Whether you’re coming from the east, south or west, the I-80 Frontier is the quintessential welcome mat to the Pennsylvania Wilds. With its proximity to Pennsylvania’s southern population centers of Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, not to mention close by New York City, and Cleveland on the western side, it’s easy to plan a trip for each season. Home to forested state parks and storied towns and places, any given exit off the interstate is a surefire way to find and explore the natural and hidden wonders of the region.
It’s here you’ll find the most famous, weather-predicting groundhog in the world, Punxsutawney Phil! During the winter, brave the elements and make your way up to Gobbler’s Knob for Punxsutawney Phil’s annual - and always 100% right, do not question him - prognostication. If you can’t make it there for February 2 exactly, a visit to Phil’s Burrow, Gobblers Knob, and the Punxsutawney Weather Discover Center will do the trick. (Photos courtesy of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Inc.)
The 968-acre Parker Dam State Park near Penfield offers old-fashioned charm and plenty outdoor fun! The park encompasses miles of trails used for hiking, biking, and more; a scenic lake and beach area; as well as cabins and a campground, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing vacation.
Located approximately an hour northeast of Pittsburgh, you’ll find entry points to the Red Bank Valley Trail in Brookville, New Bethlehem and East Brady. Named DCNR's first ever trail of the year in 2014, the Redbank Valley Trail is a 50+ miles, non-motorized 4-season trail, beloved by outdoor enthusiasts and nature-seekers.
At the heart of Moshannon State Forest, you’ll find the 318-acre Simon B. Elliott State Park. This entirely wooded park offers picturesque areas of swamp meadows and a forest of second-growth mixed hardwood and oak timber. Just a stone’s throw from Interstate 80, the quaint park is a great resting area for travelers – or a fun day trip for locals.
Beartown Rocks in Clear Creek State Forest, Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, and Bilger's Rocks are all short drives off of I-80. Free to visit, these sites provide diverse opportunities to explore massive boulders and rock formations. Beartown Rocks and Bilger's Rocks are well known for their scenic views and Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, just a few miles south of I-80, is famous for its mysterious history and Biblical rock carvings. (Photo by: Rebecca Thomas)
Perhaps one of the most unique roadside stops across the Pennsylvania Wilds, Doolittle Station offers a variety of unique dining experiences and other adventures in renovated train cars in DuBois, PA. The 1800 B&O Rail Depot includes the Doolittle Station Rail Museum and gift shop, in addition to a 50's style diner inside a 1950's Pullman Standard passenger car, fine dining in a 1913 parlor car, a bed & breakfast, and much more!
Covering 3,394 acres of forest and wetlands, Black Moshannon State Park is a conservation and an outdoor paradise with unique, natural environments. More than 43,000 acres of the Moshannon State Forest surround the park and help create a remote and wild setting that provides recreational opportunities in all seasons, including water recreation, hiking and biking, camping, hunting and fishing, and winter recreation.
The Borough of Bellefonte is known for its Victorian-era architecture and charming downtown, located along Spring Creek and picturesque Talleyrand Park in northern Centre County. Restaurants, cafes, boutiques and artisan shops line the streets, state parks are a short drive away, and there are a number of area bed and breakfasts ready to serve overnight guests. (Photo credit: Doug Bauman)
The 5,900-acre Bald Eagle State Park features wildlife and bird watching, camping, fishing, swimming and the LEED Gold certified Nature Inn – named the best eco-friendly resort in the country by USA Today for 2017. A 1,730-acre lake laps the flanks of Bald Eagle Mountain, surrounded by forests and wetlands.
Near Lock Haven, visit the Amish community of Loganton, an Agricultural Community with fresh produce stands and greenhouses, and a grocery store. Explore craft shops, with a variety of handmade items, including handcrafted quilts and fine handcrafted furniture. Learn about the traditional Amish way of life, from transportation with horse drawn carriages, to sustainable agriculture and more.
