Pocono Mountains

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The Poconos
MP overlook.jpg
View from Mount Pocono Lookout
Highest point
Peak Camelback Mountain (Big Pocono)
Elevation 2,133 ft (650 m)
Coordinates 41°2′30.84″N 75°20′44.88″W / 41.0419000°N 75.3458000°W / 41.0419000; -75.3458000Coordinates: 41°2′30.84″N 75°20′44.88″W / 41.0419000°N 75.3458000°W / 41.0419000; -75.3458000
Etymology Lenape Indian term for "stream between two mountains".
Physiographic provinces of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Geological Survey, 4th ser., Map 13, Pennsylvania Geological Survey of the PennDepCons&NatRes.jpg
Map of Pennsylvania showing the Glaciated Pocono Plateau Section, also known as the Poconos.
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
Parent range Glaciated Allegheny Plateau

The Pocono Mountains, commonly referred to as the Poconos, is a geographical, geological, and cultural region located in northeastern Pennsylvania, United States. The Poconos are an upland of the larger Allegheny Plateau. Forming a 2,400 square miles (6,200 km2) escarpment overlooking the Delaware River and Delaware Water Gap to the east, the mountains are bordered on the north by Lake Wallenpaupack, on the west by the Wyoming Valley and the Coal Region, and to the south by the Lehigh Valley. It comes from the Minsi or Munsee Indian word Pokawachne (pronounced Poke Ah Waak-nay), which means "Creek Between Two Hills."[1]

The wooded hills and valleys have long been a popular vacation area, with many communities having resort hotels with fishing, hunting, skiing, and other sports facilities.


The Pocono Mountains are 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 New York and New Jersey turning vacation homes into permanent residences.[2] 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.[3] The commute often takes as much as two hours each way due to traffic.

Municipalities and communities[edit]

The Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania is divided into five regions: Mountain Region, Lake Region, Delaware River Region, Upper Delaware River Region, and Lehigh River Gorge Region.[4]

Lake Region[edit]

Located in Pike and Wayne counties:

Delaware River Region[edit]

Located in Monroe and Pike counties:

Upper Delaware River Region[edit]

Located in Pike and Wayne counties:

Lehigh River Gorge Region[edit]

Located in Carbon County:

Outlying Areas[edit]

These Carbon and eastern Schuylkill County communities may be considered part of the Poconos:


The Poconos Region is served by many state highways. The most-used of these highways include Pennsylvania Route 115, Pennsylvania Route 715, Pennsylvania Route 903 (Designated in some areas as the "Highway to Adventure" because of the numerous venues and resorts along the highway), Pennsylvania Route 33, Pennsylvania Route 940, and Pennsylvania Route 611. Pennsylvania Route 309, a major north-south route connecting Northeastern Pennsylvania with the Delaware Valley region passes through the western end of the region.

There are two U.S. Highways in the Pocono Mountains region. The most used is Route 209, which goes from Ulster, New York to Millersburg, Pennsylvania (near Harrisburg). The halfway point of the route is in the region north of Stroudsburg. The other main U.S. Highway in the region is U.S. Route 6, which is a transcontinental highway that starts near Bishop, California and runs for over 3,000 miles to its eastern terminus in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It is designated a scenic route in Pennsylvania. 11, 22, and U.S. Route 46 are also not far from the region and serve it indirectly.

The main east-west Interstate Highway in the region is Interstate 80, off of which branches Interstate 380, which connects the Poconos to Scranton. The other Interstate Highways in the region in Interstate 476, the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Northeast Extension, which has interchanges in Lehighton (Mahoning Valley) and Albrightsville (Pocono), and Interstate 81, which serves as an alternate route for the much-busier Interstate 95, particularly for travelers from Toronto, Syracuse, and Montreal to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Other Interstates that serve the region are Interstate 84, which begins in Scranton and goes east to New England, and Interstate 78, by way of Route 33 or Route 309.

Restoration of passenger rail service[edit]

New Jersey Transit is rebuilding trackage on the Lackawanna Cut-Off route from Scranton, through the Poconos, to Hoboken, New Jersey. There is no clear estimated target year when the Lackawanna Cut-Off service will be in operation. The service would consist of nine trains per day in each direction. Until 1970 the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad operated long distance trains through the Poconos to Buffalo and Chicago to the west, and Hoboken to the east.

