Back to Nature

The scenery is spectacular in the Allegheny National Forest Region of northwestern Pennsylvania. During early June, the mountain laurel begins to bloom, creating an amazing carpet of pink blossoms under the lush green canopy of the Forest. Plan a hike, join in one of the many outdoor festivals, attend a Christian Musical retreat, or spend a night camping under the stars. Come explore Trail Central-McKean County, Pennsylvania.

 

TAKE A HIKE!

In the Forest there are 13 trail systems with 10 interpretive trails, totaling an impressive distance of 219 miles. Nearby, the Tuna Valley Trails, Potato Creek Trails and the Kinzua Valley Trails offer diverse trail experiences from short hikes to three-day backpacking excursions. Trails cross diverse landscapes from fertile farmlands to massive rock outcrops.

Kinzua Sky Walk- One of the World’s Top 10 Skywalks

One of the most spectacular hikes you will ever experience is a stroll on the amazing Kinzua Sky Walk. Selected as one of the world’s top 10 scenic skywalks and viewpoints in the world by The Culture Trip, this 624 foot long, 225 foot high, skywalk offers amazing views of the Kinzua Gorge.

The Kinzua Viaduct was once the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the world. In 2003, a tornado ripped through the valley and partially destroyed the viaduct, sending 11 of the 20 towers crashing to the valley floor. Using six of the viaduct’s steel towers, and the original railroad tracks from the surface of the historic structure, a new skywalk was created.  Now the tracks lead the way to a partial glass observation deck from which you can view the fallen towers. “Walking the Tracks across the Sky” is a thrilling adventure.

Located within the Kinzua Bridge State Park, admission to the park and to the skywalk is free. Open daily from 8 am to sunset, the park is located at 296 Viaduct Road, Mt. Jewett, PA. The family friendly park also features picnic areas and a hiking trail to the bottom of the gorge. The Kinzua Bridge Scenic Byway, which is the access road to the park, is a shared use road for bicyclists.

Kinzua Creek Trail

Not for the faint of heart, this challenging trail winds down the side of the Kinzua Gorge. At the bottom of the gorge you can view the fallen towers of the Kinzua Viaduct from a remarkable view point. What looked small, when viewed from above, are now gigantic steel towers. Huge concrete structures which once held the massive towers now stand empty.  Access to the trail is from the pathway between the skywalk and the wooden overlook at the Kinzua Bridge State Park. This is a difficult trail and sturdy hiking boots should be worn, even more challenging than the hike down is the hike back up!

North Country National Scenic Trail

In the Forest there are 96.3 miles of North Country National Scenic Trail marked with blue diamonds. It is one of only three designated National Scenic Trails in Pennsylvania and it provides vistas of the Allegheny Reservoir as it passes through rock outcroppings, open hardwoods, old growth forests and stands of hemlock.

A trailhead near the Willow Bay Recreation Area features a parking area located along PA Route 346, west of the City of Bradford. The trail winds south from this northern point near the Pennsylvania/New York state border to the Tionesta National Scenic Area near Ludlow. It then heads southeast to Nanson, and southwest through Seldom Seen Corners, to the Allegheny National Forest boundary near Muzette. The trail is rated moderate to difficult. Forest trails are dog friendly, but a leash is required in developed areas.

Perfect for backpacking, the northern section from PA Route 321 to the Red Bridge Recreational Area is approximately 29 miles, so allow two to three days. For those interested in a shorter trek, loops along the trail can easily be completed as day hikes between Willow Bay and PA Route 321. For those seeking a cabin or campsite nearby, reservations can be made online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. Dispersed camping is allowed in the Forest, but some rules apply, so be sure to check out the regulations by calling the Bradford Ranger station at 814-363-6000. If you need a hiking shuttle, prior arrangements can be scheduled with Allegheny Site Management at 814-368-4158. To view all the lodging options on the Forest check out www.alleghenysite.com.

Allegheny 100 Hiking Challenge

The North Country Trail in the Forest will be the site of the Allegheny 100 Hiking Challenge on June 10-12, 2016. Participants are challenged to complete this endurance challenge of 100 miles of trail within a two-day time frame. For those who cannot complete the full length of trail, volunteers will be available to provide shuttles and assistance.  Hikers will meet in the Allegheny National Forest at the PA Route 66 trailhead between Marienville and Vowinckel, PA, with the challenge extending to the PA Route 346 trailhead near Willow Bay. For additional information please call 814-927-5700 or visit www.northcountrytrail.org.

Morrison Hiking Trail

A delightful 11.4-mile loop trail, the eastern side is the Morrison Trail Loop and the western side is the Rimrock Trail Loop. Day hikers can complete either portion of the trail in one day. By combining both trails with the cross connector, this system becomes a great two to three day backpacking adventure. Hikers will pass through open hardwoods and large rock formations, and the ground cover is thick with strands of mountain laurel. The trailhead parking lot is located along PA Route 59, 17 miles west of the City of Bradford. The difficulty level is rated moderate to difficult.

