Summertime Adventures in the Allegheny National Forest

 In Entertainment, Family, Health and Fitness, Recreation

By Linda Devlin

Summertime brings warm days full of fun outdoor activities followed by nights spent stargazing around a campfire in the Allegheny National Forest. The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is over 513,000 acres of beautiful, lush, green forest, bisected by hiking and biking trails, and the mighty Allegheny Reservoir which offers water recreation for those seeking fishing, swimming, boating, or kayaking. The ANF, the only National Forest in Pennsylvania, is located nearby in northwestern Pennsylvania.

The Allegheny Reservoir is the second largest lake in Pennsylvania. The reservoir has 91 miles of shoreline, and it reaches across the Pennsylvania/New York state line. In Pennsylvania, the reservoir is surrounded by tree lined shores of the ANF; in New York, the Allegany State Park and the Allegany Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation surround the waters.

For the angler bass, muskie, walleye, crappie, catfish and panfish are plentiful. For those interested in swimming, Kinzua Beach, located along Route 59, offers free parking and an accessible area for swimming. Swimming areas are also available at the reservoir campgrounds located along the shoreline of the reservoir.

The Kinzua Wolf Run Marina is located along the Allegheny Reservoir. For a fun day on the water consider renting one of their canoes, kayaks, or pontoon boats. Spend your day enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful scenery.

After a day in the sun, plan to dine at Docksiders Café & Restaurant to enjoy the beauty of the sunset reflecting on the waters of the reservoir from their outside deck. Docksiders is located along PA Route 59, 250 Marina Lane, Clarendon. For information or dining reservations phone 814-726-1650.

If camping or staying in a wooden cabin with a porch swing is what you are seeking, the ANF offers fourteen campgrounds and multiple cabin rentals. A morning or evening stroll often offers the opportunity to view wildlife. The four picturesque campgrounds located along the shoreline of the reservoir are Willow Bay, Red Bridge, Dewdrop and Kiasutha.

Willow Bay is the largest developed recreation area on the forest; the beautiful blue waters of the bay are surrounded by a hardwood forest of leafy green trees. Willow Bay offers 101 family campsites, 38 with electrical hookups, a picnic area and a pavilion, a large, concrete paved parking lot with room for boat trailers, a courtesy boat dock, and rustic cabin rentals.

Each of the campsites contain a picnic table, fire ring or grill, with accommodations for two vehicles, a wheeled camping unit and a tent. Some of the cabins are along the shoreline of the reservoir, others are alongside Willow Creek, a bubbly mountain stream.

Firewood and ice are available for sale at the campground for your convenience. Do not bring firewood into the forest, dead and down wood may be used as firewood. Willow Bay also offers kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes for rent.

Other campgrounds, which are non-reservoir, include Tracy Ridge, Minister Creek, Buckaloons, Hearts Content, Twin Lakes, and Loleta. In addition, for those seeking a more primitive experience, Handsome Lake, Hooks Brooks, Hopewell, Pine Grove, and Morrison are available.

All campground, campsite, and cabin rentals are overseen by Allegheny Site Management for the US Forest Service. Campsite fees start at $20; cabin rental fees vary by the size and location of the cabin.

To view a detailed description, photos, and downloadable maps, go to www.alleghenysitemanagement. Reservations, which are highly recommended, can be made at www.recreation.gov.

The Longhouse National Scenic byway links many of the campsite locations around the Allegheny Reservoir. This federally designated byway is approximately 27 miles long and it circles the reservoir. Highlights along the byway include Rimrock, Kinzua Point, and Jakes Rocks. The developed overlooks offer stunning vistas of gigantic rock formations, woods, and water. For a downloadable scenic driving tour go to www.visitanf.com/scenic-drives-2.

The northeastern section of the ANF is know as Trail Central. Along with the developed trails in the ANF, which are many, towns like Bradford have created trails which link to the developed recreation on the ANF. Bullis Hollow, a remote backpacking trail, links Marilla Reservoir to Tracy Ridge Campground in the ANF. Indian Pipe Trail connects to the Allegany State Park in New York.

Marilla Bridges Trail is a favorite for those seeking a shorter, easier trail with scenic beauty. Marilla Bridges Trai is a one-mile loop trail which circles the Marilla Reservoir. Hike across the Erik Benjamin Covered Bridge which spans the spillway of the reservoir, enjoy a picnic lunch at the gazebo, and finish the trail crossing over two wooden raised walkways.

Marilla Bridges Trail is located along PA Route 346, five miles west of Bradford. Fishing and non-motorized boating are also allowed at the Marilla Reservoir.

Isn’t it time for you to escape to a nearby location which will seem a world away? For help with planning go to www.visitANF.com and download the Adventure Guide & Maps or call 800-473-9370 to request a free print copy.

 

Summertime Adventures in the Allegheny National Forest

 

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