Geography and climate[edit]

Map of the main regions of the northeast Appalachians.

The Pocono Mountains is a defined area encompassing portions of Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and southern Wayne counties of Pennsylvania.[5] In total, the Poconos encompasses over 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2).[citation needed] Some definitions also extend the Poconos to Lackawanna, Luzerne, far eastern Schuylkill, and Susquehanna counties. The Poconos are geologically part of the Allegheny Plateau, like the nearby Catskills. The Poconos' highest summit, Camelback Mountain (Big Pocono), reaches 2,133 feet, while its lowest elevation is 350 feet (107 m) in Pike County.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


The Poconos is a well-known outdoor recreation destination for visitors around the northeast, especially from New York City and Philadelphia. The region encompasses the Delaware State Forest, including six designated natural areas, seven state parks, and seventeen state game lands.[6] The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is on the eastern edge of the Poconos and includes 70,000 acres of wilderness.[7]


Inn At Pocono Manor (May 2015)
The Shawnee Inn

Two of the earliest resorts in the Poconos were opened by Philadelphia Quakers: Inn at Buck Hill Falls (1901) and Pocono Manor (1902).[8][9] Buck Hill's stone facade became a model for close to 300 stately stone-and-shingle homes in the region.[10] Buck Hill closed in 1990 while the Inn at Pocono Manor is considered the oldest continuously operating resort in the Poconos.[9][10] According to their website, Pocono Manor is 3,000 acres and is known to local residents as "The Grand Lady of the Mountains."[11]

Buckwood Inn (now Shawnee Inn) opened in 1911 as one of the first golfing resorts. It is a Spanish colonial revival building with white-Moorish architecture and Spanish tiled roofs.[10] In 2014 the Shawnee Inn was identified as "the only resort on a 100-mile stretch of the Delaware River."[12] Skytop Lodge, built in 1928, is described as a "Dutch Colonial-style manor house." The resort encompasses 5,500 acres with 30 miles of hiking trails.[13] Novelist Faith Baldwin wrote about her 1932 visit to Skytop, "Here are friendly mountains, round-breasted, smiling in the clear, rosy light of dawn."[14]

Tamiment was a popular resort among Jewish singles from the working and middle class.[15] The 2,200 acre facility opened in 1921 to generate income for the Rand School of Social Science, a Socialist school in New York.[15][16][17] Summer guests were entertained with weekly revues, and many prominent Broadway figures gained experience at Tamiment.[15] Unity House, a 655-acre Pocono retreat, offered affordable vacations for factory workers. The resort was owned for seventy years by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and it served as a staging ground for union activities.[18][19] Ron Devlin of the The Morning Call referred to Unity House as a "blue-collar 'Hilton.'"[18] It closed down in 1990 while Tamiment closed in 2005, both resorts falling victim to changing times.[15][17][18][19]

In 1945 Rudolf Von Hoevenberg established the first honeymoon resort in the Poconos, Farm on the Hill. By 1960, the Poconos rivaled Niagara Falls as a honeymoon destination, attracting 100,000 couples a year.[20] Morris Wilkins, co-owner of Cove Haven, invented the heart-shaped bathtub in 1963 as a way to lure honeymoon customers.[21][22][23] The tub would appear in other couples resorts and became a symbol of the Pocono resort business.[21][24][25] Author Lawrence Squeri wrote in 2002, "If Americans today are asked to name the image that best represents the Poconos, chances are that many will cite couples resorts and heart-shaped bathtubs..."[21]

In the 1950s the Kiesendahl family purchased a 12-bedroom boarding house along Lake Teedyuskung. It became the Woodloch Resort and, as of 2014, it encompassed 1,000 acres and accommodated 900 guests in a variety of lodgings. Travel + Leisure identified the Lodge at Woodloch (founded 2006) as the number 3 destination spa in the world.[7]

As of June 2015, there were four Pocono resorts with indoor water parks: Great Wolf Lodge, Split Rock Resort, Camelback Resort, and Kalahari Resort.[26] In 2014 Jayne Clark of USA Today wrote, "The former Honeymoon Capital of the World, the Poconos -- rebranded in 2007 as the Pocono Mountains -- continues to fine-tune its image as a family-friendly outdoor adventureland, health spa getaway and emerging waterpark capital."[7]


