National Get Outdoors Day is officially June 9, 2018, but in the Allegheny National Forest of northwestern, Pennsylvania, it is always Get Outdoors Day! Hiking trails invite you to explore on foot and kayak rentals put you on the water. In June, the mountain laurel begins to bloom, creating an amazing carpet of pink blossoms. The Forest turns a lush, mystical green. Villages and towns come alive with the sounds of music, laughter, and families having fun during the seasonal fairs and festivals.
WHERE’S THE WATER?
As the days heat up, the glistening waters of the Allegheny Reservoir invite you in. Both the Allegheny Reservoir and the Allegheny River offer miles of on-water experiences. You can rent a kayak, canoe and other equipment at Willow Bay in Bradford, Pennsylvania. If you already have your own kayak or canoe, a full list of boat launches on the Allegheny River can be found at alleghenysite.com/category/boat-launches.
If you need advice on purchasing a kayak or canoe, the experienced staff at Sportsman’s Outlet (500 Chestnut Street, Bradford, PA) are local outdoorsmen who can assist you in finding the right fit - both in size and in price. They also offer a wide selection of fishing equipment, and you can purchase a 1, 3 or 7-day tourism fishing license at their shop. Learn more at shopsportsmansoutlet.com.
SPLISH SPLASH WE GOTTA REGATTA
Spend the day paddling your kayak, canoe, or any flotation device down the Tunungwant in the 7th annual We Gotta Regatta on June 2nd. This family friendly event begins at noon at the trailhead on Browntown Road and ends at the Crook Farm in Bradford. After a day spent floating down the Tunagwant, enjoy a delicious pig roast, draft beer, and live music.
No registration is required. Cost is $20 for adults and $5 for 12 years of age and under. All proceeds support the Tuna Valley Trail Association. For more information visit www.tunavalleytrail.com.
EXPLORE ON FOOT
A favorite hiking trail for families is Timberdoodle Flats Interpretive Trail. This trail consists of two trail loops totaling 1.5 miles. The timberdoodle is the nickname of the American woodcock, one of the many birds you might get a glimpse of along the trail. The Woodcock Loop is marked with a yellow woodcock insignia and features 12 interpretive stops. The shorter Bluebird Trail features six interpretive stops and is suitable for wheelchairs, walking assistance equipment, or children in strollers. Timberdoodle trail is great for casual hikers, parents with children, and beginning birders. From Bradford, travel south on Rt. 219 to the intersection of Rt. 59, turn and travel west, then watch for the large trail sign which will mark trailhead parking.
KINZUA SKY WALK: ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP 10 SKYWALKS
For a great day outdoors, bring the family to Kinzua Bridge State Park in Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania. This free, day-use park is the home of the spectacular Kinzua Sky Walk - one of the most fantastic hikes you will ever experience! The Kinzua Sky Walk is one of the world’s top 10 most scenic skywalks and viewpoints in the world according to The Culture Trip; U.K. Extending 624 feet into the Kinzua Gorge at a height of 225 feet, the views from the skywalk of the surrounding Kinzua Gorge are stunning!
First built in 1881, 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 historic 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.
The new Kinzua Bridge Visitors Center contains a wide variety of interactive displays, including a replica railroad car where you can sit and watch a film of what it was actually like to cross the original viaduct by steam engine. The Kinzua Bridge Scenic Byway, which is the access road to the park, is a shared use road for bicyclists. This family friendly park also features picnic areas and a hiking trail to the bottom of the gorge.
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 viewpoint. 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.
Open daily from 8am to sunset, the park is located at 296 Viaduct Road, Mt. Jewett, PA. The Kinzua Bridge Visitors Center is open from 8am-6pm. Learn more at visitanf.com/kinzua-bridge-visitor-center.
THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME FESTIVAL
Join the Marilyn Horne Museum & Exhibit Center in Historic Downtown Bradford for the The Good Old Summertime Festival on June 9th from 12-6pm. Enjoy an afternoon of craft sodas, hot dogs, hamburgers, antique cars and more!
Step back to yesteryear with the sounds of Ragtime jazz played by the award-winning Monumental Brass Quintet. Join in the fun at the "Kaleidoscope Korner” for balloon animals, face painting, and chalk art. Inside of the museum there will be a selection of unique vendors from around the region. Admission is FREE!
The Marilyn Horne Museum & Exhibit Center is located at 2 Marilyn Horne Way, Bradford, PA. For more information please call 814-362-7990 or go to www.marilynhorne.org.
12TH ANNUAL ART IN THE WILDS
The 12th annual Art in the Wilds will be held June 23-24 at Evergreen Park in Kane, Pennsylvania. Acclaimed as the premier artisan event within the geographic region of the Pennsylvania Wilds, the show will feature acrylics, oils, leather, wood, watercolors, glass, jewelry, drawing, pastels, clay, porcelain, fabric and fiber, and photography.
Show hours are 10am-5pm daily. Artisan demonstrations will be held on Sunday. A variety of food and drinks, along with comfortable resting places within the park make this a fun art show to attend. Admission and parking are free. For additional information call 814-837-7167 or go to www.artinthewilds.org.
FLY FISHING RETREAT
Learn all the tricks for fly fishing during the Secrets of Fly Fishing Success beginners course June 15-17th. Gary Kell, co-author of the new Keystone Fly Fishing Guide, will be hosting the three-day, two-night course at the Olmsted Manor Retreat Center in Ludlow, PA. This retreat is designed for aspiring fly fishermen, as well as veteran fly fishermen that have never taken a formal course.
Participants will learn the art of setting up equipment, tying knots, identifying aquatic insects, and determining where fish lay in a stream. The Friday class begins at 7:30pm-9pm. The Saturday class starts at 9am, and Sunday is from 9am-5pm. Tuition plus room and board (2 nights, 6 meals) is $261. Commuter price is $150 plus the cost of meals.
The Olmsted Manor Retreat Center is located at 17 East Main, Ludlow, Pennsylvania. For more information call 814-945-6512 or visit www.olmstedmanor.org/fly-fishing-retreats.html.
TOWN SQUARE CONCERTS
During the months of June, July and August in the village of Port Allegany along scenic Pennsylvania Route 6, visitors and community members are invited to enjoy Town Square Concerts, featuring a variety of live musical entertainment. The concerts are held Thursday evenings beginning at 6pm, and admission is FREE!
Be sure to bring a lawn chair or blanket. Find the concert schedule at townsquareconcerts.com.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
To receive a useful, convenient visitors guide full of maps, attractions, restaurants and other things to see and do in the Allegheny National Forest Region, please call 800-473-9370 or click on visitANF.com.