North Country National Scenic Trail


Area Status: Open

Walk among rocks and waterfalls, Allegheny hardwoods and stands of mountain laurel! Explore the 96.3 miles of North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) that meander through the historic lands of the Iroquois, the Allegheny Plateau, some of the most valuable black cherry and oak in the world, landscapes rich in history, wildlife, and natural beauty.

A unique national resource, the NCNST is part of a 3,200-mile National Scenic Trail to extend from Crown Point, NY to Lake Sakakawea, ND. Once completed, it will be the longest continuous foot path in the US.

View/Print Trail Brochure - pdf

Helpful links:

At a Glance

Current Conditions: This trail is not groomed.
Operational Hours: Open 24 hours
Area Amenities: Tent camping, Drinking water, Parking
Fees: No fee
Permit Info: No permit required.
Open Season: January - December
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Camping: You may camp on National Forest land, however camping is not permitted on the shores and within 1,500 feet of the timberline around the Allegheny Reservoir, except in areas designated for such use. In addition, no camping will be allowed within
  • Jakes Rocks and Rimrock
  • Within 1500 feet of either side of the center line of Allegheny Reservoir Scenic Drive (includes Longhouse National Scenic Drive and portions of SRs 59, 346 and 321) or
  • 1500 feet of either side of the main channel of Kinzua Creek from Red Bridge upstream to Mead Run.
As a visitor to the National Forest, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the Forest, natural resources and to provide for public safety of visitors. These rules are available to you on-line or at any office of the Allegheny National Forest. Please take time to read and understand them. General Topic orders apply across the Forest. Applicable Orders for this Site:
  • Occupancy  Limits
Closest Towns: Warren, Bradford, Kane, Marienville
Water: None
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Marienville Ranger District
Address: 131 Smokey Lane Marienville, PA 16239
Phone: 1-814-927-6628 Bradford Ranger District:
29 Forest Service Dr., Bradford, PA 16701
Phone: 814-362-4613
Email: sm.fs.anf@usda.gov

General Information

Directions:

Multiple locations throughout forest.

NY State Border to SR 321 at Nelse Run

SR 346, SR 321 at Nelse Run

SR 321 at Nelse Run to SR 59

SR 321 at Nelse Run, FR 265

SR 59 to SR 321 at Chappel Fork

FR 265, SR 321 at Chappel Fork

SR 321 at Chappel Fork to Red Bridge Recreation Area

SR 321 at Chappel Fork, Red Bridge

Red Bridge Recreation Area to US 6

Red Bridge, Longhouse Trailhead, US 6

US 6 to Tionesta Scenic Area

US 6,FR 149 at Fox’s Dam

Tionesta Scenic Area to SR 666 at Henry's Mills

SR 666 at Henrys Mills, parking is limited at Tionesta Scenic Area, FR 148.

SR 666 at Henry's Mills to Minister Road

SR 666 at Henrys Mills, limited roadside parking on Minister Road

Minister Road to Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding

limited roadside parking on Minister Road, FR 116

Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding to Forest Road 449

FR 116

Forest Road 449 to Forest Road 127

SR 666, FR 127

Forest Road 127 to Forest road 145 at Amsler Springs

FR 127, Amsler Springs

Forest Road 145 at Amsler Springs to Forest Boundary

Amsler Springs, FR 540


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

For information on dispersed camping visit the Dispersed Camping section of the website.

Campgrounds you can access from the trail:

NY State Border to SR 321 at Nelse Run

Willow Bay Recreation Area

Tracy Ridge Recreation Area

Handsome Lake Campground

Hopewell Campground

 

SR 321 at Nelse Run to SR 59

Dispersed sites near Hammond Run

 

SR 59 to SR 321 at Chappel Fork

Dispersed sites near the headwaters to Hemlock Run

 

SR 321 at Chappel Fork to Red Bridge Recreation Area

Red Bridge Recreation Area

 

Red Bridge Recreation Area to US 6

Kiasutha Recreation Area

 

US 6 to Tionesta Scenic Area

Dispersed

 

Tionesta Scenic Area to SR 666 at Henry's Mills

Twin Lakes Recreation Area

 

