Elk Viewing

Pennsylvania is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd in Northeastern United States.  Visit Elk Country for the exciting opportunity to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

Seeing an elk for the first time is an extraordinary experience and something you will never forget!

LIVE Elk Cam - Watch now!

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, we can all witness Pennsylvania's wild elk herd in their natural habitat online.  Live feed will be available in September and during the peak rut season!

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Elk Country Visitor Center

A premiere elk viewing and conservation education facility with a 4D theater, interactive exhibits, discovery room, live forest cams, horse-drawn wagon and sleigh rides, gift shop and much more.  

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What's it like to be an elk?

The majestic elk is a sight you'll never forget!  Nicole Meyer, Conservation Education Specialist with the Elk Country Visitor Center tells an informative story of "What's it like to be an elk?".

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Elk Viewing

Elk viewing is a very popular past-time in the Great Outdoors Region, especially in the fall!  Visitors can easily see the majestic elk in areas of Elk and Cameron counties.  Considered to be the heart of Pennsylvania's Elk Country, the town of Benezette is located along State Route 555 in Elk County, where you will find Winslow Hill and two popular viewing areas.  The Moore Hill area in Cameron County is also a favored viewing spot!

  • Cruise the Elk Scenic Drive!  A 127-mile route through the region, with distinctive signage.  Twenty-three viewing sites along the Elk Scenic Drive have been established to provide safe and easy visitation.  The sites provide parking alternatives to viewing elk and other wildlife along the area's highway.  Each site has been chosen because of its outstanding wildlife viewing potential and scenic beauty.
  • Elk Viewing Guide  The quintessential guide to viewing elk in Pennsylvania's "Elk Country."  This guide includes history of the elk herd, tips for viewing elk, maps and more.
  • Covered Wagon Rides!  A horse-drawn wagon ride is a fun and exciting opportunity to view the elk herd! The trail winds around the grounds of the Elk Country Visitor Center and provides a unique view and experience you will never forget!  (Call ahead - Space fills up fast!)
  • Elk Burgers!  Experiencing a delicious elk burger is an attraction in itself!  Many restaurants in the Benezette area offer this unique delicacy!  Visit Benezette HotelMedix Hotel, and Summit Fireside Lodge & Grille for a great homestyle meal and cold beverage!  Stop by the Elk County Elk Farm just south of Ridgway for homemade elk jerky and snack sticks or a variety of elk steaks and more.

Pennsylvania Elk Herd - Habitat & History

Elk once freely roamed all over Pennsylvania but the rapid settlement and exploitation by early immigrants threatened the herds. By 1867 there were no more elk in Pennsylvania. Unregulated hunting and habitat loss were the biggest factors of their demise.

In 1913 the Pennsylvania Game Commission began reintroducing elk in Pennsylvania. The elk herd we know today originated from 177 elk that were trapped and transferred to northern areas of Pennsylvania.

The reintroduction of elk took place from 1913 through 1926. The releases in north-central Pennsylvania were successful and the herd now numbers more than 800.

Visitors can easily see the majestic elk in areas of Elk and Cameron counties.  Considered to be the heart of Pennsylvania elk country, the town of Benezette is located along State Route 555 in Elk County.  To reach the public viewing area, start at the Benezette Hotel and travel north along Winslow Hill road 3.5 miles.  Follow the signs to the viewing area.  Elk can also be seen along the roadways in the free-roaming herd range located in Elk and Cameron counties.  The Moore Hill area in Cameron County is a favored viewing spot of local elk enthusiasts.

Download Elk Viewing Guide
Download Elk Scenic Drive Map
Download Map of Elk County

** To request printed copies the above brochures or additional information call (814) 849-5197 or e-mail info@visitpago.com

Cow elk normally give birth to a single calf in late May or early June. The calves are speckled with spots to complete their natural camouflage. Twins are a rare occurrence and happen less than one percent of the time. Normal gestation period is approximately 8 ½ months. After a short amount of time the cows and their new calves rejoin their family units comprised of cows, their calves and immature yearlings. Most yearling bulls will only grow spike antlers.

The mature bull's antlers are fully grown by August and they now spend much of their time thrashing trees and shrubs with their antlers. Normal antler growth is up to 6 tines per side. A "royal" bull is one with a total of 12 points. An "imperial" bull has 14 points. September and October mark the mating season for the elk. While the beginning of the rut may vary somewhat from year to year, the unmistakable invitation or bugle of a bull elk can be heard echoing throughout the range. Bugling can be heard primarily during the rut or mating season. It starts as a low bellow and continues as a squealing or whistle. This is followed by several grunts.

The elk form harems of 15 to 20 cows, which are controlled by a mature bull.  The bull has earned his status to lead his harem by fighting off lesser bulls for the opportunity to breed with these cows.  Lesser bulls often mate also, the large bull will contain the group and be the prime breeder.  These harems remain together for the duration of the breeding season.  Cow elk are receptive to breeding for only about an 18-hour period.  If they are not bred successfully, they will have two or three breeding cycles at 21-day intervals.

The elk remain in large groups throughout the winter months.  They must dig through the snow to find grass, twigs and buds.  They will eat the bark off trees and drink from the streams to sustain for the winter.  The bulls shed their antlers in the late winter to early spring.

Pennsylvania's elk range covers approximately 835 square miles in parts of Elk, Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton and Potter counties.

Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park

The Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning was appropriately named after the numerous opportunities to watch wildlife within the park including bear, eagles, otters, deer, and elk.  The eco-friendly building features interactive exhibits, PA Wilds Artisan gift shop, and a variety of discussions and programs throughout the year.

Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park

More Information About Pennsylvania's Wild Elk Herd

More information on elk viewing.

Looking for lodging in Elk County?  Check out these cabins, campgrounds, hotels, and B&Bs!

Official website for the PA Great Outdoors Elk Expo

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