The Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania is over a half million acres of recreational opportunities, scenic views and hidden treasures. The beautiful Allegheny Reservoir, large rocky outcroppings, pristine forests, hundreds of miles of trails, primitive camping spots and meandering rivers make the forest a great place to get out and enjoy the outdoors. If you like to blaze your own trails the Allegheny Forest is the place for you.
Location / Directions:
The Allegheny National Forest is located in the northwestern Pennsylvania counties of Elk, McKean, Forest and Warren -- within easy driving distance of Pittsburgh and Erie in Pennsylvania, Buffalo in New York, and Akron and Cleveland in Ohio.
Admission & Fees:
The Allegheny National Forest is free and open to the public, although camping and other recreational activities may incur their own fees.
What to Expect:
The Allegheny National Forest stretches for over a half million acres across northwestern Pennsylvania, a rugged landscape of rolling hills, meandering streams and virgin hardwood forests. All of this natural beauty offers abundant opportunities for recreation, including four beaches, six boat launches, sixteen campgrounds, three scenic overlook areas, nine picnic areas, dozens of trout streams and hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing.
Favorite activities within the Allegheny National Forest include hiking the North Country Trail, canoeing through the Allegheny Islands Wilderness area, fishing in the Allegheny Reservoir, biking in Buzzard Swamp, visiting the ruins of the former 1882 Kinzua Bridge, and enjoying the scenery along the National Longhouse Scenic Byway
Allegheny Reservoir and Kinzua Dam:
Many of the recreation areas in the Allegheny National Forest are located in the area around the Allegheny Reservoir, a 25-mile lake created by the Kinzua Dam. Here you can enjoy the views from two nearby scenic overlooks, visit the dam, fish or boat in the reservoir, or camp in one of the many campgrounds located on the shores of the Allegheny Reservoir.
Kinzua Dam & Allegheny Reservoir
Allegheny River Islands Wilderness:
Seven islands in the Allegheny River between Buckaloons Recreation Area and the town of Tionesta, offer remote canoeing and back-country camping for a unique East Coast wilderness experience. This federally-designated wilderness area totals 368 acres. The islands are named for early settlers and are used primarily by fishermen and campers on overnight canoe trips down the Allegheny River.
Hiking & Biking Trails:
Over 300 trails criss-cross the Allegheny National Forest. Multiple hiking trails offer hiking for all levels, include a 96-mile portion of the North Country Scenic Trail. There are also over 100 miles of ATV trails and 54 miles of cross-country ski trails. Many of the hiking and ATV trails are also open for mountain biking. The 9.6 miles trail system around Buzzard Swamp is an especially nice place for anyone looking for a relatively flat hiking or biking trip.
Horseback riding isn't allowed on developed hiking and cross-country trails in the Allegheny National Forest, but open riding is permitted through most other sections of the forest.
Camping & Cabins:
Sixteen developed campgrounds of varying sizes and facilities area available in the Allegheny National Forest. Some campgrounds offer hot showers, playgrounds, hookups and other modern amenities, while other primitive reservoir campgrounds are only accessible by boat. Backcountry dispersed camping is also permitted in most sections of the forest, so just stake out a spot!.
Campgrounds in the Allegheny National Forest
Fishing & Hunting:
The Allegheny Reservoir, along with other smaller reservoirs and over 500 miles of streams, offer outstanding fishing opportunities and over 71 species of fish in the Allegheny National Forest. A Pennsylvania license is required for fishing in all Pennsylvania portions of the Allegheny National Forest, except on PA Fish for Free days
How to Get a Pennsylvania Fishing License
More than 300 species of mammals call the Allegheny National Forest home, including black bear, white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Bald eagles have even been spotted in the Kinzua Dam area. Certain species and areas are open for hunting - no bald eagles, of course!. Be sure to check all season dates, bagging limits, and other hunting requirements.
How to Get a Pennsylvania Hunting License
Boating & Swimming:
The Allegheny and Clarion Rivers and Tionesta Creek offer almost 300 miles of river travel within the Allegheny National Forest the for the canoe or kayak enthusiast.