The Best Hikes in Allegheny National Forest

7 Triplog Reviews in the Allegheny National Forest
Most recent of 5 deeper Triplog Reviews
8.03 mi • 642 ft aeg
2nd hike of the trip to camp. 7 years ago we went up to the Twin Lakes area looking for this trail and couldn't find it. This time I made a track from Route Editor and found it. the hike started on the Black Cherry loop, which then connects to the Twin Lakes Trail. Twin Lakes is 16 miles one way and it doesn't appear that there are any trailheads along the way in the middle. We took Twin Lakes to its junction with the Mill Creek Trail, which I had hiked most of this past July. We hiked to my turnaround point from July, then then hiked another section of Twin Lakes to the west until it reached a road. I was hoping for an area I could park one day, but had no luck.

the start of the hike was in heavy pines, so it was so dark that i needed a flash to get a decent picture, even at 10am on a clear day. the Mill Creek Trail and western part of the Twin Peaks trail had the most color, which looked much nicer since it was lit up by the clear skies and sun.

The beginning of the Twin Peaks trail isn't marked all that well. It crosses some old dirt roads and the junctions are very easy to miss, which we did. fortunately on the way back I figured it out and ended up hiking the entirety of the actual trail along that segment. that wasn't bad since it made the hike out and back less monotonous. Once we got back to the Black Cherry Loop, we hiked the rest of that loop and took the road back to the car.

Dmitri said his legs were getting sore at the end since by that point he had done 15 miles in 2 days, but he made it through and did well. He had the old man walk for a bit getting out of the car, but was fine the next day. Nice to get a real fall hike in, complete with lots of color and chilly temps.
7.24 mi • 575 ft aeg
did another visit back to PA and took a trip up to my camp again outside of Ridgway. We did part of the Brush Hollow system 9+ years ago and I wanted to go back to do the rest of them. Dmitri is much bigger now and can hike farther, so the hike was much longer than it was then. When we hiked this before, it was July and the trails were really overgrown with waist high grass. This time, there was only one overgrown trail that was a small spur to a lookout vista.

the color in the leaves was very nice. The skies were overcast, which made for less spectacular photography, but it was still a very nice change of pace from the 100+ degrees hikes I've been doing for the last 3 months in AZ. It was a little chilly to start, but since we started much later than I normally do, it warmed up enough pretty quickly, which was still on the cool side.

I had planned to try to hike all the trails, but between the moderate brush in some sections and the elevation gain, we were hiking a little slow so I decided to cut it short a bit. I still managed to hike every section of trail that I hadn't previously hiked, so I accomplished that. By the time we were getting lunch, the rain had started, so it turned out to be a good thing that we cut it short.
3.3 mi • 275 ft aeg
After our quick hike around the Twin Lakes, we continued on some back roads thru the ANF to the Brush Hollow TH, which has a nice little system of trails. For this hike we did the Challenger Loop, which is pretty much the shortest loop, but apparently also the hardest due to the mild elevation gain. In actuality, the height of the grass and various vegetation make all of the trails and hiking in PA somewhat of a challenge compared to hiking in AZ.

We took the section of the loop that does the gradual climb first, which made things better for the kids. The temperature was a little warm, but nothing compared to AZ. The humidity was the only real issue, but compared to what it was like the week before in PA, that was also mild. We completed 3.3 miles and during the entire hike, I didn't even once need a drink, which is unheard of right now anywhere in AZ.

the only wildlife we spotted were some tadpoles in a pool next to an uprooted tree. Saw plenty of deer tracks, but no bambis.
1 mi • 0 ft aeg
This trail isn't actually the official Twin Lakes Trail which cuts across the ANF, but it is in the Twin Lakes Recreational area, where that trail begins, and it circles the actual Twin Lakes, so it's close enough.

During our PA vacation, we made a side trip up to Toronto to see the CN Tower and on our way back, Niagara Falls. From the Falls, we cut through Buffalo, down thru NY and into northern PA, towards Ridgway, near the deer hunting camp that my family owns. It's not in the greatest shape, but it's free and in a much cooler climate than AZ is right now.

On our first full day, we woke up and took a ride up to the Kinzua Bridge, an old decommissioned train trestle that was severely damaged in a storm in July 2003. After we saw that, we made our way thru some back roads to some trails nearby that I spotted on some online maps. I wanted to make our way to the Brush Hollow TH, but the road we took ended up dead ending in the Twin Lakes area. So, we decided to stop and do a quick loop around the lake to get out of the car, seeing as we had driven over 1000 miles within the previous week.

It was nothing special, being more of a camping and picnic area, but it was a good start to warm up for our bigger hike later on.
1.5 mi • 65 ft aeg
The Little Drummer Historical Pathway is a 2 loop trail system that is also an area that is being managed for wildlife conservation. There is a smaller 1.3 mile loop and a larger 2.1 mile loop. Interpretive stops are marked along the way with numbered wood markers that you can match with the brochures available near the TH. At the center (junction of the 2 loops) is Cole Run Pond, which is part of the conservation management and home to waterfowl. I took the wife and kids on this for a quick 1.5 mile jaunt (we backtracked a couple times because we thought we took the wrong trail). This trail also had a lot of waist high grass and vegetation, which made it necessary to do much of the hike piggybacking our kids, which they enjoyed (my wife not so much). This hike in general had less shade, but the contrast of all the green vs. AZ right now was very nice.

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