Don’t Waste Your Time in Allegheny National Forest

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Aerial view of the Kinzua Skywalk in Alleghany National Forest Pennsylvania

Allegheny National Forest is a beautiful piece of nature in Pennsylvania. It encompasses all that a nature lover could want, including lakes, rivers, trees, rocks, and wildlife.

Allegheny is not a place to waste your time but a destination to savor and enjoy. We’ve put together a guide so you can make the most of your trip. Keep ready to learn tips for your visit. 

Where Is Allegheny National Forest? 

Allegheny National Forest is in northwestern Pennsylvania. It also happens to be the state’s only National Forest. The forest spreads over plateaus of up to 2,300 feet in elevation and is approximately 517,000 acres. You’ll find various ecosystems and wildlife in Allegheny.

Landscape view looking across the water of Willow Bay in Alleghany National Forest, Pennsylvania
Willow Bay | Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau

How to Wisely Plan Your Time in Allegheny National Forest

Since you don’t want to waste your time in Allegheny National Forest, we’re going to help you plan wisely. Here are four tips for making the most out of your visit.

Know When to Visit

The best time of year to visit Allegheny National Forest is May through September. The temperatures are warm to hot, and the forest is full of life. Late spring and early fall will have fewer crowds, but the summer months are the time to go if you like a lot of energy. 

You can also visit the National Forest during the winter. Activities such as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are popular. It’s a fun place to experience all four seasons

Choose Your Mode of Travel 

When planning your time in Allegheny National Forest, choosing your mode of travel before going will help you maximize your time. If you’re RVing, determine which campgrounds you’ll stay at and how to get around once you’re there.

For example, you can drive through Alleghany, but if you have a big rig, you may want to plan your exploration days with your tow vehicle and leave the RV at a campground.

Perhaps you’ll be tent camping, backpacking, horseback riding, or biking. In these cases, do your research to know where you can go and where the park allows tents. Allegheny also has motorized trails for ATVs and OHVs. You’ll need a permit to utilize the trails.

Wooded campsite in Alleghany National Forest, Pennsylvania where a family of four sits around the fire with a picnic table and camper in the background
Wooded Campsite | Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau

Check Out the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau 

The Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau offers a wealth of information for all kinds of recreations, trails, places to stay, and more. It’s a valuable resource for planning your time. They have a comprehensive section on trails. It provides all you need to know about ATV, biking, cross-country skiing, equestrian sports, and hiking trails. They also have routes and maps for scenic drives through the forest.

Prioritize Your To-Do List 

The main way to not waste your time in Allegheny National Forest is to prioritize your to-do list. You may have 10 things on your list, but make sure to put the three must-haves at the top. Then prioritize the others down from there. That way, you’ll at least get to your three must-sees. If you don’t get to the rest this year, you’ll just have to come back!

Pro Tip: Don’t limit your adventure to just Alleghany National Forest; check out these top 10 things to see in Pennsylvania

Best Things to Do in Allegheny National Forest 

To help you make your to-do list, we’re sharing our six favorite things to do in Allegheny National Forest. They’re in no particular order, but spoiler alert: we would go back to each one. 

Take the Kinzua Skywalk

This fly over of the Kinzua Skywalk offers a unique view of the bridge’s construction, but nothing compares to seeing it in person.

Extending 624 feet, the Kinzua Skywalk sits 225 feet above the Kinzua Gorge. It rests on six steel towers from what was once the Kinzua railroad viaduct. It provides incredible 360-degree panoramic views of the forest. For those without a fear of heights, you’ll find a section with a glass floor at the end.

In addition, there’s a visitor’s center that offers a history of the railroad, which used to be the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the world. Admission is free. It’s open from dawn to dusk.

Drive the Longhouse National Scenic Byway

A great way to take in Allegheny National Forest is by driving the Longhouse National Scenic Byway. It’s a 36-mile loop from Kane, Pa. Take Route 321 North from Kane and go about eight miles to the Longhouse Drive intersection, where the byway begins. On the drive, you’ll see the Allegheny Reservoir, which sits along the Allegheny River. The water and foliage throughout the forest are gorgeous year-round.

A sports car driver down a curvy paved road during fall in Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania
Scenic Drive in Autumn | Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau

Visit the Interactive Eldred World War II Museum 

The Eldred World War II Museum in Eldred, Pa., is an educational stop in the National Forest. It has many interactive components, such as mock battles. There are also large model displays of ships and more. And you’ll find various artifacts from the war. 

There’s a World War II museum in Eldred because there used to be a munitions plant in the town during the war. At the peak of its production, 1,500 people worked at the facility, 95% were women, and the plant was about 1,800 acres. Munitions assembled there were British three-inch trench mortars, bomb fuses, and more.

The World War II Museum building is painted on the outside to look like a red historical building in Eldred, Pennsylvania
Eldred World War II Museum | Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau

Stop by the Bradford Brew Station

What would a trip to Allegheny National Forest be without some good eats? The Bradford Brew Station is the perfect stop. It’s the first legal brewery to open in Bradford, Pa., since 1945. They’re a craft brewery with 14 different brews on tap. And they have a great food menu that includes burgers, salads, wraps, and desserts.

Four friend cheers their beer glasses while sitting at a wooden table

Tour the Zippo/Case Museum

The Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford is fun to visit, especially when entering through a 40-foot Zippo lighter with a neon flame. You can take a self-guided tour through the history of the American-made Zippo lighters and Case knives. People come from around the world to see the museum. There’s also a repair shop and flagship store inside. 

The outside of the Zippo/Case Museum features a classic car decked out with two large zippo lighters opening from the roof.
The Zippo/Case Museum | Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau

Bike at Jakes Rocks

Mountain bikers flock to Jakes Rocks to enjoy the outdoors. It has loop trails that take you through the forest with breathtaking views, climbs, and rocks. In addition, you’ll get to overlook Jackson Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir and Kinzua Dam. There are a total of 47 miles of trails. Six of the trails are easy, 13 are intermediate, and two are difficult.

Three mountain bikers traverse down a wooded trail.

Pro Tip: Make traveling with your bike easier with these top RV bike racks.

Enjoy Your Well-Planned Trip to Allegheny National Forest! 

Ready to maximize your time in Allegheny National Forest? We hope you get there soon and enjoy any one of the activities we mentioned. You can spend any amount of time here, but we recommend at least a weekend. Ideally, a week is a good time frame to take in all the National Forest offers. What would be your first stop?

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