Welcome to the
Pennsylvania Great Outdoors!
Our Great Outdoors region is a big, beautiful part of Pennsylvania and the perfect destination for family fun and outdoor adventure. It’s home to the rolling Appalachian Mountains and more than a million acres of forestland including the Allegheny National Forest, Cook Forest and many state parks. Two mighty rivers cut across the landscape, plus there are fish-filled lakes, scenic overlooks, and wildlife galore including bald eagles and the largest wild, free-roaming elk herd in the Northeast.
In the Great Outdoors you’ll find lots of great things to do, places to stay, eat and explore. But wherever you go and whatever you do – the vibe here is always relaxed and vacationing is very affordable.
Three state parks are located in the county which all offer outstanding scenery, miles of trails and waterways, endless outdoor recreation possibilities along with numerous wildlife species including Pennsylvania’s elk herd and bald eagle. Cameron County is known as the geocaching capital of the world with more caches than people per square mile!
Clarion is a lively “University Town” located in the middle of the county along the banks of Piney Reservoir on the Clarion River. It’s easily reached by car via Interstate 80 (exit 62) from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York City, Buffalo, and Erie. There are forest-covered mountains in every direction, which makes it a very scenic place in all four seasons.
Elk County is a unique area of Pennsylvania known for the large wild elk herd and wide variety of outdoor recreation. Home to over 200 miles of trails and two state parks, the county serves as the southern gateway to the half-million acre Allegheny National Forest. Ridgway, the county seat, is registered as the Lily of the Valley National Historic District, known for Victorian lumber baron mansions throughout the neighborhoods off of the historic Main Street. In the city of St. Marys you will find a rich German Catholic heritage, beautiful churches and the oldest Benedictine covenant in the United States.
Far from the beaten path, in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest, lies a picturesque land with more wildlife than humans, without traffic lights and offering all the amenities you need but without the hurry and worry. Float on the Wild & Scenic Allegheny and Clarion rivers, go wildlife watching at Buzzard Swamp, explore hundreds of miles of ATV and snowmobile trails in the Allegheny National Forest, see the giant trees at Cook Forest, fish the many pristine streams and boat at Tionesta Lake. Add a visit to the History Center, a tour of the lighthouse, art galleries, golf, a rodeo, and festivals for a vacation you won’t forget.
Visit the “weather capital of the world” to meet world-famous weather forecaster, Punxsutawney Phil. Explore the house-sized boulders of Beartown Rocks and the plentiful wooded scenery of Cook Forest State Park and Clear Creek State Forest. Step back in time with Brookville’s annual Victorian Christmas celebration, complete with carolers and carriage rides. Show your all-American pride during Brockway’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July. Small town charm is our specialty! Unique shops and restaurants invite you to visit the historical Main Streets, meet some friendly faces and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Once called the “Black Forest”, Cook Forest is ranked one of the top state parks in the nation and a National Natural Landmark. Famous for its stands of old growth forest, the “Forest Cathedral” is a collection of towering white pines and hemlocks. The Longfellow Pine is recognized as the tallest tree in the northeastern United States and only a small part of this scenic and tranquil destination!