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PA Wilds

Credit: Tim Walck

Pennsylvania Wilds


The Pennsylvania Wilds in northcentral Pennsylvania is a prime destination for outdoor recreation experiences, consisting of over two million acres of public lands available for hiking, biking, fishing, boating, hunting and exploration. 


Teeming with wildlife and offering exceptional recreation opportunities, this 12½-county region includes some of the most scenic and wildest areas in the Northeast. 

The Pennsylvania Wilds encompasses:

  • More than 1.6 million acres of state forest and game lands

  • 29 state parks, 8 state forests and 50 state game lands

  • The 500,000-acre Allegheny National Forest

  • Two National Wild & Scenic Rivers

  • The largest elk herd in the Northeast

  • Some of the darkest skies in the Nation

  • Hundreds of miles of water and land trails for hiking, backpacking, paddling, fishing and more.


The Pennsylvania Wilds is one of the largest blocks of green between New York and Chicago. The region represents a quarter of the Commonwealth; however it is home to only about 4% of the state population. There are over 6.5 million total acres in this rural region and roughly 80 percent of that land, 5.2 million acres, is forestland. The southern portion of the Pennsylvania Wilds is accessible from Interstate 80, the busiest east-west interstate in the United States. To the north, the region is accessible from Pennsylvania Route 6, rated one of America’s most scenic drives by National Geographic magazine. 


A popular attraction in this region is the wild elk herd that roams an 835-square-mile area of mostly forested and mountainous land in parts of Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Centre and Clearfield counties. The Elk Country Visitor Center is an outstanding place for visitors to learn more about these majestic creatures. The Elk Scenic Drive – a 127-mile route through the region – features 23 viewing sites that provide parking and opportunities to view elk and other wildlife. Each site has been chosen because of its outstanding wildlife viewing potential and scenic beauty. From the Pine Creek Gorge (a.k.a. the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon) and the 63+ mile Pine Creek Rail Trail to the Kinzua Bridge State Park skywalk, to the dark skies at Cherry Springs State Park, to the Hyner View State Park Vista and more – the Pennsylvania Wilds region has  something to offer for everyone. 


Learn more about regional attractions, activities and experiences at

Pine Creek Rail Trail

Credit: Lucky Shot Photography

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