Did you know? Piper Aircraft were PA Wilds Made! At one point in history, Piper Aircraft Corporation was the world’s leading producer of general aviation aircraft. Originally located in Bradford (McKean County) the Piper Aircraft Corporation was moved to Lock Haven (Clinton County) in 1937. The company was well known for it's "Cub" aircraft, and a series bearing Indian names such as Aztec, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Comanche, Navajo, and Pawnee. The factory was closed in 1984. Piper Aircraft Corporation grew to become the world’s leading producer of general aviation aircraft.
Located in Williamsport, "Inspiration Lycoming County" is the world's largest portrait mural. Painted by famed mural artist Michael Pilato, the mural depicts the history of Lycoming County.
Learn about the world’s largest organized youth sports program at the World of Little League Museum, with hundreds of artifacts on display and cutting-edge, immersive exhibits.
Once the Lumber Capital of the World, Williamsport had more millionaires per person than any other city in the USA. Take a walking tour of these lumber barons’ Victorian homes on “Millionaire’s Row.”
The Station Gallery in Lock Haven is a fine art gallery, located within a restored historic train station. The gallery features stunning art exhibitions, workshops, educational programs for youth and special events throughout the year.
Year Round Ideas
Held in March each year, this weekend long, free family friendly event features the best local and regional bluegrass musicians. Sponsored by the United Way of Clarion County, The Clarion River Jam hosts nearly fifty artists with near constant music and food vendors.Learn more
Through the generous support of local sponsors, Lock Haven provides free concerts throughout the summer on Fridays at Triangle Park, and on Sundays at the J Doyle Corman Amphitheater & Floating Stage on the Susquehanna River.Learn more
Sponsored by the United States Army, this 9 day award-winning festival attracts 500,000 people to Clarion to celebrate autumn with a carnival, parade, vendors and more. Photo by Kyle YatesLearn more
Celebrate with the world’s only true weather forecasting groundhog, and thousands of other Groundhog Day enthusiasts, on February 2 annually on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney! This world-famous event is an all-night party, as fans cheer on Phil with non-stop entertainment, awaiting news on the end of winter.Learn more
Western Entry: Less than an hour from the Ohio border on the I-80 Frontier’s Western Side is the tiny resort town of Foxburg, along the east bank of the Allegheny River, and just north of the Clarion River. Foxburg is a river town with quaint shops, and home to the Foxburg Country Club, the oldest golf course in the USA in continuous use. Golfers can play a round with early 1900’s hickory clubs with replica balls and even hit off sand tees. The PA Wilds 2017 Event of the Year is found in Clarion, for its annual Autumn Leaf Festival. Brookville is home to the Jefferson County History Center, and two nearby rock formations for hiking. Brockway is known for it’s summertime Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration. The Winkler Gallery of Art, featuring fine art and arts education, is located in historic downtown Dubois.
Eastern Entry: Interstate 80 is the eastern entry point to PA from NYC. Make a quick detour north to visit the Pennsylvania Wilds’ thriving “big city” of Williamsport, the eastern anchor for the I-80 frontier. Heading west, historic Bellefonte and nearby Bald Eagle State Park are perfect for a spring or fall getaway to welcome pleasant weather and scenery.
Roughly central to the 1-80 frontier is Clearfield, where you can grab a bite to eat before heading south to Bilger’s rocks in the tiny borough of Grampian, where you’ll gaze in awe at towering boulders and rock carvings set throughout the forest.
Going from west to east, three I-80 Frontier towns – Williamsport, Lock Haven and Clearfield – all feature beautiful riverfront parks and walking paths on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
If you’re a New Yorker, Clevelander, Philadelphian, or Pittsburgher, a visit (or two) to the Pennsylvania Wilds I-80 Frontier will undoubtedly change your perception on that long and winding interstate that welcomes you to your Wilds adventure.
The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors (PAGO) provides traveler resources and itineraries for a 5-county region that covers more than half of the I-80 Frontier Landscape.
Near the center point of the I-80 Frontier, the Clearfield County Visitor’s Bureau provides traveler resources for Clearfield and beyond, including outdoor recreation, special events and more.
Located on the eastern access point of the I-80 Frontier, the Lycoming 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 offers visitor resources for the I-80 Frontier section that covers Clinton County. More than 60 percent of Clinton County is state land, available for public outdoor recreation.
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