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, Cameron, and Clearfield 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 the above brochures or additional information call (877) 359-6585 or e-mail info@pawilds.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 1/2 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 of 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 loose their antlers in the late winter or early spring.

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

Opened in September 2010, the Elk Country Visitor Center sits on 245 acres on Winslow Hill in Benezette.  The area is home to the largest elk herd in the northeastern United States.  The 8,400 square foot eco-friendly building has a stone fireplace to greet visitors and a panorama of windows looking out on the elk viewing areas.  It also features a 4-D theater presenting a multimedia experience that will immerse you in the sights, sounds and smells of a mixed hardwood forest and the natural world of the elk.  There is also a gift shop, observation areas and viewing blinds.  Experience the elk on a horse-drawn wagon ride!  

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

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9
  • Beaver Run Wildlife Viewing Area

    Quehanna Hwy.
    Penfield , PA 15849
    (814) 765-0821 | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quehanna_Wild_Area

    Beaver Run offers excellent viewing at a shallow water impoundment with a field that provides high-quality forage for elk in the Moshannon State Forest. This site offers wildlife viewing during the... more info

  • Bucktail State Park Natural Area

    PA Route 120 from Lock Haven to Emporium
    Emporium , PA 15834
    (814) 486-3365 | http://bit.ly/1XmnA6T

    This 16,433-acre natural area is actually a 75-mile scenic drive. The park provides a beautiful scenic drive along PA 120 from Emporium, through Renovo to Lock Haven. All along the road are... more info

  • Dent's Run Elk Viewing Area

    Winslow Hill Road
    Benezette , PA 15821
    (814) 787-5167

    The Dent's Run Elk Viewing Area is the most popular site for elk viewing in the state. Many people come in September and October to hear the bulls bugle and watch them compete for dominance. Each... more info

  • Elk Country Visitor Center

    134 Homestead Drive
    Benezette , PA 15821
    (814) 787-5167 | ElkCountryVisitorCenter.com

    Premiere elk viewing and conservation education facility with 4D theater, interactive exhibits, live forest cams, horse-drawn wagon rides, gift shop and much more.

    The Elk Country Visitor Center... more info

  • Elk County Elk Farm Bed & Breakfast

    27821 Lake City Rd.
    Ridgway , PA 15853
    (814) 772-6810 | elkcountyelkfarm.com

    Elk County’s only working domestic elk farm. Spring newborn calves & bulls in velvet, hear bugling in fall. Stay in our 1800s remodeled barn. Private baths.

    Visit the gift shop for homemade... more info

  • Elk Scenic Drive

    Benezette , PA 15821

    127-mile route through the region, with distinctive signage. Twenty-three viewing sites along the Elk Scenic Drive are being established to promote safe and easy visitation and distribute travelers... more info

  • Elk State Forest

    258 Sizerville Rd.
    Emporium , PA 15834
    (814) 486-3353 | http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/stateforests/elk/

    Located principally in Elk and Cameron counties, Elk State Forest, comprised of 200,000 acres, is open to primitive camping, licensed hunting and fishing, and offers opportunities for hiking,... more info

  • Gilbert Farm Elk Viewing Area

    Winslow Hill Road
    Benezette , PA 15821
    (877) 877-7674 | http://www.visitpa.com/gilbert-farm-elk-viewing-area

    The town of Benezette is renowned statewide for its healthy, ecologically sustainable elk population. This viewing area is one of the most reliable elk viewing sites. From here, a panoramic western... more info

  • Hick's Run Outfitters

    689 Hicks Run Road
    Driftwood , PA 15832
    (814) 787-4287

    Experienced professional guides offer personal and group guided photo tours of PA watchable wildlife. 15 passenger vans available. Offering personal one on one guided hunts.
    more info

  • Hicks Run Viewing Area

    Route 555
    Hicks Run , PA 15832
    (814) 486-3353 | http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1879748&mode=2

    Hicks Run Wildlife Viewing Area is the premier elk viewing area in the Pennsylvania Wilds. This covered, handicap accessible viewing blind provides incredible views and fantastic photo opportunities... more info


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