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

Jakes Rocks Overlook and Mountain Bike Trail

Wander on hardened paths through the woods to the overlook. Stand on the rock outcrop to see expansive views of Jackson Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir, Kinzua Dam and the surrounding forest. 

As you walk, look for the wide array of fungus in multiple colors that grows along the path. Stop and wonder at the trees growing through, and sometimes on, the large boulders. Picnic in the shade of the trees after your walk. Always be cautious of tree roots along the paths and uneven footing near the overlook. 
                   
Come join us and enjoy the newly forged Jakes Rocks Extreme Mountain Bike Trail System. These trails offer a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the Allegheny National Forest while enjoying the sport of mountain biking. These trails provide a positive user experience for novices and experts alike. 

Please use caution and remember to share the trail with other users. For more safety guidelines visit the Outdoor Safety section of the website.


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


Penoke, Marienville and Timberline ATV/OHM Trails

This is an interconnecting trail system with 76 miles of trail. Trail season typically runs from the Friday before Memorial day to the last Sunday in September. Inclement wet weather may cause the trails to close on short notice. If in doubt please call ahead.

Penoke Off Highway Motorcycle (OHM) and ATV Trail:

This 23.1 mile loop is rated most difficult and is best suited to off-highway motorcycles. The motorcycle trail offers a very rocky surface that winds and twists through the forest. OHM riders can finish the trail within a few hours. ATV'ers will find a very demanding and challenging ride that will take 4 - 6 hours to complete.

This trail is not recomended for inexperienced or novice riders. The trail is one-way travel except where otherwise posted. The connector between Duhring Road and Rocket John Trailhead is open to all machines and is two-way traffic.

Marienville ATV and OHM Trail:

The Marienville ATV Trail is approximately 14 miles of old roads and railroad grades traversing scenic and forested hills of the Allegheny National Forest. This trial is one-way travel except whre posted otherwise. The trail has several steep hill climbs, the hill climb coming out of the Pigs Ear is paved with cement blocks and has a bypass for easier riding. This trail is a most difficult trail.

Timberline ATV and OHM Trail:

This trail is designed for the enjoyment of ATV and motorcycle riders at the beginner skill level and ties into the Marienville ATV/OHM Trail. The Timberline ATV Trail is a system of 39 miles of interconnecting trails, railroad grades and roads traversing the scenic forested hills of the Allehgney National Forest. The timberline trail is rated easiest and is best suited to ATVs. Riding surfaces are generally level and wide (averaging eight feet in width). The entire trail is a two-way system.

During the winter season this dual use trail provides snowmobile access from teh south and southeast to the Allegheny Snowmobile Loop system. This trail is not groomed in winter.

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.


Spring Creek Horse Trail

The Spring Creek Horse Trail is a 40-mile equestrian trail near Marienville, off of Route 66. The trail begins at Kelly Pines and has loops of varying lengths to provide long or short horseback rides for visitors.

Portions of the trail will take riders near Wolf Run, Spring Creek, Little Hunter Creek and Bank Run on National Forest System lands and Hill Run in PA State Gamelands #28.

View/Print Trail Brochure - Spring Creek Horse Trail map


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 bank fishing 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

Lush green forest surrounds the 7,647-acre reservoir that spans the border between Pennsylvania and New York. In Pennsylvania, the reservoir is completely surrounded by the Allegheny National Forest; and in New York State by Allegany State Park and the Allegany Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation.

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, and a maximum depth of 130 feet.

Despite how busy the reservoir can get in the summer, there are still places where you can experience the solitude and quiet of the forest. Facilities range from large campgrounds with everything from electric hook-ups, flush toilets and playgrounds to boat-in campgrounds with simple outhouses and hand-pumps for water.

The reservoir draws people from all over for the quantity and quality of the water activities it has available.

The walleye, trout, bass, pike and muskellunge are there and waiting for a fight. Several record breaking fish have been caught in the reservoir. In the winter you can head out onto the ice for a little ice fishing. If you want to look, but not fish, stop by the dam and peek over the edge. The fish like to gather in the eddies at the edges of the reservoir near the dam. Please do not feed the fish.

There are two major trails in the area, Jakes Rock Extreme Mountain Biking Trail, and the short, but intense, Rimrock Trail. After your ride or hike you can head over to the Kinzua Beach and cool off in the chill waters of the reservoir.

And no trip the the reservoir is complete without driving on Longhouse National Scenic Byway and up to the overlooks at Jakes Rocks and Rimrock to take in the endless view of the reservoir against the backdrop of the forest.

Scroll down to find out more about the activities available on the reservoir.

 

History of the Reservoir

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.

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.


Recreation Areas