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Ellen Matis

The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region of the state is one that’s filled with endless opportunities for adventure. Made up of five counties — Clarion, Cameron, Elk, Forest and Jefferson — the region offers unique wildlife viewing, outdoor adventure like no other, and the opportunity to visit some extra special events.

Elk and Cameron Counties within the region offer a glimpse into the heart of rural Pennsylvania — where you can spend a day on the trails without seeing another soul, or see a wild elk along a path in all its beauty.

Exploring Cameron County

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The George B. Stevenson Reservoir is a great stop for an afternoon paddle through wildlife preserves./Ellen Matis

Boaters and fishermen will find that the 145-acre George B. Stevenson Reservoir within Sinnemahoning State Park is a perfect stop in Cameron County to paddle or fish for trout, bass and panfish. Just before the boat launch, stop and walk to the George B. Stevenson Dam. Built in 1955, the dam is 166 feet high, towering over the reservoir and offering a flood control storage capacity that spans 1,470 acres. During your walk, you’ll find information signage that explores the history of the structure.

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At Sizerville State Park, find a variety of hiking trails for every skill level./Ellen Matis

The Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park is a must-see stop. Housed in a state-of-the-art building, the center features interpretive exhibits and information about green building design. You may even spot an eagle or elk while you’re visiting. It’s located at 4843 Park Road in Austin.

In Driftwood, find unique rock formations and breathtaking views from vistas including Mason Hill Overlook, known as “Top of the World” on the Fred Woods Trail. The loop is 4.57 miles. Hikers can also visit Sizerville State Park.

WHERE TO STAY

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The Towers Victorian Inn is a stop on the historic walking tour in Ridgway./Ellen Matis

The Hygrade Inn in Emporium is a boutique hotel offering a unique experience in a quaint small town. Rooms are beautifully decorated and equipped with their own bathrooms. Sit on the front porch and admire the tree-lined Main Street of Emporium while you sip your morning coffee. It’s within walking distance to Emporium’s restaurants and downtown shops.

Exploring Elk County

Begin your trip to Elk County with a stop at the newly opened Straub Tap Room. Straub Brewery, founded nearly 150 years ago by Peter Straub in St. Marys, is the third oldest family-owned and operated brewery in the United States. In summer 2019, a 100-plus-year-old brick home originally built by two of the Straub brothers was renovated and transformed into the brewery’s Visitor Center and Tap Room, complete with an outdoor beer garden.

During your stop in St. Marys, be sure to check out Decker’s Chapel, one of the smallest churches in the U.S.. Measuring 12 feet by 18 feet, the chapel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Straub Brewery recently opened its new Tap Room. Try a flight to taste a variety of brews./Ellen Matis

The Elk Country Visitors Center is unlike any other visitors center you’ve seen. The center serves as the premiere elk-viewing location in the county, with trails leading to multiple elk-viewing spots. But, you might get lucky and just see one on your drive to any of your destinations.

In Ridgway, history buffs are sure to love the “Lily of the Valley” