National Geographic Adventure named the Allegheny River one of the nation's "40 Great Fall Weekend Getaways", and each year, thousands of people travel to the northwest corner of the Pennsylvania Wilds to fish, canoe and kayak the Allegheny River. The Allegheny is part of the nation’s Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Historic, wild and scenic, there are more than 100 islands from the Kinzua Dam to Oil City and 7 of them constitute the Allegheny Islands Wilderness Area. This Wilderness Area boasts several campgrounds, trails, historical sites and other points of interest. In fact, the U.S. Forestry Service has identified about 135 potentially significant historic and prehistoric sites on the Allegheny and 4 of them are already on the National Register, including an American Revolutionary War battle ground. To add to the journey, paddlers share the waterway with eagles, Great Blue Heron, snapping turtles, white-tailed deer and many other species. The waters off Lighthouse Island at Tionesta are favored for Walleye fishing.
The Clarion River is considered a "Class I" river, with characteristics that make the Clarion a desirable river for canoeists of all abilities. On a scale of I-VI, the "I" denotes fast moving water with riffles and small waves; few or no obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training; risk to swimmer is slight and self-rescue is easy. Beginning just below Ridgway, this undeveloped river meanders through narrow valleys of hardwood forests and forms Forest County's southernmost border. Wildlife, intermittent riffles, and rock outcrops provide constantly changing scenery. The Clarion is popular for family canoeing, as well as for trophy brown trout and smallmouth bass fishing. Outstanding features include a nationally recognized area of virgin white pine and hemlock.
- Bridge Type: Truss
- Location: Nebraska Road, Nebraska, PA
- Crossing: Tionesta Creek
- Construction Date: 1933
- Structure Length: 187 feet
- Deck Width: 28 feet
This bridge serves as an unusual attraction to the area. Long known for being submerged under water during the spring thaw, the bridge is a favorite fishing hole for young and old alike. It is very common to see grandparents providing their grandson or granddaughter with their first fishing excursion from the bridge. Adjacent to the bridge is a popular boat launch allowing access through the back channel to Tionesta Lake.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) completed the Tionesta Dam in 1940, impounding a 480-acre lake and providing flood control. Here you can camp, picnic, swim and launch a boat (COE facilities). Recreation activities include fishing, hiking, boating, canoeing, water skiing, and hunting (in season). You can obtain additional information by calling 814-755-3512 or writing: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tionesta Dam, Tionesta, PA 16353.
Tionesta Creek runs from Chapman Dam to Tionesta Dam. During high water in very early spring, you can put in at Farnsworth Road, just south of Clarendon. Other high water starting points include the bridges at Weldbank (mile 2.5), Tiona (mile 4.4), Sheffield (mile 7.6), Lynch (mile 16) or Mayburg (25.9). The bridge at Kellettville (mile 30.3) has a nice landing. Tionesta Dam is mile 45.4. The landscape is gorgeous from Sheffield to the Tionesta Dam, but generally cannot be floated after mid-May or early June other than on tubes, and depending on water levels may involve portage. During the appropriate seasons one can enjoy a wide range of fishing pursuits for trout, small mouth bass and walleye. Scenery and wildlife are abundant along Tionesta Creek.
Winding its way through the rugged hills of northwestern Pennsylvania, Tionesta Lake offers a unique setting for a diversity of outdoor recreational opportunities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to visit the dam and discover Tionesta's delightful lake and the natural beauty of the surrounding forest. For those looking for a memorable outdoor experience, Tionesta Lake offers a mix of beautiful scenery and recreational activities that will not soon be forgotten. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, water-skiing, picnicking, sightseeing, bird watching and much more.
Fishermen have found the variety of fishing waters in the area enticing and productive. The clear mountain streams, placid lake and glistening Allegheny River have yielded many fine catches of trout, muskie, walleye, bass and panfish. The lake and its miles of unspoiled shoreline offer unlimited opportunities for water-based recreation. Watercraft of all types and sizes can be found on Tionesta Lake, from powerboats of unlimited horsepower with water skiers in tow, to sleek canoes and small fishing boats plying the inlets, coves and backwater areas of the lake. Easy access to the water is provided by boat launches at either end of the lake with ample trailer parking available.
Home to a remarkable variety of wildlife, Tionesta has claim as one of Pennsylvania's best big game regions. Hunters will find deer in abundance as well as bear, turkey and small game. Part of the pleasure of hunting at Tionesta is experiencing the quiet, rejuvenating forest. If you're out sightseeing for the day, why not stop at Tionesta Lake and enjoy a leisurely picnic with family or friends or perhaps walk on one of the self-guided nature trails. There are also several scenic overlooks that provide exciting vistas of the lake and forested hillsides. An especially scenic time for sightseeing at Tionesta Lake is in the autumn when the splendor of the fall foliage is at its peak.
Campers will find a welcome change of pace from everyday urban life at one of Tionesta Lake's many tree-shaded campsites. Camping facilities are varied including primitive sites at lakeside and accessible only by boat, to the Tionesta Outflow Campground ranging from primitive to full service with utility hook-ups and showers. Located below the breast wall of the dam and along scenic Tionesta Creek, the campground is a favorite of many repeat visitors to the area and is often booked well in advance. Adjacent to the campground is the Tionesta Community Park, a place where families can go to picnic or play Putt-Putt golf. Various baseball leagues play on the field available there and occasionally you may find a group enjoying the volley ball court or tossing horse shoes. Camping is also available at the campground in Kelletville where people enjoy the solitude of the area and find it a great place to relax.
Tionesta Crib Dam
A Timber Crib Dam was built in 1893 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the mouth of Tionesta Creek to enhance river navigation. This dam is the only known to remain of over 40 dams built by the Army in the 19th century. It is in disrepair and fishing and boating are prohibited at the dam due to safety concerns, but it is worth a visit to see the construction methods used, including massive timbers forming the cribbing and cut stones filling and stabilizing the cribbing.
Less significant but no less enchanting creeks and streams
In addition to the major waterways that border or traverse our county, we also are home to some of the most attractive small creeks and streams found anywhere. Grab your camera and walking stick and take a journey into the back woods…the heart and soul of the Wilds. Be ready to take pictures of some of the most beautiful plant and wildlife imaginable, not to mention rock formations and waterfalls. If you’re so inclined, pack your fishing gear and enjoy the day pursuing the wily trout. Below is a list of approved trout streams just to give you a taste of what’s available!
Beaver Run – Bluejay Creek – Coon Creek – East Hickory Creek – Little Hickory Run – Maple Creek – Queen Creek – Ross Run – Salmon Creek – South Branch Tionesta Creek – Spring Creek – The Branch – Tionesta Creek (county line downstream to Kelletville Bridge) – Toms Run – West Branch Millstone Creek – West Hickory Creek