Special Places

Many visitors have an area that they are particularly attached to, a favorite campsite or a special fishing location. Below are some areas that are special and unique to the Allegheny National Forest.

Highlighted Areas

Hickory Creek Wilderness

The Hickory Creek Wilderness is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Hickory Creek was designated as Wilderness in 1984 and contains 8,663 acres of gentle to moderate terrain bound by Forest Road 119 to the south and State Route 2002 and 3005 to the north. There are two major creeks in the area, East Hickory Creek and Middle Hickory Creek.

Topography ranges from 1,273 feet where East Hickory Creek exits the wilderness to 1,900 feet on the plateau. There are no particularly steep slopes. Much of the area is heavily forested, primarily with northern hardwoods such as black cherry, oak, beech, birch and hemlock. Bear, deer and turkey are common wildlife in the area.

The Hickory Creek Trail, which runs through the wilderness, is minimally signed and maintained. The rolling 12-mile loop is an easy day-hike or can become an overnight backpacking trip. The only trailhead is along State Route 2002 and the trail is marked infrequently with faded yellow or white blazes painted onto trees.


View/Print Trail Brochure - pdf

Farnsworth Cabin

Built in the 1930s by the Civil Conservation Corps, the 2-bedroom, fully accessible, stone cabin was renovated in 2010 and now provides a variety of modern amenities. The cabin’s stone foundation and exterior are built of cut stone harvested from the nearby Farnsworth stream. The heavy wood doors and wood fascia are made from timber harvested from the nearby forest.

The cabin is set in a partially shaded area that has black cherry and beech trees, scattered hemlock and clumps of oak, maple and birch. In the nearby Hickory Creek area, there is an understory of abundant wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and mosses. Large white pine can be found scattered in open areas.

Bears, deer, turkeys, barred owls, and pileated woodpecker are common in the area. Small native brook trout can be found in the Farnsworth Stream, as well as other area creeks and streams, of which there are plenty..

A dam was also built at the hatchery in the 1930s, to slow and divert water flowing in the stream to the concrete raceways and ponds to provide cold water habitat to raise young trout fingerlings. Although fishing is not permitted in the hatchery ponds or raceways, nearby Farnsworth Stream is stocked and fishing is permitted.

The Hickory Creek Wilderness Area is just a few miles from the cabin. Chapman Lake in Chapman State Park, which is adjacent to the forest, Allegheny River and Tionesta Creek are also within a short distance of the cabin. Hunting on the area's ample public lands is also enjoyed by visitors to the area.

Longhouse National Scenic Byway

Longhouse Scenic Byway is a 36-mile loop byway that runs through the Allegheny National Forest. Visitors will often feel as if they are driving through a tunnel as they drive through the northern hardwoods of the Allegheny, surrounded by oak and black cherry.

The byway circles the Kinzua Creek arm of the Allegheny Reservoir and there are several campgrounds and picnic areas along the byway, including Jakes Rocks Overlook.

The byway begins at the intersection of Route 321 and Longhouse Drive. As you begin your drive you will pass Red Bridge Recreation Area, a campground and bankfishing area.

As you continue your drive you will continue your drive through hardwoods and hemlock until you near the top of the plateau and come upon the Old Powerhouse.

The route then passes by the Bradford Ranger Station before you continue on Route 59 toward the Allegheny Reservoir.

On this stretch you will come across Morrison Run Trail and access to the Rimrock Overlook and Trail. After the entrance for Rimrock you will reach the reservoir, with Kinzua Beach to the left and Wolf Run Marina to the right.

After driving over Cornplanter Bridge you'll need to turn left onto Longhouse Drive. Visitors who veer right will take a loop up to Jakes Rocks Overlook, while those who continue straight on will travel pass Dewdrop Recreation Area, Elijah Run Boat launch and Kiasutha Recreation Area before they reach Route 321 again.

