The Allegheny National Forest, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, covers 512,998 acres. Today the Allegheny Plateau is known for black cherry, maple and other hardwoods, but two hundred years ago these species were less numerous. Today's forest is largely the result 86 years of Forest Service management. Here, there are no multi-lane highways. Instead, there are woods, hills, winding rivers and clear lakes.
The Allegheny National Forest is rich in wildlife, which includes 312 species that live within the Allegheny National Forest region. Five federally endangered species are known to occur within the Forest or nearby, including the Bald Eagle, Northern Riffeshell (mussel), Clubshell (mussel), Indiana bat and small-whorled orchid. River otters were re-introduced to Tionesta Creek beginning in 1991. Fishers were re-introduced to the Forest beginning in 1997.
From its source, the Allegheny River flows north into New York, turns south and is dammed to form the Allegheny Reservoir, which New York and Pennsylvania share. Pennsylvania’s 12,000 acres contain marinas for boating, beaches for swimming and 170 miles of hiking trails with some maintained trails in the winter for cross-country skiing. It also has 5 rustic cabins with no indoor plumbing, and 17 campgrounds.
Mountain biking has increased in popularity. Snowmobile trails and roads open to motorized travel and gated roads are available for use by mountain bikers. ATV trails are best suited for expert or extreme riding since less experienced riders may find them too rough for riding.
Twin Lakes Recreation Area offers a Swimming beach and 1/2 mile lake path. You will also find boating on the Allegheny National Forest a great recreation experience. There is a broad, concrete boat launch with a courtesy dock and a spacious parking lot. There is also a variety of fishing opportunities, from small native brook trout streams to trophy fishing for musky, pike and walleye in the Allegheny Reservoir.
Kinzua Beach has a spacious picnic area, and plenty of room to set up volleyball and other games. A bath house with shower facilities is available.
The large, well-shaded picnic area, with restrooms and a pavilion, sits on a slope overlooking the Allegheny Reservoir. An early morning or late evening walk often provides exciting opportunities to view a variety of wildlife.
SR 66 and SR 666 are scenic drives through the Allegheny National Forest. SR 666 is a primitive road, but it leads through some of the most beautiful country in the forest to Heart’s Content Recreation Area. The hemlock trees in this primeval wilderness are 400 years old. Beyond Heart’s Content, the road continues east to Sheffield where the ranger station provides information about the area. At Kinzera Bridge State Park, north of Mt. Jewett, the 2,053 ft. long bridge once carried the Erie Railroad 301 ft. above Kinzua Creek. In its heyday, it was the world’s highest railroad bridge. Now, it affords wonderful views of the valley.
At Bradford, the Penn-Brad Historical Oil Museum commemorates the discovery of oil here in 1875. The southern gateways to the National Forest are Tionesta and Marienville. The approach to Marienville passes close to Clear Creek State Park. In late June and July white rhododendron flower in spectacular profusion. From Marienville, the Kinzua Railroad runs excursions to Kane and across the bridge. Near Tionesta, at the Tionesta Scenic Area is one of the largest tracts of primeval hardwood forests in the eastern USA. The Allegheny Mountain Championship Rodeo is held in July at the Flying W Ranch.
For more information visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/allegheny/