. While the area has long been a popular tourist destination, many communities have seen a rise in population, especially in Coolbaugh Township and other communities within Monroe County. The region has a population of about 340,300, which is growing at a rapid pace, largely attributable to vacationers from the New York City region who are turning vacation homes into permanent residences.[citation needed] The region lacks a major population center, although there are municipalities such as Stroudsburg, East Stroudsburg, Mount Pocono, and the townships around them which are all in Monroe County where the population is 165,058, which is about half of the total population in the Poconos. The Poconos now serves as a commuter community for New York City and Northern New Jersey, even though the commute often takes as much as 2 hours each way due to distance and traffic. Because the region lacks a population center, it has been difficult to establish transit infrastructure to feed (future) commuter rail and bus lines.



Map of the main regions of the northeast Appalachians.

The Pocono Mountains is a vaguely defined area encompassing Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and southern Wayne Counties of Pennsylvania [1], as well as portions of neighboring counties such as Schuylkill, and Susquehanna, Luzerne, and Lackawanna. The region of Northampton County from the Slate Belt northwards is also sometimes included[2]. In total, the Poconos encompasses over 2,500 square miles. The Poconos are geologically part of the Allegheny Plateau, like the nearby Catskills. The Poconos' highest summit, Elk Hill’s North Knob, reaches 2,693 feet (821 m), while its lowest elevation is 350 feet (107 m) in Pike County.

The Delaware River flows through the Pocono Mountains and gives the region its name, from a Native American term roughly translating to "stream between two mountains." The Lehigh and Lackawaxen Rivers also flow through the region, totaling about 170 miles (270 km) of waterways. The Pocono Mountains are also home to some 150 lakes and many waterfalls, such as those in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area of Monroe County and Ricketts Glen State Park in northwestern Luzerne County.


The popularity of the Pocono Mountains as a summer retreat began at the dawn of the 20th century when Philadelphia Quakers started the resorts of Buck Hill Falls and Pocono Manor, and later in the 1920s, Skytop.

Midday view of Lake Harmony
Evening view of Lake Harmony

The Poconos is a well-known outdoor recreation destination for visitors around the northeast, especially from New York City and Philadelphia. The Poconos encompasses the Delaware State Forest [3], including six designated natural areas [4], seven state parks [5], seventeen state game lands [6], and one national park: The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. There are extensive opportunities for water sports, with many of the lakes and rivers stocked for fishing. Hunters pursue white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, and other wildlife. More American black bear are killed here than anywhere else in the state, and likely the contiguous 48 states. This is largely due to acidic pine barren creek valleys teeming with trout and berries. Toward the southern margin of the Poconos, the Blue Mountain ridge is the site of the Appalachian Trail and a major flyway for the autumn raptor migration, including the nationally renowned Hawk Mountain sanctuary.

The Poconos is also home to Summer Camps, such as Camp Pocono Ridge[7] and Goose Pond Scout Reservation near Lake Ariel, as well as Pocono Highland Camps, which closed in 2002. Another camp found in the Poconos is the incredible Camp Lindenmere, found on the border of Henryville and Tannersville.

The Poconos is and has been Pennsylvania's most popular tourist destination. It is also known for its brilliant color during the fall, in which the mountains are a mix of vibrant red, yellow, and orange. The region contains over 80% of the state's resorts. These resorts earn 1.5 billion dollars in gross revenues and employ 18,000 workers. The region is also a popular winter destination.[8] State parks offer snowmobile trails, snowshoeing, and eagle watching.[9]

Popular summer activities include whitewater rafting and canoeing down the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, camping and hiking, water parks, and smaller attractions such as Claws N Paws Wild Animal Park [10], Kittatinny Rafting & Paintball [11], Houdini Museum [12] and others. Another popular recreation activity growing around the Poconos is disc golf. Currently there are several disc golf courses located around the Poconos. Other outdoor activities, particularly golf, are also popular options.

Another attraction is Pocono Raceway, a major automobile racetrack, which is home to two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, the Pocono 500 in June, and the Pennsylvania 500 in August. It also serves as a racing school and motorcycle track.

The Poconos is a major resort destination with new additions such as Great Wolf Lodge for families, a resurrection of Mount Airy as a gaming (slots) and golf resort, the famous Caesars Pocono Resorts with heart-shaped and champagne whirlpool baths for two (couples only) and a retreat known as Woodloch Pines that has added a spa facility.


A highly controversial proposal to license a gambling casino with slot machines in Monroe County succeeded in 2007 and the casino at the Mount Airy Casino Resort is now open to the public.[13] Adding to the controversy is the reported connection between the casino's owner and organized crime which has placed Mount Airy under the supervision of a gaming commission appointee.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area is another site where slots and off-track betting are available, and the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem south of the region in the Allentown area has been open since May 22, 2009. There is also a Off-Track Betting (OTB) bar & grill in East Stroudsburg.

Skiing in the Poconos

Numerous ski resorts in and around the Poconos offer some of the closest and most accessible skiing to the major populated areas of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC areas.

  • Camelback Ski Area - The most ski runs in the Poconos and one of the more popular ski areas and peaks at 2,133+ feet
  • Blue Mountain Ski Area [14] - the largest vertical drop in Pennsylvania (1,082 feet) and closest to Philadelphia
  • Elk Mountain Ski Area - one of the larger areas with 30 trails, the highest ski peak at 2,600+ feet and a 1,000-foot vertical drop
  • Sno Mountain Ski Area - just outside of Scranton, features the steepest terrain in the Poconos and a 1,000-foot vertical drop
  • Shawnee Mountain Ski Area [15] - closest to New York City, just across the Delaware from New Jersey, suited for families & beginners
  • Jack Frost Mountain and Big Boulder [16] - Both resorts are owned by the same parent company. Jack Frost serves to cater to more traditional family skiing, while Big Boulder is largely focused towards terrain park skiing and snowboarding.
  • Ski Big Bear [17]
  • Tanglewood - closed for the 2007/2008 season due to economic reasons.
  • Alpine Mountain [18]
  • Eagle Rock Resort - the westernmost of the Pocono ski areas

Ski areas in the Poconos are not particularly large and do not have large vertical drops (Blue Mountain Ski Area has the largest at 1,082 feet), so runs tend to be on the shorter side. However, the Poconos do offer conveniently located skiing, and many areas also offer night skiing. Many Pocono ski resorts cater to both winter and transform themselves into water parks for summer visitors.

Downhill skiing is also offered at resort-hotel properties (such as Skytop Lodge and Fernwood) where guests can use the facilities as part of their stay.

Rail service

The Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad mainline runs over the Pocono Mountains.

Rail service is provided by the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority. One of its primary objectives is to establish rail passenger service with New Jersey Transit between Scranton, Pennsylvania and Hoboken, New Jersey with connecting service at Secaucus Junction for Manhattan, New York. Designated operator of the line is NJ Transit. There is currently no passenger rail service from the Poconos to Hoboken, New Jersey.

On January 23, 2007, NJ Transit was given an initial environmental 'OK' to re-establish a Hoboken-to-Scranton connection, a restoration of the Lackawanna Cut-Off which will run through The Poconos

Rebuilding rails on the Lackawanna Cut-Off, and subsequent resumption of passenger service is slated to be completed in 2011 or 2012.[19]


See also

Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania - a borough in Monroe County


External links


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