The North Country National Scenic Trail leaves Alleghany State Park in New York and crosses the state line into the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. The trail winds along the scenic shoreline of the Allegheny Reservoir and through Heart’s Content and Tionesta scenic areas. The forest is dominated by tall, straight Cherry trees. Keep your packs off the ground if camping; this is bear country. For 100 miles the NCNST travels through the Allegheny NF before entering into the hemlock canopy of Cooks Forest State Park area leading the hiker to the Clarion River. From the banks of the Clarion River the Trail continues out of state lands and into private lands of the Toby Creek watershed.
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Through PA State Game lands the Trail comes to a point where the hikers can choose their own adventure; the North Country Trail follows the scenic Clarion River corridor southwest, while the Allegheny Valley Rail Trail heads northwest for 40 miles before the two reconnect on the eastern bank of the great Allegheny River opposite the famously small city of Parker, PA.
From Parker, through hills and wetlands of State Game lands 95, the NCNST comes to the Old Stone House on SR 8, a popular starting point for the annual Cherry Pie Hike, which celebrates the George Washington’s expedition to the area. The trail continues west through the Jennings Environmental Education Center, and Moraine State Park where hikers can get a view of Lake Arthur, as well as a good night’s rest at the historic Davis Hollow Cabin, which is operated as a hostel by the park and North Country Trail volunteers.
Leaving Moraine the NCNST guides hikers on to McConnell’s Mill State Park. take a breather and grab a history lesson with a tour of the old gristmill built in the 1800s. From Alpha Pass to Hell’s Run within the park the trail leads hikers through the natural Impressionist exhibit of Slippery Rock Gorge — a steep-walled ravine with a boulder-pocked bottom left behind by the draining of ancient glacial lakes.
The NCNST passes through corporate and private lands with evidence of the areas lime kiln industry into the Borough of Wampum, PA located on the banks of Beaver River. Again, through private land partnerships and state game lands the trail makes its way to historic Darlington, PA and the North Fork of the Little Beaver Creek with an Adirondack shelter as the last chance for camping before crossing over into Ohio.