Elk County

Elk County is home base for the largest elk herd in Northeastern United States. Numbering 900+, these amazing creatures roam free in the Benezette area where you’ll find the Elk Country Visitor Center. Recently opened, the state of the art facility offers lots of fun for kids and adults alike. With interactive exhibits inside and trails and viewing areas on the grounds, the ECVC is the place to be during September and October, prime elk viewing season.

If you’re looking for an adventure, Elk County is the southern gateway to the half million acres of the Allegheny National Forest with 300 species of wildlife and 171 miles of trails. Lumber barons built their mansions in Ridgway, where the chips fly at the Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous in February. Visit St. Marys, home of one of the oldest breweries in the nation, Straub Beer. In the Johnsonburg/Wilcox area, sample fine Pennsylvania wines at an award-winning winery. Boat and fish East Branch Lake and take a family canoe outing on the nationally designated Wild & Scenic Clarion River.



  • Allegheny National Forest

    Hundreds of miles of trails designated for hiking, biking, equestrian, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and ATVing. Family-fun outdoor recreation including swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, picnicking and camping.

    Along with the rich variety of outdoor recreation, several camping opportunities are available including 600 campsites,...
  • ANF Snowmobile Trails

    The ANF has over 300 miles of groomed and non-groomed snowmobile trails in interconnected loops. Trails can be accessed from many locations throughout the Forest. Maps are available online, at the Marienville Ranger Station, and at the Forest County Visitor Center.
  • Bavarian Hills Golf Course

    Public 18-hole championship course. Driving range, pro shop, putting green, club rentals, snack bar & lounge. This course winds over hills and through narrow fairways. Water comes into play throughout the course, and there are a few elevated tees in the layout. Tee time reservations required.
  • Bendigo State Park

    The East Branch of the Clarion River runs through the park and is regularly stocked with trout for excellent fishing. Charcoal grills, horseshoe pits, water and restroom facilities are interspersed throughout. A swimming pool is open daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. In winter, sledding and tobogganing slopes are popular.

  • Bennett Branch Forest

    1,465 acres managed by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in Jay Township Elk County open to the public for hiking and hunting.

  • Big Elk Lick Horse Camp

    Bring your own horses to camp and ride the trails through the wilderness in the heart of the elk herd with access to Thunder Mountain Equestrian Trail. Unfortunately, they do not have rental horses and do not rent horseback rides.
  • Brush Hollow Ski Trail

    Scenic trail along Big Mill Creek. Three loops of ungroomed trails totaling 7.6 miles. The trailhead offers parking and restroom. Finding the trail: The Brush Hollow trailhead is located ten miles north of Ridgway on State Route 948.
  • Clarion Little Toby Rail Trail

    Rail-trail stretches for 18 miles from Brockway to Ridgway. Experienced hikers, mountain bikers and cross country skiers will appreciate the length and variety of the trail, while novices will love the easy grade! The entire trail is surfaced with crushed limestone. Trailheads are located in Brockway at Taylor Park, 7th Avenue and in Ridgway at...
  • Clarion River - Ridgway

    Wild & Scenic Class 1 kayaking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, and spectacular scenery. Trophy brown trout and smallmouth bass fishing. See Clarion Water trail Upper Section map.
  • Clarion River Trail

    A float down the Clarion River, 100 miles from Confluence of East and West Branch Clarion rivers to Parker Bridge, offers a unique visual experience with the river's diverse and mature vegetation, steep slopes, sinuous channel and varying water conditions. Meandering through a mostly undeveloped valley, the Clarion River Water Trail provides...
  • Country Squirrel Outfitters

    Sales, rentals & guide service-canoes, kayaks, bicycles, repair shop, hiking, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, XC skis, snowshoes, snowboards, running, geocaching, hunting, fishing and apparel.

    Received the PA Wilds' 2014 Business of the Year Award.
  • Dr. Colson E. Blakeslee Memorial Recreation Area

    24 acre natural area in Medix Run along Bennett Branch. Open to public for hiking, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing.
  • East Branch Lake & Dam

    1,160 acre lake surrounded by Elk State Park, unlimited horsepower boating.
    Fishing for muskellunge, walleye, bass & trout. Campground and Overlook Day Use area closed until further notice due to construction activities on the dam.
  • Elk Country Visitor Center

    Premiere elk viewing and conservation education facility with 4D theater, interactive exhibits, live forest cams, horse-drawn wagon rides, gift shop and much more.

