Explore designated ATV trails in the Allegheny National Forest. Enjoy special access to unique scenic trails: venture out on the twice yearly Tour-de-Forest, organized by the Marienville Volunteer Fire Department. Or skip local transportation issues and stay at the Forest Lodge & Campground where the ATV trailhead is a stone's throw from the campground. Motorized dirt bikes need to check current status of specific ATV/OHM trails, as they open and close under changing conditions.
A number of municipal ballfields are scattered throughout the county. Good places to start are in Marienville (MACA center) and Tionesta (Tionesta Sports & Recreation). Both communities have lovely fields in nice settings.
Bicycle (also see Mountain Bike)
Pedal rural roads at your own risk - no bike lanes here! There are miles of bike paths planned as part of the Marienville Four Seasons Trail and Recreational Hub, including the Rails-to-Trails conversion of the Knox-Kane Railway. A safe and fun way to bicycle is at national forest Recreation Areas, or at Cook Forest which welcomes cyclists on its 13-miles of bike paths, and on back streets of our larger towns, Marienville and Tionesta. Stop and greet the folks you encounter!
Peak viewing for migratory songbirds is mid-April to the end of May, but any time of year you can see Bald Eagles, Ruffed Grouse, woodpeckers and many others of the 200 species of the ANF region. Some hunt game birds while others prefer to hunt with camera, and are duly rewarded with lasting images of our beautiful winged friends. Seneca Rocks is a nearby Audubon chapter.
Love to relax in, on, or near the water? Forest County has two navigable Wild and Scenic Rivers - the mighty Allegheny and the meandering Clarion River. Locally, Tionesta Lake is a favorite for enthusiasts who can rent, buy or sell boats at the summer marina. To the north is the expansive Allegheny Reservoir. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has the most up-to-date information about everything related to boating and boat safety, including the Basic Boating Course Fact Sheet.
Whether you prefer tent camping at primitive sites, or prefer the convenience of drive-in car camping, or want to bring your RV, you can find a place to do it in Forest County. See our PLACES TO STAY page for more details about campgrounds. Disbursed camping is allowed almost anywhere in the Allegheny National Forest. Another unique camping experience can be had floating along the river and primitive camping in the Allegheny River Island Wilderness, a series of islands in the Wild and Scenic Allegheny River.
Cross Country Ski
The Allegheny National Forest has miles of designated ski trails for XC ski fans of all levels. Bring your own gear. Pack a paper map and a compass.
City folks don't know what they are missing. Find a clearing and look up on a cloudless night to see the myriad stars of the Milky Way, and countless constellations. Star gazing doesn't have to involve a telescope. Just look up. Simply beautiful.
Check the Fishing Season Overview from PA Fish & Boat Commission, including their gallery of maps, to see where the best natural trout streams are, where there is stocking taking place, and where you can fish for the many species of cool and warmwater fish of your dreams. Our Class A trout streams are among the most ruggedly beautiful you'll find in the region, plus there are nearly a dozen additional stocked trout streams spread throughout the county. And don't overlook Tionesta Lake, which is stocked with many great eatin' species! PA Fish and Boat has the lowdown on our waterways. Remember that you must get landowners' permission access creeks running through private property. You can also view and print this handy map of fishing spots in Forest County.
Ah, the nostalgia of catching fireflies in Mason jars on a warm summer night... Did you know that fireflies live in the same area all year, and that the young fireflies (larvae) eat slugs and snails? And that Forest County boasts over 15 species of firefly? Enjoy local music and celebrate fireflies at Forest County's PA Firefly Festival, and learn even more about these fascinating beetles. The wondrous synchronous fireflies peak for a few brief weeks in June, but visit anytime/anywhere in Forest County during firefly season (June-August) to experience our unforgettable dark skies and fireflies.
Explore your way to new adventures by GPS. Participate in the Allegheny GeoTrail program or seek out your own geo-resources. If geocaching in the Allegheny National Forest, read up on the ANF geocaching tips and policies.
