The ANF Region: See It by Air, Land and Water

Girl in airplane

photo courtesy ANF Visitors Bureau

You’re On the Trail to Something Big!

The Allegheny National Forest is known as the land of many uses. It is also a land that can be seen from many vantage points whether it’s by air, land, or water. The Allegheny National Forest, the only national forest in Pennsylvania, is located 30 miles south of Ellicottville just across the New York/Pennsylvania state line.

A Bird's Eye View

A new adventure visitors can enjoy is a ride in a vintage biplane soaring over the hills of the Forest and the newly opened Kinzua Sky Walk at the Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Experienced pilot Bruce Klein is offering rides in his beautifully restored 1943 Boeing Stearman, which features an open cockpit. This biplane offers a safe, enjoyable – as well as memorable – experience. Take advantage of this bird’s eye view to see the scenic beauty of the Alleghenies and the amazing structure within the Kinzua Gorge - the Kinzua Sky Walk.

Vintage Biplane Rides, which take off from the Bradford Regional Airport on Route 59 outside of Bradford, are offered all year round. Rides are $80 per person; group rates and gift certificates are available. Book your flight by calling Bruce at 814-642-9486 or 814-558-5376.

There’s also an opportunity to see the region as you float down to earth after parachuting from an airplane.

Freefall Oz Skydiving Center is for first time jumpers, students, spectators or experienced skydivers. First time jumpers will do a tandem jump accompanied by Ashley Easdon-Smith, a member of the United States Parachute Association. Located in northeastern McKean County, Pa., Oz Homestay is a fly-in B&B that hosts skydiving on site. For additional information or to make reservations, call 814-697-7218 or click on www.freefallozskydiving.com.

Kinzua Sky Walk

No reservations are needed to walk on the Kinzua Sky Walk, located on Route 3011, close to the village of Mount Jewett.

The Kinzua Sky Walk, located at the Kinzua Bridge State Park, is built on a historic masterpiece, the Kinzua Viaduct that was once the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the world. Constructed in 1882 and used for commerce and tourist excursions, the Kinzua Viaduct was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003. In the Fall of 2011, the Kinzua Viaduct was reinvented as the Kinzua Sky Walk which allows visitors to once again “Walk the Tracks Across the Sky.”

Take a stroll out 600 feet on the Sky Walk into the vast Kinzua Gorge where you can see the beautiful, rolling landscape for miles. Once you reach the end of the Sky Walk, you will be treated with another view while peering down through the partial glass platform to the valley floor hundreds of feet below.

Hit the Trails

You can also enjoy the Kinzua Bridge State Park from yet another vantage point - by land. The General Thomas Kane Trail is a one-mile loop hiking trail in the state park. Expect to see a diverse sampling of tree species, including the American Chestnut (Castenea dentata) along with the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of bird species. Picnic tables located throughout the park are shaded by a tree canopy with some offering views of the Sky Walk. The Kinzua Bridge Scenic Byway is a designated shared use hike/bike corridor that connects scenic Pennsylvania Route 6 to the state park, so be sure to bring your bike.

While in the area, take a walk on one of the trails in the Marilla Trail System. A local favorite is the Marilla Bridges Trail which loops around the Marilla Reservoir. This one-mile loop offers forest and water vistas. Highlights include the Erik Benjamin Covered Bridge, three rustic wooden trestle bridges, and a delightful gazebo located at the southwestern corner of the trail. The trailhead is located along Route 346, five miles west of the City of Bradford; fishing is allowed.

Dip into the Waters

For those who love the water, the Allegheny Reservoir is ripe with opportunity to see the Forest from yet another location – a boat, kayak or canoe. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at Willow Bay and Kiasutha campgrounds in the Allegheny National Forest at the following rates: $25 for four hours; $40 for eight hours; $80 for the weekend; and $100 for a week by contacting Allegheny Site Management at 814-368-4158.

New this season is B’s Canoeing Guide Service which offers guided canoe trips on the Tunungwant, or as the locals call it, the “Tuna.” Your canoe trip will travel a seven-mile scenic water trail that is always smooth and floatable. There’s no need to walk this trail.

Adults and children, at least 8 years of age, are welcome. Groups from 2 to 10 people can be accommodated per trip. Your canoe trip will include a lunch of sandwiches, potato chips and a white cake made with homemade maple syrup. Guests are asked to bring their own beverages; alcohol is prohibited. To book your trip at $50 per person, call Brian Pfister at 814-598-7348 or e-mail bscanoeingguide@yahoo.com.

For more information on the Allegheny National Forest Region or to order a FREE Travel Guide & Map, contact the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau at 800-473-9370 or email info@visitANF.com.

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