Rimrock Overlook & Trail

This short, 0.2 mile, and 1.3 mile interlocking trail system is an ideal hike for those seeking stunning scenery with easy walking.  The trailhead is well marked and it is accessible from a paved parking lot. Nearby, there is a tree shaded public picnic area. Highlights along the trail include massive rockformations and scenic vistas of the shoreline of the Allegheny Reservoir. Rimrock Overlook connects to the Rimrock Overlook Trail which is a 1.3-mile hiking trail linking the overlook to the Kinzua Beach Recreation Area. The typography of this trail is very dramatic as you are descending from the rocky overlook to the beach area, making it a moderately difficult trail.  From Bradford, travel west on PA Route 59 to a left hand turn onto Forest Road 454, drive 2.7 miles to access the parking/picnic area.

 

FILL YOUR SUMMER WITH ART, MUSIC AND FUN!

Art In the Wilds

The beauty of the Forest has been known to inspire more than one artist. This creation of art in a natural setting is celebrated at the juried fine art show, Art in the Wilds, held June 25-26, 2016 in Evergreen Park in Kane, PA. Artisans from throughout the region will showcase their talents in acrylics/oils, leather, wood, watercolor, glass, jewelry, drawing/pastels, clay/porcelain, fabric/fiber, and photography.

Show hours are 10am-5pm daily. Artisan demonstrations will be held on Sunday. Admission and parking are free. A variety of food and drinks, along with comfortable resting places within the park make this a fun art show to attend. Turn the page to learn more about this year’s Art In the Wilds, call 814-837-7167 or visit www.artinthewilds.org.

Christian Music Retreat & Workshop at Olmsted Manor

Do you love church music? This musical retreat will be held Sunday, June 26 till Friday, July 1 at historic Olmsted Manor, which is located at the edge of the Allegheny National Forest. Here you can celebrate and refine your musical talents. You’ll enjoy choral, hand bells and organ sessions, along with bible study, performances and family-style meals. A concert will be performed at the end of the retreat at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center, 17 E. Main Street in Ludlow, PA. For more information please call 814-945-6512 or www.olmstedmanor.org.

Wickedly Independent Band Festival

A new event, the Wickedly Independent Band Festival will be starting at 3pm on Sunday, July 3 and continuing until noon on Monday, July 4 at the Kane Family Drive-In. A wide range of live musical groups from Bluegrass to Rock and Roll will be performing. The Kane Family Drive-In is located at 6627 Route 6 East in Kane, PA. Old-fashioned milkshakes, hamburgers and hot dogs, along with Straub Beer will be available at the old-fashioned concession stand. A “kids graveyard” - a family-friendly kids play area - will feature a variety of games. For information please call 814-837-9760 or www.kanefamilydrivein.com.

 

OTHER EXCUSES TO GET OUTSIDE!

National Get Outdoors Day in the Allegheny National Forest

National Get Outdoors Day will be celebrated at the Beaver Meadows Recreation Area near Marienville, PA on June 11 from 9am-3pm. This is a free family event with kayaking, hiking, fishing, campfire building and other outdoor fun! Walk, talk and paddle with the U.S. Forest Service Rangers. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day outdoors. There will be photo opportunities with characters like Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl and other interesting creatures. Directions: from the center of Marienville, take North Forest Street four miles north; Beaver Meadows road is on the right. For more information please call 877-444-6777 or www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org.

PA Firefly Festival

The PA Firefly Festival will be held in Tionesta, PA, on June 25 from noon until midnight. This festival celebrates the strikingly beautiful light show generated by one of nature’s small but remarkable creatures - the firefly. One of the species found in the Allegheny National Forest, the Photinus carolinus, aka the synchronous firefly, produces flash patterns of light in synchrony with each other. This remarkable firefly light show resembles multiple strings of Christmas lights twinkling throughout the Forest.

The festival offers live music, exhibits, arts, crafts, food and fun for all ages. Volunteers will be on-hand to educate you on the different species of fireflies and to explain appropriate viewing procedures. Fireflies are best viewed after 10pm. It is suggested you bring camp chairs so you have comfortable seating from which to enjoy the live music and firefly viewing. Primitive camping is available on the grounds of Black Caddis Ranch. For additional information please call 814-463-7606 or click on www.pafireflyfestival.com.

For full information on attractions, lodging, restaurants, events and other things to see and do in the Forest, please call 800-473-9370 or visit our website. Trail maps are also downloadable from visitANF.com.

By Linda Devlin

The ANF Region is alive with music and laughter Read more

By Spencer Timkey

Golf outing couples all-ladies fun with raising cardiac awareness Read more

By Linda Devlin

... and a day on the water Read more

By Anjanette Nicolazzo

Evergreen Park sets the stage for another spectacular "Art in the Wilds" Read more

By Linda Devlin

Every day is National Get Outdoors Day in the ANF! Read more

By Spencer Timkey

Tournament and chicken BBQ raises funds for the Eldred WWII Museum Read more

By Linda Devlin

Dinosaurs and Opera? Read more

By ANF Visitors Bureau

Start your Fall with a trip to the ANF Region of PA Read more

By Mary Heyl

New Kinzua Bridge Visitor Center Now Open Read more

By ANF Visitors Bureau

Fairs, unique shopping, and outdoor adventures! Read more

Pages