Recreation

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The Allegheny National Forest includes several special areas such as:

Two Wilderness Areas

Two National Scenic Areas

Two National Wild & Scenic Rivers

And -

 

The Allegheny offers a wide variety of recreation activities including: boating, camping, hunting, fishing, ATV riding and snowmobiling that result in about 4 million recreation visitor days annually. The 12,000-acre Allegheny Reservoir provides boating, camping and fishing opportunities.

Abundant fish and wildlife provide a variety of hunting, fishing, and viewing opportunities. The changing colors of the hardwood leaves each fall provide spectacular views from the many overlooks around the forest.

Fees are required for camping and boat launching.

 

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Allegheny Reservoir Open to Visitor
Beaver Meadows Hiking Trail & Day Use Area Open to Visitor This site is open year-round. The trail is not groomed in winter. The Beaver Meadows Campground is closed and dispersed camping is NOT allowed behind the gate (or in the day-use area). Beaver Meadows Day Use Area (boat ramp, restrooms and trails) will remain open.
Brush Hollow Cross Country Ski and Hiking Trail Closed to Visitor The recent storms have caused extensive damage on the Marienville Ranger District’s Brush Hollow Hiking Trail. Because of this damage, the trail will be temporarily closed so the area can be assessed and cleared. Anyone wishing to hike in the area, can use nearby trails such as Laurel Mill and Little Drummer. For more information, please contact the Marienville Ranger District at 814-927-6628. This trail is not groomed.
Buckaloons Recreation Area Open to Visitor Campground, day use and picnic pavilion: Open May 1 to October 21, 2018 Boat Launch: Open May 1 to October 15, 2018
Buzzard Swamp Wildlife Viewing and Hiking Area Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed.
Dewdrop Recreation Area Closed to Visitor This site is open from May 24 to September 3, 2018. No winter maintenance.
Farnsworth Cabin Open to Visitor This site is open from April 1 to October 31, 2018.
Hearts Content Orienteering Trail Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed.
Hearts Content Recreation Area Open to Visitor This campground is open April 27 to October 21, 2017; the picnic pavilion is open year round.
Hickory Creek Wilderness Open to Visitor Wilderness trails are not groomed.
Hooks Brook Boat Access Campground Open to Visitor This site is open from May 1 to October 31, 2018. No winter maintenance.
Hopewell Boat Access Campground Open to Visitor This site is open from May 1 to October 31, 2018. No winter maintenance.
Jakes Rock Overlook and Mountain Bike Trail Open to Visitor This site is open year-round. No winter maintenance.
Kelly Pines Campground Open to Visitor This site is open from April 1 to December 16, 2018.
Kiasutha Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Campground and swim/picnic area open from May 24 to September 9, 2018. Boat launch open from May 25 to September 5, 2018. Beach and picnic pavilion open from May 19 to October 10, 2018
Kinzua Beach Closed to Visitor This site is open from May 19 to October 10, 2017.
Laurel Mill Cross-Country Ski and Hiking Trail Open to Visitor This trail is groomed.
Little Drummer Historical Pathway Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed.
Loleta Recreation Area Open to Visitor
  • Campground: open April 14 to October 31
  • Day Use Area and picnic pavilions: open April 1 to October 21
  • Group Campsites: open April 14 to October 31
  • Swim and picnic area: open May 24 to September 3
Minister Creek Campground Open to Visitor This site is open April 1 to December 16, 2018 This site is now a carry-in; carry-out facility, which means that visitors must carry out their trash and recycling. Campers may burn paper products, but must carry out foil, glass, cans, plastics or food waste.
Morrison Boat Access Campground Closed to Visitor This site is open from May 1 to October 31, 2018. The pressurized water system is no longer functional - potable water is not available. 
North Country National Scenic Trail Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed.
Penoke, Marienville and Timberline ATV/OHM Trails Closed to Visitor At the Timberline Main ATV Trailhead camping has been restricted to designated sites only due to sanitation problems and vegetation destruction. Please camp only in those areas posted for overnight camping. Your cooperation with these guidelines will help the US Forest Service ensure that this trailhead is an attractive place to visit on the Allegheny National Forest . Thank you for your cooperation.
Pine Grove Boat Access Campground Closed to Visitor This site is open from May 1 to October 31, 2018.
Red Bridge Recreation Area Open to Visitor
  • Campground - open from April 1 to December 16
  • Bank Fishing - open from April 1 to October 15
  • Cabins - open from April 1 to October 31
Rimrock Hiking Trail and Overlook Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed. Open from April 27 to October 10, 2018
Roper Hollow Boat Launch Open to Visitor
Tidioute Overlook Open to Visitor This site is open from April 27 to October 10, 2018.
Timberline Trail: Buehler Trailhead Closed to Visitor At the Timberline ATV Trailhead camping has been restricted to designated sites only due to sanitation problems and vegetation destruction. Please camp only in those areas posted for overnight camping. Your cooperation with these guidelines will help the US Forest Service ensure that this trailhead is an attractive place to visit on the Allegheny National Forest . Thank you for your cooperation.
Timberline Trail: Main ATV Trailhead Closed to Visitor At the Timberline ATV Trailhead camping has been restricted to designated sites only due to sanitation problems and vegetation destruction. Please camp only in those areas posted for overnight camping. Your cooperation with these guidelines will help the US Forest Service ensure that this trailhead is an attractive place to visit on the Allegheny National Forest . Thank you for your cooperation. ATV open seasons:
  • Summer: The Friday before Memorial Day until the last weekend in September.
  • Winter: Typically December 20 until April 1. This is dependent on conditions on the ground.
Timberline Trail: Pigs Ear Trailhead Closed to Visitor At the Timberline ATV Trailhead camping has been restricted to designated sites only due to sanitation problems and vegetation destruction. Please camp only in those areas posted for overnight camping. Your cooperation with these guidelines will help the US Forest Service ensure that this trailhead is an attractive place to visit on the Allegheny National Forest . Thank you for your cooperation.ATV open seasons:
  • Summer: The Friday before Memorial Day until the last weekend in September.
  • Winter: Typically December 20 until April 1. This is dependent on conditions on the ground.
Tracy Ridge Hiking Trail Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed.
Tracy Ridge Recreation Area Open to Visitor This site is open from April 1 to December 16, 2018.
Twin Lakes Hiking Trail Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed in winter.
Twin Lakes Recreation Area and Black Cherry Trail Closed to Visitor There is no camping for 2018. The bathhouse pavilion, swim area and picnic area are open from May 25 to September 5, 2018.
Webbs Ferry Boat Launch Open to Visitor This site is open year-round
Westline Cross-Country Ski/Hiking Trail Open to Visitor This trail is not groomed.
Willow Bay Recreation Area Open to Visitor This site is open year-round.

Spotlights

Hickory Creek Wilderness

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

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.