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About Elk County
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.
The Nationally Designated Wild & Scenic Clarion River winds diagonally across the county, providing opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and fishing during the warmer months. Also enjoy the Clarion/Little Toby Rail Trail for leisurely hiking, biking or cross country skiing in the winter. The trail follows the Clarion River and Little Toby tributary 18 miles to Brockway.
The PA Wilds is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd east of the Rockies. Reintroduced in the 1920’s, the elk are thriving in Pennsylvania today. The new Elk Country Visitor Center on Winslow Hill in Benezette is where you have the best chance of seeing a magnificent elk in its natural habitat. They offer viewing blinds and trails on the grounds as well as interactive displays, and a multi-sensory 4-D theater.
The Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous has become the largest event of its kind, evolving from a backyard gathering of friends to an international affair. Each February carvers from all over the United States and the world gather in Ridgway to create beautiful carved works of art from logs using only chainsaws and hand tools. The week-long event concludes with an auction of the pieces carved during the week.
Decker's Chapel is one of the smallest in the United States. Built in 1856 by Michael Decker, the one story gable-end oriented and clapboard frame structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. All are welcome to visit the chapel at any time.