Hiking the North Country Trail through Pennsylvania is to experience the natural, industrial, and cultural past and future of this beautiful section of the North Country.

Hikers in the Allegheny National Forest, photo by Mike Henderson

Hikers in the Allegheny National Forest, photo by Mike Henderson

Throughout the state sections of the trail traverse PA State Game Lands, demonstrating the state’s hunting heritage and its dedication to preserving natural habitat, as well as the cooperative efforts of people with diverse interests in the outdoors to provide a positive recreational experience for all.

Explore by Section:

Important Pennsylvania Notes:  A reminder that all trail users must follow Pennsylvania Game Commission regulations when hiking segments of the NCT on state game lands, including the prohibition of overnight camping.  Each Pennsylvania State Park that the North Country Trail travels through (McConnell’s Mill SP, Moraine SP, Cook’s Forest, and Clear Creek SP, as well as Jennings Nature Preserve) has its own set of rules in regards overnight camping and hikers should research their options at when planning their trip.

PA Hike 50 Challenge: The Hike PA 50 is back for 2020 and better than ever! The Pennsylvania Trail Council of the NCTA is hosting a “PA Hike 50” challenge with a commemorative patch for those who hike 50 miles on the North Country Trail in the state during the calendar year. The PA Chapters will be holding guided hikes that can help people complete the challenge. Note that there is not a unique-miles requirement this year, nor do participants need to hike in the different NCTA Chapter’s ranges to qualify for this award, so out-and-backs and multiple hikes on the same mile of trail will qualify for the award! Visit the pages for the Allegheny National Forest ChapterClarion County ChapterButler County Chapter and Wampum Chapter for maps, information about the Trail and the Chapters, and planned hikes. Please use #PAHike50 to share your adventures on social media. When finished, fill out the PA Hike 50 Completion Form.

Allegheny National Forest

Hikers in Allegheny National Forest

Allegheny National Forest, photo by Mike Henderson

From the NY/PA border to the southern boundary of the Allegheny National Forest

Mileage: 97 miles (93 off-road/4 on-road)

Rating: Difficult

Need to Know: There’s plenty of water on the ANF. The only dry stretches are a few miles across some ridgelines. Be sure to treat all water. There are over 30 marked campsites along the trail. Forest service campgrounds, with services, are also available nearby. Finally, dispersed camping is legal throughout the ANF. Cell service is limited. Texting is often available, but there are few places to call. There is very limited resupply along the NCT in the ANF.

The Trail: From the NY/PA border to about 3.5 miles south of Muzette Rd, (2.5 miles north of PA Rt 66) north of Cook Forest, through the Allegheny National Forest. Around 97% of this section is National Park Service certified and passes through the Allegheny National Forest. Features wildlife, plentiful camping, perfect for a day hike or a multi-day adventure. You’ll find several scenic overlooks.

Notable Locations:

  • Allegheny Reservoir
  • Tracy Ridge
  • Minister Creek
  • Hearts Content (available by short connector trail) and Tionesta Scenic areas
  • Heavily forested western edge of the Allegheny plateau. 

Get Involved! Trail Maintaining Chapter: Allegheny National Forest Chapter of the North Country Trail Association

Maps of this area:

Northwestern Pennsylvania

From the southern boundary of the Allegheny National Forest to the PA/OH border.

Mileage: 175 miles (138 off-road/37 on-road)

Rating: Moderate

Need to Know: Camping and resupply options are limited along some stretches of the North Country Trail in this part of PA so please consult the Wampum, Butler County, and Clarion County Chapters for specifics.

The Trail: You’ll follow the Trail’s route into the cool, hemlock covered woods of Cooks Forest and Clear Creek State Forest’s Maple Creek Tract where the NCT shares the footpath with the Baker Trail.  Tracing the route of the Clarion River, hikers first arrive at the Trail Town of Parker, then cross the Allegheny River and hike through the PA State Game Lands. Through Northwestern Pennsylvania, the NCT features majestic old growth forests, the Wild & Scenic Clarion River, the spectacular jumble of geology and the prehistoric feel of the Slippery Rock Gorge, multiple opportunities for wildlife viewing, and a taste of historic and rural Pennsylvania as you visit the Trail Towns of Wampum and Darlington.

Notable Locations:

  • Cooks Forest
  • Parker
  • Clarion River
  • Clear Creek State Forest’s Maple Creek Tract
  • Cook Forest State Park
  • Jennings Environmental Education Center/Moraine/McConnell’s Mill State Park
  • Slippery Rock Gorge
  • Hell’s Hollow
  • Davis Hollow Cabin (available for rent).
  • Watt’s Mill.

Trail Towns: Wampum, Darlington, Parker

Get Involved! Trail Maintaining Chapters: Clarion County Chapter, Butler County Chapter, and Wampum Chapter of the North Country Trail Association.

Maps of this area:


Pennsylvania Calendar

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