Elk Country is a place that lives up to its name. Home to the largest free-roaming elk herd in the northeastern United States, Elk Country features two large visitor centers to welcome you. If you come to Elk Country for the elk, you won’t be disappointed. But if you stick around to see what’s all around you, you’ll be delighted you did.
The Elk Country Visitor Center is a world-class, eco-friendly visitor and educational center and premier location to view Elk in their natural habitat. Seeing and hearing these magnificent elk in person is an awe-inspiring experience.
Unplug from devices and reconnect with nature, at the state-of-the-art Park Office and Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park. This LEED-certified green building introduces visitors to the Pennsylvania Wilds through family friendly exhibits and interpretive displays. Peer into an eagle’s nest, crawl through a bear’s cave or simply sit and enjoy a book, the Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park has something for everyone.
Located in St. Marys, PA, Straub Brewery is one of the oldest and most historic breweries in the United States, and is still owned and operated by its founding family, now into its sixth and seventh generations. Fodor’s Travel named Straub Brewery one of the “5 Best Places in America to Drink American Beer.”
This week-long event is one of the largest chainsaw carving events of its kind, drawing carvers from all corners of the globe and thousands of visitors. Held at the very tail end of winter, the Rendezvous is the perfect way to ring in Spring in mid-March annually! But bundle up. Watch carvers’ live demonstrations all day, purchase carving art, enjoy vendors and don’t miss the exciting auction on the last day. Located in Ridgway on the southeast corner of the Allegheny National Forest & Surrounds landscape, the Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous will thrill your senses - from the sound of chainsaws running, to the sight of intricately carved wood art, to the cheerful crowd enjoying the brisk early Spring air.
The Clarion-Little Toby Rail Trail meanders along the scenic Clarion River Trail and Little Toby Creek. Hike or bike past lofty shale formations and waterfalls and natural spreads of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron. Wetlands and wildflowers abound, and visitors may see wildlife. Bring a camera! Both waterways are popular trout streams.
Nicknamed "Top of the World" by locals, make a stop at the Bucktail Overlook for one of the PA Wild's most stunning views, before heading on to hike the nearby Fred Woods Trail. (Photo by: Jeff Krause)
Nearly 50,000 acres, the Quehanna Wild Area is a protected wildlife area, home to several species of birds and other animals including elk, deer and coyotes.
Year Round Ideas
Spring in Elk Country is a time of renewal and filled with beautiful photographic opportunities. Visitors can see wild flowers and mountain Laurel in bloom as newborn elk calves and whitetail fawns frolic in the meadows. The thundering gobbles of male wild turkey echo through the mountain mist at dawn during breeding season. Eagles and osprey glide over fish-filled waters that attract fishermen to enjoy some of the best trout fishing in the state. Looking for antler sheds while hiking is very popular spring activity too.Visit Quehanna Wild Area
Women in the Wilds is a weekend retreat for women only, held annually in the summer at Sinnemahoning State Park Wildlife Center. Dates vary each year, so check the park events calendar. Learn or improve outdoor skills, with programs ranging from mountain biking, archery, tree identification, kayaking, outdoor photography, GPS/geo-caching, fly-fishing, primitive skills, and many others. Join other aspiring woods-women for an adventure in the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds!See Events Calendar
Autumn is the perfect time for both leaf peeping and elk viewing. Explore the 127-mile Elk Scenic Drive, with vibrant views of autumn leaves and scenic landscapes. Catch the famous “Fall Rut” elk mating season, and you will likely hear the famous “elk bugle” mating call – a long bellow that ascends to a long high note. You may also see competitive bulls locking antlers and fighting for cows until the weaker one gives way!Elk Scenic Drive
Elk State Forest offers nearly 100 miles of snowmobile trails, as well as 23 miles of cross-country ski trails. Many additional miles of roads and trails are available for cross-country skiing when snowfall is suitable.Visit
The PA Wilds, PA Game Commission, Keystone Elk Country Alliance, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau, and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) bring you the Elk SMART campaign to help keep Pennsylvania’s elk wild.
One of the most popular locations in the entire PA Wilds, the Elk Country Visitor Center is a 245-acre site near the village of Benezette and a premier elk watching and conservation education facility. On the eastern side of Elk Country, the Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park also serves as a gateway to this magnificent landscape.
Elk Country is also home to some extraordinary destinations, like the town of St. Mary’s, the proud home of Straub Brewery and its famous Eternal Tap. Must-do and you-will-tell-everyone-about-it-afterwards tours of this American Legacy Brewery are available.
On the western edge of Elk Country, you’ll be close enough for a long stay in Ridgway, an eclectic and charming trail town, the Northernmost Point of the Clarion Little Toby Rail Trail, nestled in the valley of the Clarion River on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest. Ridgway boasts an illustrious past with roots in the lumber industry, namely as the home of Gilded Age lumber barons. Today, it thrives as a destination for Victorian architecture (just look all around you), and local artisans, and is home to the annual Chainsaw Rendezvous, which attracts thousands of visitors and carvers each March from all around the globe.
One of the best ways to explore Elk Country is a ride along the Elk Scenic Drive. But take a few days to do it because there will be plenty of reasons to stop, look, and appreciate the world around you. Home to the Quehanna Wild Area and four state parks, the Elk Country landscape is a treasure trove of photogenic byways, vistas, and wildlife.
Download this detailed map and informational brochure developed by the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources to learn more about Elk Country and the Pennsylvania Wilds elk herd.
On the southern border of Elk Country, Clearfield provides a south-central entry point off of I-80. The Clearfield County Visitor’s Bureau provides traveler resources for Williamsport and beyond, including sporting and cultural events, outdoor recreation, historical sites and more.
The Clinton County Visitor’s Bureau is on the eastern border of the Elk Country landscape and offers maps, visitor planning and more. An extension of the Elk Scenic Drive begins in Lock Haven, and takes travelers through Sinnemahoning State Park to the Elk Country Visitor Center.
The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors (PAGO) provides traveler resources and itineraries for a 3-county region that covers a large portion of the Elk Country Landscape and offers trip-planning resources, including expert elk viewing tips, road trip itineraries, details on special events and more.
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