    The Elk Country Visitor Center is a premier elk watching and conservation education facility. The center is operated by the Keystone Elk Country Alliance whose mission is “To...
  • Gilbert Farm Elk Viewing Area

    The town of Benezette is renowned statewide for its healthy, ecologically sustainable elk population. This viewing area is one of the most reliable elk viewing sites. From here, a panoramic western vista overlooks open fields, small patches of forest, and former underground and surface mining operations. You're also likely to see a number of...
  • Hicks Run Outfitters

    Experienced professional guides offer personal and group guided photo tours of PA watchable wildlife. 15 passenger vans available. Offering personal one on one guided hunts.
  • Horse Drawn Wagon Rides

    See elk country in a unique way! Experience elk country by horse drawn wagon and sleigh rides from the Elk Country Visitor Center. Open weekends. Weather permitting. Call ahead to reserve your seat.
  • Irwin Run Canoe Launch

    The Irwin Run Canoe Launch offers handicapped accessible fishing areas, parking areas and restroom facilities, as well as a boat launch ramp and picnic areas.
  • Laurel Mill Cross Country Skiing

    This 9.1 mile groomed trail system located in the Allegheny National Forest Parking, warming hut and restroom. Trails are well marked and range from easy to difficult. The Elk Loop, Cook-Eli Connector Trail, Half Mile Loop, and Big Oak Trail are suitable for beginning skiers. The Scout Loop, Hemlock Loop and Sparrow Nest Loop are better suited...
  • Laurel Run Reservoir

    You can spend a peaceful day enjoying shore fishing on the Laurel Run reservoir.
  • Memorial Park

    Swimming pool, water slide, creative play land, baseball, basketball, tennis, volleyball and T-ball.
  • Mill Creek Trail

    Over 5 miles of open trail - no motorized vehicles allowed. Connects to Brush Hollow X-Country Ski/Hike Trails and also to the Twin Lakes Trail at Route 138. The trailhead is located east of Russell City, off Route 948 at FR143.
  • Porcupine Run Viewing Area

    Porcupine Run Viewing Area provides an additional location to see elk. It provides off-road parking, but no other facilities. It is located near the intersection of Winslow Hill Road and Dewey Road. Entry is restricted as not to disturb the elk. Much of State Game Lands 311 is open to foot travel only.
  • Quehanna Wild Area

    Nearly 50,000 acres, the Quehanna Wild Area covers parts of Cameron, Clearfield and Elk counties. This protected wildlife area has been named an Important Bird Area by the Pennsylvania Audubon Society and home to several species of birds and other animals including elk, deer coyotes.

    Hiking and biking are popular activities on the Quehanna...
  • Spring Creek Horse Trail

    There's a new horse trail in town! The Allegheny National Forest has a new 40-mile equestrian trail inviting you to come explore horseback!

    The Allegheny National Forest has something new to share with equine enthusiasts! Starting at the Kelly Pines Campground off PA Route 66 in Marienville, the new Spring Creek Trail traverses almost 40 miles...
  • Table Run Falls

    One of Pennsylvania’s most photographic waterfalls. 1.5 miles off Quehanna Highway on Red Run Road. Parking located at 41.27055,-78.247065
  • Thunder Mountain Equestrian Trail

    26-mile trail that loops through the 200,000-acre Elk State Forest located near the town of Benezette, PA. The Thunder Mountain Trail is easy to follow with clear markings. Trailhead is off of Hicks Run Road (near Route 555). Camping is permitted along the trail system. Camping permits can be obtained by calling (814) 486-3353. Maps can be...
  • Timberline ATV Trail

    This 38 mile trail is open to Class I and II ATVs, trailbikes, snowmobiles, horses and mountain bikes. This trail is rated as EASIEST and is best suited to ATVs. During the winter season, this trail provides snowmobile access from the south and southeast to the Allegheny Snowmobile Loop system. Because of concurrent use of ATVs and snowmobiles,...
  • TomBob Outdoors

    For those looking for exhilarating and inspirational adventures, TomBob Outdoors ‘Friends in Wild Places Adventure Series’ is not lacking. Grasp your seats in anticipation as our cast travels the crossroads of North America, bringing traditional values into present day high-energy adventures. We invite you to share in a lifestyle of adventure as...
  • Twin Lakes Recreation Area

    Features 50 family campsites with picnic table, fire ring and tent pad. Some electric sites. Modern toilets and shower houses, dump station, and playgrounds. Two group-tenting areas are also available in addition to suitable sites for people with disabilities. Swimming beach, bathhouse.
    Camping reservations call (877) 444-6777
  • Twin Lakes Trail

    This 15.8 mile long trail begins at the long loop of the Black Cherry National Recreation Interpretive Trail located at Twin Lakes Recreation Area and travels west to join with the North Country National Scenic Trail.

    Finding the trail: The trailhead parking lot is located at the Twin Lakes Recreation Area off of SR 321, south of Kane, PA or...
  • Umbrella Rocks

    Impressive geological formation formed by the effects of wind and water over millions of years. Accessible by a hiking trail on State Gamelands 44 near Ridgway.
  • Winslow Hill Elk Viewing Area

    The most popular elk-viewing site in Pennsylvania, Winslow Hill provides two viewing areas with off-road parking. Listen for the famous bugling of the male elk during August-October, as the elk are in rut during this time of the year. Many trails and dirt roads are available for exploration. Wildlife includes white-tailed deer, black bear and fox....

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