Best Hikes in Allegheny National Forest (PA)


Allegheny National Forest Overview

The Allegheny National Forest is located in northwestern Pennsylvania, 100 miles north of Pittsburgh. The Forest lies within the Allegheny Highlands ecoregion and about 90% of its area is covered in forests. The Forest contains some of the most extensive tracts of remaining old-growth forest in Pennsylvania, totaling thousands of acres. Some of the best hikes in Allegheny National Forest are described in detail below.

StatePennsylvania
Nearest Metro AreaPittsburgh, PA
Area Size514,029 acres
EstablishedSeptember 24, 1923
Hiking Trails200 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Allegheny National Forest

(*** = Best hikes in Allegheny National Forest)

Hickory Creek Wilderness Trail – 12.0 mile loop
Hickory Run Wilderness
Hickory Run Wilderness, Photo by Chris M Morris

The rolling 12-mile loop provides for easy day hikes as well as overnight backpacking opportunities along flat to moderately steep terrain. There is only one trailhead located at the Hickory Creek parking area along State Route 2002 . The trail is marked with infrequent faded yellow or white blazes painted on trees along the sides of the trail . It is maintained to more primitive standards than other trails in order to preserve wilderness character.

Minister Creek Trail*** – 6.6 mile loop
Minister Creek, Photo by Alexvallejo

This trail begins at the Minister Creek Campground and forms a loop through the Minister Creek Undeveloped Area north of SR 666. The trail is marked with gray diamonds. Watch the informational signs…this trail offers challenges to a wide range of skill levels as it climbs to the plateau within the Minister Creek Undeveloped Area. The Minister Creek Trail joins the North Country National Scenic Trail (marked with blue diamonds) along the most northerly segment. The North Country National Scenic Trail then continues and the Minister Creek Trail turns south back towards the campground.

Rimrock Trail*** – 2.6 miles out and back
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Rimrock Scenic Overlook, Photo by Forest Service, Eastern Region

This 1.3 mile trail offers a scenic hike from Kinzua Beach to Rimrock Overlook. From the overlook visitors and hikers will be treated to outstanding views of the Allegheny Reservoir and surrounding hillsides. Visitors to the overlook can explore the area’s giant sandstone boulders, crevasses and rock outcrops. A set of stone steps, with handrail, allow visitors to climb “up” the boulders to the overlooks. The majority of the trail is level with a gradual elevation change. As you climb up from Kinzua Beach, the trail becomes steeper. The trail passes through an area heavily forested with oak. The mast from the oak trees provides food for many wildlife, including bear, deer, grouse and turkey. Rimrock Overlook offers scenic views of Kinzua Bay, which extends southwest from the main body of the Allegheny Reservoir. Steps from the parking area to the overlook take visitors down a 200′ elevation drop.

Tracy Ridge Trail – 33.7 miles trail system
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Fall foliage along the road at Tracy Ridge Campground, Photo by Forest Service, Eastern Region

This trail offers many opportunities ranging from a one hour hike to several day hike. Trail elevation ranges from 2245′ on the flat ridge-top at Tracy Ridge Recreation area to 1328′ elevation at water level on the Allegheny Reservoir

Featured Image: Minister Creek – Allegheny National Forest, Photo by Alexvallejo

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