Allegheny National Forest Chapter

North Country Trail in the Allegheny National Forest

photo left by Tina Toole, photo right by Mike Toole

About the Chapter:

Group hike in the ANF Chapter area. Photo by Tina Toole.

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 & 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.

Connect:

Please contact us to find out about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities:

Maps & Guides:

  • Find the Allegheny National Forest Chapter’s section of trail on our paper retail maps PA01 and PA02.
  • Visit this section of the Trail on our online map here.
  • Campsites Listing in the ANF (pdf): campsites that the ANF Chapter of the NCTA has marked and that they maintain, plus a few nearby campgrounds.
  • Geocaching Guide (pdf): One hundred individual caches are hidden approximately a mile apart on the ANF chapter’s 100 mile section of the North Country Trail.

Events:

Click an event to see more details.

Trail Overview:

photo by Shelby Gangloff

The North Country Trail (NCT) passes through approximately 97 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 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 allowing for many scenic views and much solitude. The trail passes through the Tionesta Scenic Area where remnants of old growth forest that were 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.

A-100 finishers. Photo by Jesse Lucks

Area Links:

Find shuttle services, geocaching, area visitors information, restaurants and more:

Suggested Hikes:

Show Suggested Hikes

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.