In November 2006 the Pocono Downs harness-racing complex opened the first slot-machine parlor in the state of Pennsylvania. It was owned by the Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut and included two gambling floors with nearly 1,100 machines.[27] The Mount Airy Casino Resort opened in October 2007 with about 2,500 slot machines. The owner, Louis DeNaples, was later charged with perjury due to suspected ties with organized crime figures. He turned the resort over to his daughter and avoided prosecution.[28]


The Poconos are home to several Scout camps. Camp Minsi, owned by the Boy Scouts' Minsi Trails Council, is centrally located in the Poconos on a property of 1,200 acres (490 ha) in Pocono Summit. Camp Mosey Wood, owned by the Girl Scouts' Eastern Pennsylvania council, is located on a property of 425 acres (170 ha) in White Haven, Pennsylvania. Other Scout camps located in the Poconos include Goose Pond Scout Reservation (Lake Ariel), Resica Falls Scout Reservation (Marshalls Creek), and Trexler Scout Reservation (Jonas).

The Poconos are also home to several Jewish summer camps, including Camp Massad, Camp Poyntelle, Camp Ramah, and Pinemere Camp.[29] Other non-denominational season summer camps include Camp Lohikan, Tyler Hill Camp, and Camp Watonka.


NASCAR racing at Pocono Raceway

Pocono Raceway, a major automobile racetrack, is home to an IndyCar race, the ABC Supply 500 in August, and two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, the Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400[30] in early June, and the Pennsylvania 400 in late July or early August. It also serves as a racing school and motorcycle track. The two dates in Pocono are vital to the region for the tourism money it brings to the local economy. As of 2010 the Mattioli family, owners of Pocono Raceway, allows sponsors on the names of the races, which before then were called just The Pocono 500 and The Pennsylvania 500. Pocono Raceway is the closest track to Philadelphia and the major metropolitan areas of New York and New Jersey.


Skiing was a $230 million a year industry in the Poconos and in 1987 accounted for one quarter of the region's tourist business. Pennsylvania native John Guresh, an employee at Big Boulder Ski Resort, is credited for bringing the ski industry to the Poconos.[31][32][33] In the winter of 1956-57 he invented a machine "resembling a lawn sprinkler atop a sled" to generate artificial snow. Joyce Gemperlein of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "Until Guresh perfected snowmaking at Big Boulder, skiing in the Poconos was a relatively minor sport." Ski resorts in the region could not rely on natural snow and, according to Big Boulder manager Ken Knize, there were times when conditions were right for skiing only two weeks a year. Cal Conniff, president of the National Ski Areas Association, regarded Guresh as "one of the pioneers" of the U. S. ski industry.[31]

Notable natives and residents[edit]



The Pocono Record is the newspaper for the Poconos. Its coverage area centers on Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg and covers parts of Monroe, Pike, Lackawanna, Wayne and Carbon counties as well as areas of western New Jersey.

The Times News, of Lehighton, covers Carbon, Schuylkill, and Monroe counties, and also portions of northern Lehigh and Northampton counties.

West End Happenings covers events in the West End of Monroe County.

Blue Mountain Moments is a monthly publication covering the Route 903 corridor from Blakeslee to Jim Thorpe.

Carbon County Map shows an illustrated map of this southern tier of the mountains.

Pocono Map shows an illustrated map of the middle of mountain range of Monroe County.


WESS at (90.3 FM) broadcasts from the Borough of East Stroudsburg as a service of East Stroudsburg University. Students and Faculty of the University provide programing often, and the station rebroadcasts BBC world service when live DJs are not available.

