Allegheny National Forest Chapter
The mission of the Allegheny National Forest Chapter is to maintain and promote the North Country Trail in the Allegheny National Forest.
The North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) passes through approximately 95 miles of the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) as it travels across the Allegheny Plateau. Its northern terminus is the PA/NY border and its southern terminus is the ANF border, 3 miles north of Rt 66. This section of trail has much to offer; scenic views of the Allegheny reservoir, beautiful hemlock valleys, rock cities, fascinating evidence of past and present logging and oil industries and many opportunities to view wildlife, including bear, deer, coyote, fishers, bobcats, songbirds, grouse and eagles. Varied habitats and terrain, along with frequent camping sites make the North Country Trail (NCT) through the ANF a great destination for a day hike or a week long backpack.
There are many special places along the ANF section of the NCT. In Tracy Ridge, the trail runs on the eastern side of the Allegheny reservoir allowing for many scenic views and much solitude. The trail passes through the Tionesta Scenic Area where remnants can be found of an old growth forest that was mostly destroyed by a tornado in 1985. The trail now highlights the rebirth of this forest. Rock cities dot the terrain on many of the ridgelines. The most scenic of these are found in the popular Minister Creek valley.
About Our Chapter – Members & Activities
Throughout the year there are many opportunities to hike the NCT or get involved in activities with other ANF Chapter members. You can enjoy the trail with friends and family or join a guided hike. With almost 100 miles of the NCT in the ANF, there are always new places to explore.
Each member can bring their own skills and interests in helping to maintain trail or promote trail events. Trail work days are held once or twice a month on the weekend. On those days members enjoy time together accomplishing bigger projects. Members can volunteer to maintain a section of trail or get involved with planning and promoting the trail and chapter events. The chapter sponsors the Allegheny-100 in June. This event challenges hikers to traverse 25, 50, 75, or 100 miles in 50 hours. Other chapter events include monthly hikes, the North Country National Scenic Trail Day celebration in September and a National Trails Day event in June. For those interested in geocaching, there are 107 caches placed along the NCT through the ANF, approximately 1 per mile. A pathtag is awarded for bagging 50 of the caches.
Solitude – 23.3 miles – Rt 346 at Willow Bay (N 41° 59.075’ W 078° 54.145’) to Rt 321 at Chapel Bay (N 41° 48.684’ W 078° 52.295’) – This section follows the eastern side of the Allegheny Reservoir allowing for many scenic views and varied terrain. The hiker passes through rock cities and lovely hemlock lined creek valleys. The Tracy Ridge area is a large roadless tract allowing for solitude and tranquility. This area also offers the opportunity to hike a loop by connecting to the Tracy Ridge National Forest trails. Great camping is found along the shore of the lake at Tracy Run, Johnnycake Run, Handsome Lake campground or Chappel Bay’s Hemlock Run. Beautiful camping spots are also located along Hammond Run and Hemlock Run.
Rebirth – 22.6 miles – Rt 321 at Red Bridge (N 41° 45.972’ W 078° 52.657’) to Rt 666 at Henrys Mills (N41°38.158’ W 079° 02.569’) – This section begins with a climb to a meadow holding sweeping view of the Kinzua Arm of the reservoir. It continues across Gibbs Hill to the Gibbs Spring shelter about 1 mile north of Rt 6. After crossing Rt 6, the trail passes through beautiful forest and interesting rock formations to the Tionesta Scenic Area. The remnants of this old growth forest were mostly destroyed by a tornado in 1985 and the trail highlights the rebirth of the forest. The trail continues through Cherry Run with a large rock city near its headwaters and great camping at its junction with the East Branch of the Tionesta Creek. The last segment of trail shows fascinating evidence of past and present oil and gas industries, including the foundation of a rod house just before the stunning switchback leading down into Henrys Mills.
Valleys – 15.7 miles – Rt 666 at Henrys Mills (N 41°38.158’ W 079° 02.569’) to Forest Road 116 (N41°40.274’ W 079° 13.584’) – The trail switchbacks up to an old rail road grade that was used in the early 1900s to transport timber to sawmills. An old rail car can be seen abandoned alongside the trail. Evidence of early equipment used for oil pumping is also visible here. Rolling hills take you through the scenic Upper Sheriff, Lower Sheriff, Fool’s Creek and Minister Creek valleys. A shelter is located on the Upper Sheriff and great camping is also found at the Lower Sheriff and Minister Creek valleys. Minister Creek valley, a proposed wilderness area, is a popular hiking destination with many beautiful rock cities.