SR 666 at Henry's Mills to Minister Road

Dispersed

 

Minister Road to Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding

Dispersed sites near Minister Trail, near the rock cities

 

Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding to Forest Road 449

Hearts Content Campground and Scenic Area 

Dispersed sites near the ghost town of Braceville, south of Coalbend Run about 1/2 mile

 

Forest Road 449 to Forest Road 127

Army Corp of Engineers Campground near Tionesta Creek

 

Forest Road 127 to Forest road 145 at Amsler Springs

Dispersed sites near the scenic Little Salmon Creek valley

Adirondack shelter is available at Amsler Springs as well as ample space for tents and parking.

 

Forest Road 145 at Amsler Springs to Forest Boundary

Kittanning State Forest and Cook Forest State Park

General Info:

General Notes

For information on dispersed camping visit the Dispersed Camping section of the website.

Campgrounds you can access from the trail:

NY State Border to SR 321 at Nelse Run

Willow Bay Recreation Area

Tracy Ridge Recreation Area

Handsome Lake Campground

Hopewell Campground

 

SR 321 at Chappel Fork to Red Bridge Recreation Area

Red Bridge Recreation Area

 

Red Bridge Recreation Area to US 6

Kiasutha Recreation Area

 

Tionesta Scenic Area to SR 666 at Henry's Mills

Twin Lakes Recreation Area

 

Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding to Forest Road 449

Hearts Content Campground and Scenic Area 

 

Forest Road 449 to Forest Road 127

Army Corp of Engineers Campground near Tionesta Creek

 

Forest Road 127 to Forest road 145 at Amsler Springs

Adirondack shelter is available at Amsler Springs as well as ample space for tents and parking.

 

Forest Road 145 at Amsler Springs to Forest Boundary

Kittanning State Forest and Cook Forest State Park


General Notes

For information on dispersed camping visit the Dispersed Camping section of the website.

Campgrounds you can access from the trail:

NY State Border to SR 321 at Nelse Run

Willow Bay Recreation Area

Tracy Ridge Recreation Area

Handsome Lake Campground

Hopewell Campground

 

SR 321 at Nelse Run to SR 59

Dispersed sites near Hammond Run

 

SR 59 to SR 321 at Chappel Fork

Dispersed sites near the headwaters to Hemlock Run

 

SR 321 at Chappel Fork to Red Bridge Recreation Area

Red Bridge Recreation Area

 

Red Bridge Recreation Area to US 6

Kiasutha Recreation Area

 

US 6 to Tionesta Scenic Area

Dispersed

 

Tionesta Scenic Area to SR 666 at Henry's Mills

Twin Lakes Recreation Area

 

SR 666 at Henry's Mills to Minister Road

Dispersed

 

Minister Road to Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding

Dispersed sites near Minister Trail, near the rock cities

 

Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding to Forest Road 449

Hearts Content Campground and Scenic Area 

Dispersed sites near the ghost town of Braceville, south of Coalbend Run about 1/2 mile

 

Forest Road 449 to Forest Road 127

Army Corp of Engineers Campground near Tionesta Creek

 

Forest Road 127 to Forest road 145 at Amsler Springs

Dispersed sites near the scenic Little Salmon Creek valley

Adirondack shelter is available at Amsler Springs as well as ample space for tents and parking.

 

Forest Road 145 at Amsler Springs to Forest Boundary

Kittanning State Forest and Cook Forest State Park


River and Stream Fishing

The trail crosses Willow Creek, Nelse Run, North Brank of Sugar Run, Chappel Fork, Kinzua Creek, Two Mile Run, Queen Creek, Salmon Creek and Tionesta Creek.

Day Hiking

Trailhead Trailhead Miles
NY Border SR 321 at Nelse Run 11.3
SR 321 at Nelse Run SR 59 6
SR 59 SR 321 at Chappel Fork 7.1
SR 321 at Chappel Fork Red Bridge Recreation Area 5.4
Red Bridge Recreation Area US 6 6
US 6 Tionesta Scenic Area 6.5
Tionesta Scenic Area SR 666 at Henry's Mills 9
SR 666 at Henry's Mills Minister Road 10.4
Minister Road Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding 5.5
Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding Forest Road 449 6.8
Forest Road 449 Forest Road 127 7.9
Forest Road 127 Forest Road 145 at Amsler Springs 11.2
Forest Road 145 at Amsler Springs Forest Boundary 3.2
  Total Miles 96.3

 

Fire Information Campfires are permitted if maintained in a fire ring, and completely extinguished.

