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Encompassing over 500,000 acres of dense forest, Allegheny National Forest dominates much of Pennsylvania’s northwestern landscapes. While Interstate Route 80 and 79 run along the southern and western boundaries of the forest, respectively, the fantastic hiking trails, motorhome camping spots, and hidden waterways can all be easily accessed thanks to the developed network of asphalt roads that wind their way through the trees.
Those traveling through Pennsylvania will find the town of DuBois to be the last town of any substantial size before you enter the wilderness. Close to the borders of New York and Ohio, you can also reach Allegheny National Forest in less than three hours when you arrive from Cleveland, OH, and less than two hours when you come from Buffalo, NY. Wherever you are traveling from, you’ll find heaps of outdoor activities waiting for you in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
You’ll find plenty of outdoor recreation right on your doorstep, no matter which season you decide to go camping in Allegheny National Forest. Boasting over 1,600 miles of trails that cater to a wide range of ability levels, hiking is one of the main draws for visitors to the area. Try the Rimrock Hiking Trail, a short and easy path that leads walkers past fascinating rock formations and to panoramic views of the Allegheny Reservoir. Serious hikers should come ready and prepared to tackle the longest trail in the park - the North Country Trail. Whether you decide to complete a small portion of it or all 96 miles over a series of days, you won’t be short of native flora and fauna to discover.
Home to 11,000 acres of water, water sports are also a popular pastime for those RV camping in Allegheny National Forest. Motorized and non-motorized boating, recreational fishing, and wild swimming are all possible here. If you’re bought your own kayak or canoe along with you, head to the Allegheny River that flows through the park from Warren and ends up 100 miles south in Pittsburgh. Should jet skiing, wakeboarding, or kite surfing be more your style, make a beeline for the Kinzua Reservoir, where deep open waters await you.
Arrange your Allegheny National Forest camping trip during the winter months to enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. When the snow falls, most of the hiking trails are open to those seeking out their next adventure. Due to the vast size of the forest and some of the trails' remote locations, many are ungroomed and should be tackled by experienced sportsmen and women only. Don’t leave your fishing tackle behind just because of it being winter. All of the rivers and reservoirs freeze over during December and January, perfect for a sport of tranquil ice-fishing.
When you do choose to book an RV in Allegheny National Forest, you’ll find plenty of primitive spots to park up in. These include Minister Creek Campground, Red Bridge Rec Area, Chapman State Park, and plenty of others. You’ll find facilities here to be basic, with some offering electricity hookups and basic washrooms, and others with nothing but a vault toilet and the sounds of the birds in the trees.
Anyone after a well-equipped campground should head to the eastern side of Allegheny National Forest, where you’ll find High Pines RV Park. Sites range from primitive spots tucked away into the trees to full hook up sites that can accommodate an RV rental over 45 feet long. Those without a self-contained unit can make use of the modern washrooms scattered around the campground. Additional perks include the use of the on-site swimming pool, basic general store, children’s playground, basketball courts, and a mini-golf course.
Apart from outdoor recreation, Allegheny National Forest is home to a handful of cultural attractions worth checking out. The Zippo/Case Museum is one of the most visited museums, not only in the park but in the whole of northern Pennsylvania. Step inside this unique museum and flagship store to discover the fascinating history of two of America’s iconic products. Learn all about how the Zippo contributed to America’s victories in World War II and how it established itself in America’s music scene over the years.
Take a drive to the town of Smethport, home to the Old Jail Museum. Only opened in 2003 to the public, this historic building was, in fact, used as a jail until 1990. Nowadays, it is home to a large collection of historical artifacts that recount the jail’s history as well as the town’s oil and lumber industries, its railroad past, and a quick account of the forest’s native flora and fauna. Voted as the state’s sixth most haunted attraction, you can even arrange to spend the night to spot any resident ghosts!
When you have an RV rental near Allegheny National Forest, you’ll also be able to visit the unique Serenity Glass Park. Once a commonly practiced trade, this museum park celebrates the region’s past as a glass block manufacturing hotspot. Wander down quaint alleyways decorated with stained glass, sit on hand-carved benches, and admire trees made from glass and wire.