Stidge – 14.0 miles – Forest Road 116 (N 41°40.274’ W 079° 13.584’) to Rt 666 Tionesta Bridge (N 41° 32.697’ W 79° 15.323’) – This section contains the least elevation change along the NCT in the ANF, but is among the most beautiful. It follows scenic hemlock lined creek valleys, passes over a tributary of Coalbed Run on the famous “stidge” (staircase bridge) and has a gushing spring, located on a 0.1 mile connector trail. The Queen Creek shelter is located 1.5 miles south of FR 116. Other camping is located along Coalbed Run, Beaver Run and East Fork. There is an Army Corps of Engineers Campground at the Tionesta Creek Bridge.
Beaver – 18.4 miles – Rt 666 Tionesta Bridge (N 41° 32.697’ W 79° 15.323’) to Rt 66 (N 41° 25.153’ W 79° 12.635’) – This section starts by following FR 127 for about a mile to another camping area along the Branch Creek. It then goes through a young forest regrowing since the 1985 tornado. Here it passes through a beautiful rock city. Next the trail parallels Four Mile Run before climbing over the ridge into Guiton Run. Several spots offer views of Salmon Creek valley. The picturesque Little Salmon Creek valley shows evidence of past beaver activity and nice camping by the bridge. Other camping is located in the Four Mile valley and at the Amsler Spring shelter. After the shelter, the trail crosses up and into the scenic Coon Creek valley and passes through State Game Lands #24 before arriving at the Rt 66 trailhead.
ANF Chapter Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/ANFChapterNCT/
NCT PA Meetup Group – https://www.meetup.com/North-Country-Trail-Hikers-of-PA/
Please visit our Facebook page or meet up group to find out more about the Allegheny National Forest section of the NCT, upcoming events and how you can get involved. Questions? Post on the facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Shuttle Services – Allegheny Outfitters Outdoor Store is located in Warren, PA. They offer shuttle services. Contact: (814) 723-3030, www.alleghenyoutfitters.com.
U. S. Forest Service – www.fs.usda.gov/main/allegheny/home. The Allegheny National Forest is administered by the U. S. Forest Service under the Dept. of Agriculture. They have information about the ANF, including all types of recreation. Several Forest Service campgrounds are located close to the NCT and reservations can be made online. There are also three Forest Service offices where there are maps available for sale, along with free information and advice. These are located at:
- Off of Rt 6 north of Warren, PA – 4 Farm Colony Drive, Warren, PA 16365, Phone: 1-814-728-6100
- At intersection of Rt 59 & Rt 321S – 29 Forest Service Drive, Bradford, PA 16701, Phone: 1-814-363-6000
- Off of Rt 66 north of Marienville, PA – 131 Smokey Lane, Marienville, PA 16239, Phone: 1-814-927-5700
Chapman’s Dam State Park – www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/chapman/index.htm Camping, along with cabin and yurt rentals are available at this gem of a state park through hunting season in December.
Geocaching – The coordinates and information about the 107 geocaches along the NCT in the ANF can be found at www.geocaching.com.
Nearby Towns – The following communities are located within 10 miles of the NCT. Services (grocery store, post office, restaurants) are available in each. Information for each town is available at www.visitpa.com/cities. Websites with tourist information specific to each community are listed below.
- Warren Warren County Visitors Bureau – www.wcvb.net
- Warren County Chamber of Business & Industry – http://wccbi.org
- Bradford Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau – http://visitanf.com/
- Kane Kane Area Development Center – www.kanepa.com
- Tionesta www.forestcounty.com
- Marienville www.forestcounty.com
Restaurants within 2 miles of the trail:
- Corydon Hotel, Bradford, PA – (814)-362-1919 – about 1.5 miles east of where the NCT crosses Rt 346 near Willow Bay
- Bob’s Trading Post, Kane, PA – (814) 945-6223 – south of Red Bridge, at the intersection of Bliss Hill Road and Rt 321
- Cougar Bob’s Kellettville Tavern, Tionesta, PA – (814)-463-7351 – about 0.25 miles east of the NCT on Rt 666