Backpacking

NY State Border to SR 321 at Nelse Run

After passing through a beautiful hardwood forest, you reach SR 346; just west is Willow Bay Recreation Area.

SR 321 at Nelse Run to SR 59

Some say this is the most scenic part of the trail. Watch for maidenhair fern. Spectacular scenery down the run.

SR 59 to SR 321 at Chappel Fork

The dense mountain laurel near SR 59 is spectacular in mid-June.

SR 321 at Chappel Fork to Red Bridge Recreation Area

The wildlife opening near Root Run features grassy fields, shrubs and apple trees for wildlife cover and food.

Red Bridge Recreation Area to US 6

South of Gibbs Hill Road a vista offer hikers a sweeping view of the South Branch Kinzua Creek valley. The trail passes though many tranquil conifer plantations. Throughout this area, there are many traces of historic roads.

US 6 to Tionesta Scenic Area

Just north of FR 133, the trail passes through an interesting rock formation. The trail parallels East Branch of Tionesta Creek with many good views of the stream and surrounding woodlands. The East Branch of Tionesta Creek offers excellent trout fishing opportunities.

Tionesta Scenic Area to SR 666 at Henry's Mills

The NCT follows a portion of the Tionesta Scenic Area Interpretive Trail (gray diamonds). Near the juncture with the Twin Lakes Trail there is an interesting rock formation.

SR 666 at Henry's Mills to Minister Road

This section of trail parallels Messenger Run towards its headwaters, then crosses over into Pell Run. Many miles of this section follow abandoned railroad grades.

Minister Road to Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding

Shortly after the Minister Road, the NCT intersects with the Minister Trail. The NCT follows the Minister Trail for a just over half a mile before it breaks away and follows the west branch Minister Creek. Near the headwaters of the creek, the trail begins its ascent to Forest Road 419. As the NCT nears Dunham Siding, it follows an old railroad grade used to transport timber around the turn of the last century.

Forest Road 116 at Dunham Siding to Forest Road 449

Near Dunham Siding, the trail intersects the Tanbark Trail, a trail that connects to the Hearts Content Campground and Scenic Area and ends at the Allegheny River. The NCT drops into the scenic headwaters of Beaver Run next, and then follows a small tributary to the east. This section of the trail ends with a short, but steeper climb up to Forest Road 449.

Forest Road 449 to Forest Road 127

This section of trail generally follows the headwaters of East Fork Run down into Fork Run. This trail crosses Fork Run several times. The trail leaves Fork Run just north of the village of Kellettville, climbing up a short hill to State Route 666. The trail follows several open public roads through Kellettville. The trail leaves the road near FR 145.

Forest Road 127 to Forest road 145 at Amsler Springs

Just north of FR 127 trail passes through the tornado swath of 1985.  A rock city sits in the middle of the 1985 tornado swath among some trees that escaped destruction. The trail parallels Fourmile Run, a wilderness trout stream, for several miles. North of Guiton Run, the trail has several good views of the Salmon Creek valley.

Forest Road 145 at Amsler Springs to Forest Boundary

The Coon Creek valley offers a scenic bridge crossing and beaver activity. For another 16.2 miles the trail continues, ending at the Gravel Lick Bridge over the Clarion River.

Fire Information Campfires are permitted if maintained in a fire ring, and completely extinguished.

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

This trail is not groomed and can be used for back country cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Warming Shelters No
Base Conditions Not a groomed trail

Amenities

Tent camping: dispersed, campgrounds
Parking: multiple locations
Drinking water: Potable: Willow Bay, Tracy Ridge, Handsome Lake, Hopewell Campground, Red Bridge, Kiasutha, Hearts Content

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
96.3 miles

  Latitude : 
41.9225

  Longitude : 
-78.930833