North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) enters Pennsylvania from the northeast corner passing thru Allegheny National Forest traveling southwest. It exits the park near Marienville and passes the city of Clarion. Turning westward the trail crosses US 80 passing US 79 and US 376 before entering the State of Ohio.
Allegheny National Forest is a 513,325-acre National Forest offering a variety of outdoor activities. It has 600 campsites, 2 nationally designated wilderness areas, 6 boat launches, 6 canoe access sites, miles of hiking biking trails, ATV and snowmobiling trails. Several reservoirs and over 700 miles of streams offer fishing prospects.
Marienville is on the southern perimeter of Allegheny National Forest. Its
population of 3,137 is at 1,732’ elevation. Marienville is the site of a new state of the art maximum-security prison. The 64-acre facility built to house 2,200 prisoners began operating in November 2004. Clarion is a borough of 5,276, 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Settled in 1839 and incorporated in 1841, it produced coal, natural gas, and lumber.
Nearing the Ohio border the NCT trail comes nearby several small towns.
Ellwood City is a borough of 7,289, 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, and 8 miles south of New Castle, just a few miles east of the Ohio border. Its industries were steel tube mills, steel car works, machine shops, coal mining, building stone and Limestone quarries.
New Castle is a city near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border with a population of 23,128, and commercial center of a fertile agricultural region. Beaver Falls is a city with the population of 8,987 on the Beaver River, 6 miles from a connection with the Ohio River. The Beaver River is used for boating and recreation.
North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) travels from Crown Point NY to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota. Once complete the NCT trail will extend 4,600 miles from Crown Point NY to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota.
At present only 2,100 miles have been certified. It will pass through the seven states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. It will be the longest of eleven National Scenic trails authorized by Congress, and the longest trail in the country.
Trail usage is limited to foot travel, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The trail is open all year with the peak season from May to October. This notable trail passes through some impressive parts of the country. It passes through 57 state parks, 47 state forests, 22 state game areas, seven state water conservation districts and at least ten county forests and parks. It also crosses private land granting property easements.
Allegheny National Forest is a 3.5-hour drive of 185 miles from Rochester New York. Drive US 390 south toward Hornell then US 86 following signs to Allegheny National Forest.
Its ease of access is one of the NCT’s strengths. Possibly a great place to depart the trail would be Allegheny National Forest in the northeastern corner of the state.