Allegheny National Forest Region: A Cool Place to Spend Summer Days
When the temperature starts to heat up, there are plenty of places to cool down in the Allegheny National Forest Region. Located just 30 minutes south of Ellicottville, N.Y., the Allegheny National Forest Region is the perfect place to set sail on the Allegheny Reservoir, have a picnic at a park or just stroll some of the many trails in the area.
Before hitting the trails - water or otherwise - load up a picnic basket of meats, cheeses and other goodies from the Grocery Stretcher at 32 Main Street in Bradford, Pa. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t forget to stop by the John Williams European Pastry Shop at 20 Mechanic Street, also in Bradford, for a wide array of pastries for dessert.
If you’ve forgotten something for your picnic once you are south of Bradford, have no fear. Stop by TJ’s Corner Store at 7005 Route 219 outside of Lewis Run. This convenience store, open seven days a week, has everything you could ask for, including subs, pizza, groceries, ice and ice cream. It is located at the intersection of Route 219 and Route 59. Call ahead at 814-368-3075 to place your order.
Make sure to have your camera ready when you drive through the Forest on Route 59 to the Allegheny Reservoir. The drive takes you through some of the best parts of the Allegheny National Forest.
The Allegheny Reservoir, a 12,000-acre impoundment on the Allegheny River, is the largest reservoir on the Forest. From this location, you can watch rolling hills slide by and enjoy a cool breeze as you go for a boat ride. If you want to spend a couple days on the reservoir, houseboat rentals are also available at the Kinzua Wolf Run Marina. Phone. 814-726-1650; www.kinzuamarina.com.
If you do not have a boat of your own, contact Allegheny Site Management at 814-368-4158 and they will set you up with a boat you can rent for an afternoon. There are also several campgrounds in the area to enjoy some time by the campfire and to rest your head for the evening. You can discover more about these campgrounds at alleghenysite.com.
There are seven areas where you can launch your boat. They are Kinzua-Wolf Run Marina, Willow Bay Recreation Area, Elijah Run, Webbs Ferry, Roper Hollow, Kiasutha Recreation Area and Dewdrop Recreation Area. From any of these places, you can discover many alcoves and bays.
THE FISHING HOLES OF NORTHERN PA
Trout, walleyes, bass, muskellunge, pike … you can find them all here in McKean County, Pa. They’re plentiful, they’re big, and they’re spoiling for a fight.
The Allegheny Reservoir rates as one of the best lakes in the country for big fish. It has produced the current Pennsylvania records for walleye (17 lbs. 9 oz.) and northern pike (33 lbs. 8 oz.) It has probably given up more muskies over 40 lbs. than any other lake in the East. Smallmouth bass are plentiful, and the main targets for several bass tournaments each year.
Uncounted miles of freestone trout streams flow through McKean County. Access is generally excellent, especially in the Allegheny National Forest. Most famous of these is Kinzua Creek, which flows into the Allegheny Reservoir at Red Bridge. Like the other streams that are stocked with trout, it is a popular place from the opening of trout season through May. But during summer, you can fish most streams without seeing another angler.
Exceptional trout fishing opportunities exist at special regulations areas. Summertime fishing is particularly promising on the “Delayed Harvest-Artificial Lures Only” section of Kinzua Creek, near Tallyho, and the “Delayed Harvest-Fly Fishing Only” section of Marvin Creek, near Smethport. Looking for big brown trout? Try the “Trophy Trout Program” on East Branch Tunungwant Creek, near Lewis Run.
For anglers who want to get away from the crowds, there are numerous small brooks which hold populations of wild brook trout. Or, try float-fishing for smallmouth bass and muskies along the Allegheny River, between Port Allegany and Eldred.
Take a few minutes for a picnic at the Kinzua Beach or at Rimrock Overlook. You can walk off some of your lunch with a trek on the Rimrock Trail, a 1.3-mile pedestrian trail that connects the overlook with the Kinzua Beach Recreation Area. This overlook includes massive rock formations and scenic vistas of the shorelines of the reservoir.
Another great trail to check out is the North Country National Scenic Trail, which is the longest trail in the Allegheny National Forest. A trailhead with parking area is located along Route 346 west of the City of Bradford. This is one of three designated National Scenic Trails in Pennsylvania and provides vistas of the Allegheny Reservoir as it passes through rock outcroppings, open hardwoods, old growth forests and stands of hemlock.
To learn more about these and other attractions in Pa., or to request a FREE visitors guide and map, call the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau at 800-473-9370 or log onto www.visitANF.com.