Looking for somewhere new to explore? Hidden in Elk County inside the Allegheny National forest is a remote and beautiful park known as the Twin Lakes Recreation Area. It is located north of Wilcox, PA off of State Route 321. The landscape is heavily forested with a lush mixture of hardwoods and evergreens. Many natural streams and creeks meander through the landscape.
Visitors can enjoy camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming, and exploring local trails. Mill Creek offers native trout fishing, and can be accessed along the Mill Creek Trail. Twin Lakes is popular for its swimming beaches and lakeside fishing piers.
Hiking and backpacking are available along area trails. The Black Cherry National Recreation Interpretative Trail features nearly 40 interpretive displays along its path, and forms the eastern end of the Twin Lakes Trail, the second longest in the ANF.
Facilities: Visitors can stay in family campsites (some include electric hookups), double campsites and group tent campsites with pavilions. Other facilities include both flush and vault toilets, hot water showers, both pressurized and pump water systems, trailer dump stations, paved paths and roadways and playgrounds. Amenities such as firewood, ice, interpretive services and 24-hour campground attendants are offered at the site.
Campsite reservations are accepted (1-877-444-NRRS, or the website at http://www.recreation.gov). First come, first serve sites are also available.
History: Twin Lakes was once the site of factory buildings, stores and row houses owned by the McKean Chemical Company which made wood alcohol. A company splash dam, used to augment water levels for the chemical plant downstream once occupied the site of today’s dam. When McKean Chemical Company closed in the 1920s, the USDA Forest Service acquired the property.
In 1936, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed the present dam on Hoffman Run, creating the swimming impoundment. They built the lower campground, picnic area, pavilion and bathhouse. The “twin” impoundment was never built, as money planned for its construction was diverted to build Loleta Recreation Area near Marienville, PA.
Find more information on this and other great parks in the region online at VisitPAGO.com or call the PA Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau at (814) 849-5197.
Each campsite contains a picnic table, fire ring or grill, and accommodates a tent, and parking for two vehicles and a wheeled camping unit. There is a $5.00/day/vehicle fee for additional vehicles and they must park in public parking areas.
Note: A railroad underpass located on the entrance road (Forest Road 191) prevents vehicles taller than 10 foot clearance to pass.