Snowmobile season starts this Friday, with trails open in ANF
This blog contains information from the USDA Forest Service, Allegheny National Forest.
The snowmobile season officially begins at 8:00 a.m. on December 16, 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service, with trails opening in the Allegheny National Forest.
Snowmobile trails will remain open until 12:oo p.m. on March 31, 2023. Sufficient snowfall is needed for the trails to be usable.
Learn more about activities you can enjoy at the PA Wilds motorized recreation page. You can also find links to specific Allegheny National Forest trail maps on the PA Wilds ANF ATV trail page.
Although snowmobiling is a thrilling hobby, it also carries the risks of any motorized outdoor activity. Riders should always be aware of operator safety guidelines, dress for extreme cold, and have a good knowledge of the trail. Avoid riding alone and traveling at excessive speeds. Riders should always wear a helmet and safety goggles and frequently clear running lights of snow/ice buildup. Check the DCNR snowmobiling safety page for more safety tips.
Parents can share their passion for snowmobiling with their kids, but please know that it is mandatory that all youth ages 10-15 take an approved snowmobile training course if they are planning to use their vehicle off their parent’s or guardian’s property. Children often overestimate their skill level, so this course can help them learn the risks and how to become a better rider. One approved online safety course can be found here. Children under the age of 10 are not permitted to operate a snowmobile on public lands.
Changes for the 2023 snowmobile season in the Allegheny National Forest
All winter recreationists in the forest should be aware of the following changes in snowmobile use for the 2022-2023 winter season.
- Temporary re-route of approximately 3.45 miles of the Allegheny Snowmobile Loop near Four Corners in Highland Township, Elk County. The re-route uses Forest Road 661, the Timberline ATV trail, and Corduroy Road (T-323), a township road that is open to snowmobiles. The new route will be signed, and the former trail segment will be closed this snowmobile season.
- Forest Road 141 and Forest Road 262 (Longhouse Scenic Drive) will be open to snowmobile use this winter. These roads were closed during the 2020/2021 season due to construction.
- Connector Trail #38 (The Lewis Run Snowmobile Bypass Trail) is located east of Marshburg, PA on both private property and National Forest System lands. The 5.5-mile trail segment provides an alternative route to the main 1A trail that utilizes FR 455. It begins at Pine Acres Country Club and ends at the intersection of Forest Roads 188 and 455.
- New Connector Trail # 39 (Bradford Airport Connector Trail) is located east of Marshburg, PA on both private property and National Forest System lands. The new trail segment will provide access to the main 1A trail via Forest Road 310. Trail segments begin at the Bradford Regional Airport and the intersection of State Highways 59 & 219. The new trail ends at the existing snowmobile trail connector #38.
In the Allegheny National Forest, there are approximately 365 miles of interconnected snowmobile trails, and when conditions permit another 52 miles of trails are used for both snowmobiles and ATVs/OHMs.
Multiple user groups enjoy the wintertime trails, and everyone is asked to exercise caution as trail users may encounter vehicles, groomers, snowshoers, dogsled teams, hikers, and cross-country skiers at any time.
Being mindful of safety regulations and etiquette rules can make it a safe and pleasant snowmobiling experience for yourself and others, as well as maintaining and respecting our region’s natural assets.
Trail users are reminded to:
- Stay on designated trails
- Practice Leave No Trace Principles Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
- Follow T.R.E.A.D. Principles Tread Lightly
- Plan ahead and prepare for variable trail and weather conditions
- Remember that motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Allegheny Reservoir once it is frozen
Until there is a significant amount of snow on the ground, the maintained snowmobile trails will not be groomed. Trail condition reports will begin when adequate snow accumulates and will be updated weekly, or when conditions warrant.
The snowmobile trail map and condition reports will be available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/allegheny/recreation/wintersports. You can listen to condition reports by calling one of the forest offices and following the prompts: Bradford Ranger District: 814-362-4613; Marienville Ranger District: 814-927-6628 or the Supervisor’s Office: 814-723-5150.
About the USDA Forest Service – Allegheny National Forest:
Established in 1923, the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is Pennsylvania’s only National Forest. Situated on the Allegheny Plateau, the forest is comprised of 514,029 acres in the northwestern corner of the state. The slogan “Land of Many Uses” captures a vision of a healthy, vigorous, working forest that provides timber and wood products, watershed protection, access to underground minerals, ties to cultural history, a diversity of wildlife habitats, and outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities — not only today but in a sustainable way so future generations can enjoy these benefits.
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