Allegheny Reservoir

A major outdoor recreational attraction on the Forest is the 7,647 acre Allegheny Reservoir.  At normal summer pool level the reservoir is 27 miles long (14 miles in Pennsylvania and 13 miles in New York) with 91 miles of shoreline.

The undeveloped Allegheny Reservoir shoreline and National Forest System land surrounding the Reservoir provide the largest outdoor recreation opportunities in northwestern Pennsylvania. Highly developed infrastructure (e.g. paved roads, pressurized water systems, sewage treatment plants and electrical service) are in place to serve campgrounds with utilities, flush toilets and hot water showers. Other facilities include picnic areas, swimming beaches, and shoreline fishing opportunities and fishing piers.

The Reservoir was created in the 1960s when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Kinzua Dam on the upper Allegheny River.  The reservoir water level and water surface is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The adjacent shoreline is primarily owned and managed in Pennsylvania by the U.S. Forest Service and in New York by the Seneca Nation of Indians, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and Cattaraugus County, NY.

Only a few private landowners exist on the New York shoreline. The Allegheny Reservoir is unique because very little private commercial development exists along its shoreline. The majority of the existing developed recreation sites on the PA portion of the Reservoir are operated and maintained by the Allegheny National Forest.


Clarion Wild and Scenic River

The Clarion River is a designated Wild and Scenic River for 51.7 miles, from the border of the ANF/State Game Lands Number 44 boundary to an unnamed tributary at the backwaters of Piney Dam.

The steeply forested hillsides of almost continuous mature deciduous and coniferous vegetation contribute to a feeling of remoteness in many places along the river.

Paddlers on the river will find that the water changes from smooth to riffling as the river flows over and around large boulders.  In the section of river between Arroyo Bridge and Irwin Run paddlers will find several of the riffles.

The Clarion is a tributary to the Allegheny Wild and Scenic River, joining it in Clarion County, just south of the town of Emlenton.  In the early 1800's the Clarion was used to transport timber to the Allegheny River.

Allegheny Wild and Scenic River

In 1992 (Public Law 102-271) added 87 miles of the Allegheny River to the National Wild & Scenic River System classified as Recreational. The goal is to protect the existing outstanding and remarkable values and preserve a free-flowing condition for present and future generations. This designation applies to the following three sections:

  • 7 miles from below Kinzua Dam to Route 6 bridge in Warren
  • 48 miles from Buckaloons Campground to Alcorn Island (by Oil City), and
  • 32 miles from south of Franklin to Emlenton.

The corridor boundary runs along the plateau ridge on both sides and has extensive areas of privately owned lands with many homes and seasonal recreational residences along the shoreline. Public access is good generally from both sides and few hazards make this an ideal river for novice and family canoeing. Oak forests predominate along steep side slopes and there is wooded-riverine habitat in some of the floodplains.  It contains the seven Allegheny Wilderness Islands often used by boaters for dispersed camping and fishing.

The Allegheny Islands Wilderness contains seven islands stretched between Buckaloons and Tionesta along the Allegheny Wild and Scenic River. The islands are popular for dispersed camping, exploration, and viewing scenery and wildlife. They are mostly vegetated with fine riverine forests of sycamore, silver maple, shagbark hickory, and green ash. Dense grasses and other thick vegetation make access limited. There are no developed trails or other facilities on the islands.


The Allegheny River is one of the primary tributaries to the Ohio River.  It joins with the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River at the "Point" in Pittsburgh, PA.  The Allegheny starts in Pennsylvania, near Cobb Hill, meanders into New York into Cattaraugus County, near Salamanca, before heading back into Pennsylvania northeast of Warren.

The course of the river forms much of the northwestern boundary of the Allegheny National Forest before reaching Franklin where the river turns southeast.  Within the borders of the Allegheny National Forest the river is fed by Kinzua Creek, Conewango Creek, Brokenstraw Creek, Tionesta Creek, Oil Creek and French Creek.  The Clarion River joins the Allegheny near Kittanning.