With a wide variety of terrain types, you’ll be able to explore the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and then climb down into scenic valleys at Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. There are hundreds of miles of trails in the 500,000-acre forest, many of which are multi-use. Mountain bikers are welcome, and they’ll find a range of trail types, from steep hill climbs to narrow, twisty forest trails. If you visit during the winter, you’ll be able to cross-country ski or snowmobile through much of the forest. You can also explore the forest by kayak or canoe on one of the many streams that lead to the Allegheny Reservoir.
Allegheny National Forest also has a number of excellent fishing and hunting opportunities. Anglers will find a variety of brook trout streams, and there is also trophy fishing in the Allegheny Reservoir, where you’ll be able to catch walleye, pike, and musky. Hunting is allowed in most of the forest, with a range of big game species including deer, bear, and elk.
There are a dozen RV campgrounds located throughout the forest, giving campers plenty of options depending on the type of site they need. You’ll find primitive sites that only have a fire ring, as well as developed campgrounds that have full hookups for your rig. Read on to find out details on three of those featured campgrounds.
Located in northwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny National Forest can be reached from a number of major cities in the region, including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. There are a number of large roads that run directly through the forest, so getting to the major RV campsites should not be much of an issue.
If you are driving from Pittsburgh, take I-79 north out of the city and you’ll get to the edge of the forest in around two hours. From Cleveland, take I-80 east from the city to reach the forest in around two hours and 45 minutes.
Most of the main campgrounds are located along the Allegheny Reservoir in the northern part of the forest. They should be fairly easy to reach, even with large rigs, as the roads are usually wide.
There are over a dozen RV campgrounds located throughout Allegheny National Forest, featuring a range of different facility types and amenities.
This campground is located along the Allegheny Reservoir, with 53 RV sites spread out on the shore. Many of the sites have views of the water. All of the sites have a fire pit and a picnic table. Other amenities include flush toilets, hot showers, drinking water access points, and a dump station. Sites can be booked up to six months in advance and must be reserved three days before your visit. Reservations are accepted from May to September.
This campground is one of the most popular in the forest, with sites that are near the Red Bridge Bank Fishing Area. You’ll have easy access to the reservoir, and will be just a quick walk from the North Country National Scenic Trail. There are sites with electrical, water, and sewer hookups, and all sites have a fire pit and a picnic table. You’ll also be able to access flush toilets, hot showers, drinking water, and a dump station.
This campground is great for RV campers interested in stream and river fishing. Millstone Creek is nearby, with a large population of trout. You’ll also be close to Clarion River, which has great fishing and kayaking.
There are two main loops in the campground with a total of 38 campgrounds. The upper loop is best for small RVs, and has more primitive sites. The lower loop has sites with electric hookups, and can fit RVs up to 50 feet long. Reservations are open from May to October.
Hiking is the most popular activity in Allegheny National Forest, with hundreds of miles of trails taking you through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The trails vary widely in difficulty, giving hikers of all experience levels a route that's right for them. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the Tracy Ridge Trail, a 33-mile long hike that takes you through oak and hemlock groves and across eight streams. Hiking is popular throughout the year, although the forest is a spectacular sight in the fall, when it’s draped in orange and auburn colors.
Anglers will find plenty to keep them busy in Allegheny National Forest. There are dozens of trout streams in the forest, many of which are populated during the colder months of the year. Allegheny Reservoir has over 12,000 acres of water, with prize fishing species including musky, walleye and pike. Other species found in the reservoir include small and largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, and yellow perch. There are a number of RV campgrounds located directly on the reservoir, giving you quick access to the water.
RV campers will also have plenty of boating opportunities in Allegheny National Forest. With 91 miles of shoreline, Allegheny Reservoir is perfect for long kayak and canoe rides along the shore, most of which is undeveloped. You can also water and jet ski on the reservoir.
There are a number of RV campgrounds situated on the reservoir, with paved roads and large boat ramps. Dewdrop and Kiasutha are two of the most popular campgrounds for boating, with modern facilities and easy access to the water.
Don't forget to pack your binoculars and camera in your trailer or camper. Allegheny National Forest is packed with a wide range of bird and mammal species, making it a perfect destination for wildlife viewing. There are over 300 species of mammals found in the forest, including beaver, mink, gray and red fox, black bear, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey. You’ll be able to see different species depending on the time of year you visit, and you can catch many species of birds as they migrate in the spring and fall.
With hundreds of species found throughout the area, Allegheny National Forest is one of the best destinations in the region for birdwatching. You’ll be able to spot large numbers of ruffed grouse, Pennsylvania’s state bird, as well as wild turkey. Other commonly sighted species include osprey, bald eagle, and mourning warbler. You'll want to bring your best binoculars in your rig to catch sight of these beautiful creatures.
Many of the forest’s hiking trails are open to cross-country skiing during the winter, giving campervan vacationers hundreds of miles of routes to explore. The oak and hemlock forests are beautiful when covered in snow, and the varied terrain features a number of elevation changes that makes for challenging skiing. Some trails are groomed, although many are not. There are trails that are more approachable for beginners, but many of the longer routes are designed for experienced skiers.