A Sneak Peek at What the ANF Region Has to Offer
It’s no secret that dirt bike and ATV riding is a popular trend among outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Many of us grow up with a mini bike or small four-wheeler, and carry the tradition of zipping through the forest or racing around the track for a lifetime.
Part of this trend and tradition in McKean County, Pa. can be credited to our central location in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). The ANF is Pennsylvania’s only National Forest, and spans approximately 517,000 acres in the northwestern corner of the state.
“ATV riding is a sport that not only appeals to the youthful riders who tend to come in groups of 4 to 10 for a guy’s weekend of motorized fun, but also to families and older folks with limited walking ability who want to spend some time in the woods,” said Linda Devlin, Executive Director of the ANF Visitors Bureau.
Over 100 miles of the trails within the ANF are designated for ATV riding. Most facilities include vault toilets, paved parking, loading/unloading ramps and informational signage. All ATV trails are marked with yellow, diamond-shaped blazes. A $10/vehicle daily fee will be charged, or purchase a season pass for $35/vehicle. Check out the trails:
MARIENVILLE ATV TRAIL
Trailhead parking lot location: along State Route 66 about 15 miles southwest of Kane, Pa. and eleven miles northeast of Marienville, Pa.
Access the 37-mile Marienville ATV/Bike Trail System right from this parking lot. The Bike Trail Area is a 23.1-mile loop rated “most difficult,” and is best suited for trail bikes. It offers a challenging rocky trail surface that winds and twists through the forest. This trail is not recommended for inexperienced or novice riders. The 14.2-mile ATV Trail Area is rated “more difficult,” and is best suited for ATVs. Mufflers are required on all ATVs and motorbikes. Lights must be used between sunset and sunrise.
“I love riding this trail,” said Frank Nicolazzo, ATV rider from Kane, Pa. “It’s close to home and a ton of fun because it never gets boring. My friends and I can get out there and really rip it up and challenge ourselves at the same time.”
Mountain biking is also permitted on this trail. The usage for this trail system is rated “heavy.”
ROCKY GAP ATV TRAIL
Trailhead parking lot location: along Pleasant Drive (State Road 3005/337), at the intersection of Forest Road 155, 6 miles south of Warren, Pa.
This trailhead offers access to the 21.9-mile Rocky Gap ATV Trail. This trail is open to Class I ATVs, trail bikes, snowmobiles, horses and mountain bikes.
“The trail name is exactly what it is – rugged, rocky, challenging terrain, for more of an experienced rider. It’s well-kept, no grass and has a designated and clean parking area,” said Jason Nett, avid dirt biker and private track owner.
The trail is plowed during winter activity season. Mountain biking, big and small game hunting, nature viewing and camping is permitted along the trail as long as your equipment does not block the trail. The usage for this trail system is rated “light.”
TIMBERLINE ATV TRAIL
Trailhead parking lot location: on Forest Road 232, one mile south of State Route 948 and State Route 66 intersection. Parking is also located along Township Road 458 (FR136) near Buhler Corner and Township Road 322 at Pigs Ear south of State Route 66.
This trailhead offers access to the 38-mile interconnecting loop trail system. Currently, this trail is open; however, the section from Buelers Corners to and including the play pit on FR 339 is closed until further notice due to a trail reconstruction and relocation project.
The trail is plowed during winter activity season. Mountain biking, big and small game hunting, nature viewing and camping in posted areas is permitted. The usage for this trail system is rated “heavy.”
WILLOW CREEK ATV TRAIL
Trailhead parking lot location: along Forest Road 137 (one lane gravel road), approximately 2 miles south of State Route 346 and 11 miles west of Bradford, Pa.
This parking lot accesses the 10.8-mile Willow Creek ATV Trail, which is designed for intermediate skilled riders. With the season of this trail running from May through September, there is no winter access. Camping is permitted along the trail as long as your equipment does not block the trail. Mountain biking is also permitted. The usage for this trail system is rated “light.”
Permits are required to use all trails within the ANF. Permits offered are annual or day use for all ATV, Class I and Class II designations. Request information on trail classifications when applying for permits by contacting the ANF at 814-362-4613. You can also find the annual permit application at www.visitanf.com/atv-trails/.
According to Devlin, “The ATV trails within the ANF are part of the diverse year-round trail system that makes this area such a great outdoor destination.”
To download trail maps or to learn more about everything the ANF Region has to offer, visit www.visitANF.com. You can also contact the ANF Supervisor’s Office for details at 814-723-5150.