Jim Thorpe offers cheap, exciting getaway

With a variety of entertaining outdoor activities, Jim Thorpe is a great town for students to visit these next few months. However, the heart of the town feels hectic and overwhelming.


Julia Vizza

To “summit” up…Admiring the river, senior Patrick Rother relishes in the moment. Rother hiked the Mount Pisgah Trail to get to the beautiful view at the summit.

Through its enchanting hiking trails and secluded location, Jim Thorpe provides an inexpensive, peaceful option for many high schoolers on a budget throughout the fall and winter seasons.

The mountains and the hiking trails are excellent. 

There are many different hiking trails in the area that range from beginner trails to more difficult ones. I hiked the Mount Pisgah trail, a short 1.4-mile path that overlooked the Lehigh River as it bent through various rolling hills at the trail’s summit.

Making the views even more spectacular was the color of the leaves. 

The beautiful red and yellow foliage covered the ground as well as the trees in the surrounding area, making the summit of the trail a superb spot to observe the vibrant colors of Jim Thorpe.

The various trails and summits of the Jim Thorpe area are peaceful and delightful. There are few other people on the trails—especially early in the morning—making for a nice, quiet way to spend time.

While the town has a nice small-town vibe, it is completely overshadowed by the incredible amount of people. 

The busy atmosphere of the train station and surrounding shops creates a very overwhelming environment that is difficult to deal with. 

Paired with the number of people, the small size of most of the buildings makes going inside feel even more suffocating.

I would recommend sticking to the hiking trails and the beautiful viewpoints rather than trying to go to some of the more popular places in the town. 

The only practical way of getting to Jim Thorpe is by car. The drive is about an hour from Souderton and goes through the Lehigh Tunnel.

It is a pretty easy drive depending on the time of day because it’s just up the northeast extension about 40 miles. I went early in the morning—around 7:45 a.m.—and there were very few cars on the road, making for a relaxing trip. 

However, the town itself was crawling with people. 

It was nearly impossible to find free parking within the small town, even at the early time of day. There were a few parking lots throughout the middle of town ranging from $12 to $25.

A free alternative was to park in the nearby borough of Jim Thorpe which sat atop a hill a half-mile from the center of the town.

Within the town, however, it was difficult to find places to go that were not packed with people; this could have just been because of the time of year, but there were hundreds of people walking the street at any time.

Waits at restaurants ranged from 20 minutes to an hour, but the food was excellent.

I ate at Molly Maguire’s Pub and Steakhouse which was adjacent to the train station that offers scenic rides through the picturesque surroundings. 

When sticking to the trails, the trip to Jim Thorpe is very affordable. The only real cost is any snacks you want to bring and, of course, gas. 

The affordability of the experience makes it an attractive trip for high school students who are looking for adventures, but not looking to spend their money.