Written by Beth Exley | Cover photo by Jeff Krause
Looking for the perfect place to go to have that relaxing “aaahhhh” moment? Cameron County, nestled in North Eastern mountains of the PA Great Outdoors region, could be the place. Cameron County is small in population but big in nature and all its beauty. The county seat for Cameron is Emporium. Cameron County encompasses a beautiful and wild area with a lot to offer. From outdoor activities to indoor educational opportunities, the area has something to pique the interest of anyone looking to slow things down, get to cobwebs blown off, and see what the mountains and forests of this outdoor paradise have to offer.
Cameron County is the home of George B. Stevenson Reservoir at Sinnemahoning State Park. The reservoir is 145 acres and is a gorgeous place to kayak, canoe, boat, and fish with an ADA accessible fishing pier. Also, on Sundays from May through September, there are pontoon boat tours at 10:30 am and 12:00 pm (Please call Sinnemahoning State Park for details and reservations at (814) 647-8401). This is an educational ride to learn about the outdoors and hope for the chance to see eagles, osprey and other wildlife. There is no set fee, but donations are requested. The Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park is an educational state-of-the-art center with interpretive exhibits, opportunities to view eagles, elk, and other wildlife. There is also the opportunity to learn about green building design.
Hiking and biking can be done in many areas in Cameron County. The West Creek Trail is an 18-mile rail trail from Emporium to St. Marys. The Bucktail Path is a 34-mile trail located in the Elk State Forest starting at Sizerville State Park and ending in Sinnemahoning with many mountain vistas. The Fred Woods Trail is located in Elk State Forest, with unique rock formations and breathtaking views from vistas including Mason Hill Overlook, now as the “Top of the World.” The Loop is 4.57 miles from the trailhead. The Quehanna Wild Area is a 75-mile loop that passes through some of the most wild and beautiful country in Pennsylvania’s wild elk range. Brooks Run Division in Elk State Forest features the Square Timber Wild Area and Bucktail and Johnson Run Natural Areas with a dozen well-marked hiking trails. The Lower Jerry Run Natural Area is 892 acres offering remote hiking along the headwaters of the Lower Jerry Run through a large stand of old-growth white pine and hemlock. Pepper Hill Trail System is a 6.4- mile hiking only trail. Sand Springs Cross- Country Ski Trail is a 2.3-mile trail featuring a variety of slopes and curves, for those who want more than just some exercise. This trail is also open to hiking.
For motorcyclists, Wykoff Run Road in Quehanna Wild Area is one of the top-rated motorcycle rides in Pennsylvania, and it features amazing sweeps and turns following a photogenic mountain stream with pull-offs where you can explore several beautiful waterfalls.
The new Sinnemahoning Water Trail offers paddlers more than 75 miles to explore through picturesque landscapes. Spend the day in heart of Pennsylvania’s Wild Elk Country as you paddle through the Bennett Valley. Enjoy a scenic adventure in Bucktail Natural Area in Driftwood Valley and wonder at the beautiful Elk and Sproul State Forest in Sinnemahoning Valley. The Bennett Branch and Driftwood Branches begin as small streams high the mountains of Elk and Cameron Counties. As these streams reach the valley floors they are transformed into beautiful calm rivers. In the town of Driftwood, the Bennett Branch and Driftwood Branch converge to form the mighty Sinnemahoning Creek which is famous for outstanding paddling and fishing opportunities.
If relaxation is on your mind, Cameron County has beautiful scenery and wide-open spaces in Sinnemahoning State Park, Quehanna Wild Area, Square Timber Wild Area, and Wykoff Run Natural Area. These areas feature streams and forests that relax the mind and inspire the spirit.
The Big Foot Hunt is part of the annual Weekend in the Wilds event each July. You can purchase a license that gives you the opportunity to hunt for the elusive Big Foot on public land in Cameron County. There are rumored to be 12 Big “Foots” roaming the mountains of the PA Great Outdoors. Find one and be eligible for prizes. This fun event is a fundraiser for Mountaineer Search and Rescue. Weekend in the Wilds is full of family fun. Friday night begins with music, a quilt show and old fashion pie and ice cream social. Saturday vendors line the streets in downtown Emporium offering food, artwork, children activities, music, Big Foot Calling Contest and fun that continues to Cameron County High School with a night swim and fireworks echoing off the mountains.
For more information on events and places in our area, go to VisitPAGO.com/Cameron