WSBG (93.5 FM) is a radio station broadcasting an adult contemporary format. Licensed to Stroudsburg, the station serves the Pocono area with the slogan "The Poconos' Best Variety."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "gilwell.com: the Lenape / English Dictionary". gilwell.com. 
  2. ^ MICHAEL RUBINKAM. "Gangs' growth in Poconos raises concerns". poconorecord.com. 
  3. ^ "The exurbia phenomenon". poconorecord.com. 
  4. ^ "Pocono Mountains Official Website - Resorts, Restaurants, Things to Do, Golf, Skiing - Vacation and Visitors Information from the Official Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau". 800poconos.com. 
  5. ^ About Pocono counties including Carbon Monroe Pike and Wayne
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Game Commission – State Wildlife Management Agency
  7. ^ a b c Clark, Jayne (August 21, 2014). "We still the Poconos". USA Today. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  8. ^ Squeri, Lawrence (2002). Better in the Poconos: The Story of Pennsylvania's Vacationland. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 71–73. ISBN 0271021578. 
  9. ^ a b "Corvelle named assistant GM at Pocono Manor". Pocono Record. October 11, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Fleeson, Lucinda (September 2, 1994). "Fading Memories In The Poconos". Philadelphia Inquirer. 
  11. ^ "About Us". The Inn at Pocono Manor. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  12. ^ Mixa, Charlene. "The Splendid Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort". Travelroads.com. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Skytop Lodge". Historic Hotels of America. National Trust For Historic Preservation. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  14. ^ Motavalli, Jim (March 2003). "Peace in the Poconos". E Magazine. 
  15. ^ a b c d Sweet, Jeffrey (November 2008). "The Tamiment Connection". American Theatre. 
  16. ^ Swanson, Dorothy (April 1989). "The Tamiment Institute/Ben Josephson Library and the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University". Library Quarterly 59 (2): 153.  In JSTOR
  17. ^ a b Devlin, Ron (May 15, 2005). "Tamiment bidders find bargains full of memories". The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania). Archived from the original on 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2015-09-18. 
  18. ^ a b c Devlin, Ron (August 26, 1990). "Blue-collar `Hilton' For Sale". The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania). Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Ellis, Lisa (August 12, 1990). "A Working-class Resort No More Union's Hideaway In Poconos Is For Sale". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  20. ^ Spano, Susan (June 1, 2012). "Passion in the Poconos". Smithsonian.com. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c Squeri (2002), p. 217
  22. ^ Cook, Bonnie (May 31, 2015). "Morris Benjamin Wilkins, 90, entrepreneur". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  23. ^ Nassauer, Sarah (April 8, 2010). "The Lonely Heart-Shaped Tub Club". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  24. ^ Dash, Judi (June 8, 1986). "It Started With A Heart-shaped Tub". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  25. ^ Bivens, Terry (July 31, 1988). "Playful Passion In The Poconos". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  26. ^ Muschick, Paul (July 20, 2015). "How Monroe County's two new water parks stack up against Great Wolf Lodge". Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania). Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Gamblers press their luck as Pa.'s first casino opens". USA Today. November 14, 2006. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  28. ^ McKinley, Jesse; Bagli, Charles (November 6, 2014). "In Faded Vacationland, Gambling’s Promise Falls Short". New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  29. ^ Pinemere Camp — Providing Quality Jewish Overnight Camping for Over 70 Summers. Pinemere.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  30. ^ "NASCAR  : NASCAR Drivers, Race Standings & News - NASCAR.com". nascar.com. 
  31. ^ a b Gemperlein, Joyce (January 18, 1987). "One Man Who Defied Nature And Created His Own Snow". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  32. ^ Fox, Bert (December 5, 1993). "Never Mind The Weather - In The Poconos They Know How To Do Snow". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  33. ^ "John Guresh, Thorpe Resident, Was Snowmaking Pioneer". The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania). January 22, 1999. Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  34. ^ Alpine Mountain
  35. ^ "Blue Mountain - Premier PA Skiing, Riding, & Tubing Resort". Blue Mountain. 
  36. ^ Elk Mountain Ski Resort - Pennsylvania's Best!. Elkskier.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  37. ^ "Elk Mountain Ski Resort Skiing - Weather - Lift Ticket Deals - OnTheSnow". OnTheSnow. 
  38. ^ Welcome to JF BB Ski Areas
  39. ^ Shawnee Mountain Ski Area. "Shawnee Mountain Ski Area". shawneemt.com. 
  40. ^ "Home". ski-bigbear.com. 
  41. ^ "Montage Mountain Is Back!". montageisback.com. 
  42. ^ "Tanglwood Resorts". tanglwoodresorts.com. 

External links[edit]