Our local favorite: Hunter's Station Golf Club is open to the public and has amenities any golfer can appreciate - beautiful views, gorgeous setting and a great restaurant. Call 800-227-9067 to reserve a combo package including lodging. There's nothing like it in the area!
Hiking trails throughout Forest County offer options for all - from the novice hiker, to the family with young children, to the experienced hiker. For those just passing through who might like to stretch their legs on a short loop, we recommend Lighthouse Island in Tionesta, a spin around the nature loop at the Tionesta Lake Visitor Center (US Army Corps of Engineers), the Marienville Ranger Station paths with interesting plantings, or the Tidioute Overlook. State Parks in the region, notably Cook Forest, have hiking for all skill levels. Many of the Recreational Areas in the ANF have short, looping trails. For more of a challenge, try the Songbird Trail at Buzzard Swamp or the Interpretive Trail at Hearts Content. In addition to hiking trails of the Allegheny National Forest, hikers can also follow the North Country Trail, which traces roughly 25 miles through Forest County on its way from North Dakota to Vermont.
Whether you want to ride Spring Creek Horse Trail in the Allegheny National Forest , vacation with your own horse at the equestrian campground at Kelly Pines, or find a full service riding place like Sharon's Horse Heaven, we've got it all! Don't forget about the Flying W Ranch - where you can rent for the hour, take an extended pack trip, or see the annual 4-day, action packed Allegheny Mountain Championship Rodeo each year in July, sanctioned by the PRCA/WPRA. Cook Forest horse trails meander through scenic woodlands and old growth stands. Local outfitters offer packages for novices and experienced riders alike.
Bow hunt, or rifle? Boat angling, or fly fishing? Upland birds, or waterfowl? Night hunter for coon and coyote, or early riser turkey? Small game fan or in for the big buck? You can just about hunt year-round in Forest County. Visit the PA Game Commission site for licensing, bag limits and seasonal info. See also fishing, above.
For lovely natural ice skating, try ice skating at Cook Forest.
With two Wild and Scenic Rivers (the Allegheny and Clarion Rivers), a beautiful lake (Tionesta Lake) and navigable creeks during the spring and early summer, there is no shortage of places to put in a small craft and enjoy a fun day of paddling. For an extended adventure, camp along the way. You almost forget that civilization is nearby when you pass through the Allegheny Islands Wilderness, between the Buckaloons and Tionesta, and more scenic islands further downstream toward President. Connect with outfitters at various locations on the Allegheny River, from Warren to East Hickory & West Hickory, to Tionesta or further south near the Clarion River at Cook Forest .
Mountain Bike (also see Bicycle)
Throughout the Allegheny National Forest, mountain biking enthusiasts will find designated biking areas with terrain for all levels. Follow the Northern Allegheny Mountain Bike Association for regional news and events for mountain bikers. Experience the Trails at Jake's Rocks on the north side of the ANF. For motorized (dirt) bikes, see info at ATV/OHM at the top of these listings.
Most winding roads of Forest County offer motorcyclists scenic beauty, remote byways and low volume traffic. Slow your pace and stop at villages and small town along the way. Download the Biker's Ride Guide. And don't neglect to stop by Word of Grace church for the annual Blessing of the Bikes in May.
What better way to break out of cabin fever than sledding through the forest? To find out current conditions here's a handy list of telephone numbers. If you are a regular, make new friends in the Marienville Trail Riders Snowmobile Club or the Forest County Snowmobile Club.
Snowshoeing! Not just for hares!
A municipal outdoor pool at the MACA (Marienville Area Civic Association), on Pine Street, is the only public pool in the county. You can find some overnight lodging options with hot tubs or pools, such as Forest Ridge. But if you've come for the wilds, nothing beats a dip in a cool forest stream, and there are many to choose among! Tubing is another option, whether by floating down the Allegheny River, being pulled by canoe or kayak, or going for a faster tubing experience on Tionesta Lake, behind a motorboat.
Tionesta Lake's size and shape make it a perfect waterskiing spot. The US Army Corps of Engineers, which runs the Visitor Center near the dam, has a Life Vest loaner program for kids.
Just go outdoors!