Allegheny National Forest Ranked Number Two in Top U.S. Camping Destinations
(Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service – Allegheny National Forest)
The Allegheny National Forest (ANF), which actually stretches across parts of Forest, Elk, McKean, and Warren counties, was ranked second in the nation by the popular camping site Hipcamp.com.
Hipcamp.com pulled internal data to showcase the top 10 areas that are most popular for camping across the U.S. over the past year. The ANF was topped only by Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
An old-growth forest with everything from lakes and stream to hiking trails and scenic byways, the Allegheny National Forest is a treasure of our local region, as well as Pennsylvania’s only National Forest. Both the Allegheny River and the Clarion River flow through the forest, in addition to the Allegheny Reservoir, a 27-mile-long lake offering over 90 miles of mainly undeveloped shoreline.
Established in 1923, the forest is approximately 517,000 acres of land that offers hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, biking, ATV riding trails, nature viewing, photo opportunities, fishing, hunting, boating, swimming, tubing, geocaching, camping, and much more.
Highlights of the ANF include the Longhouse National Scenic Byway, Rimrock and Jakes Rock Overlooks, Kinzua Beach, and over 600 miles of multi-use motorized and non-motorized trails.
The ANF also offers a variety of opportunities to learn more about nature and science at the Kane Experimental Forest, where ongoing studies include everything from individual tree and understory vegetation measurements to long-term measurements of unmanaged forest.
The Tionesta Research Natural Area, adjacent to the Tionesta Scenic Area, is one of the few remaining examples of the virgin hemlock-beech climax forest of the Allegheny Plateau, including multiple species that are uncommon at the latitude. As a Research Natural Area, this area is designated as permanently protected, to be maintained in its natural condition, by the Forest Service.
Another feature that places the ANF one step above many other camping locations is its proximity to another popular destination, Cook Forest State Park.
With 8,500 acres of primarily old-growth forest and 13 miles of the Clarion River, Pennsylvania’s 2019 River of the Year, running through it, Cook Forest is another highly rated camping destination in our region. Situated across parts of Clarion, Forest, and Jefferson Counties, it is best known for some of the finest virgin white pine and hemlock timber stands in the nation.
Hiking, boating, and camping are the most popular activities in Cook Forest, though it offers ample opportunity for other outdoor fun, as well. Cook Forest also contains the Forest Cathedral, which is a National Natural Landmark.
Listed below is Hipcamp.com‘s full top ten choices that showcase a range of camping options from all across the nation:
1. Cape Cod, MA
2. Allegheny National Forest, PA
3. St. Louis, MO
4. Minneapolis, MN
5. Ozark National Forest, AR
6. Chattanooga, TN
7. Finger Lakes, Buffalo, Rochester, NY
8. Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, VA, TN
9. Grand Junction, CO
10. Columbus, OH
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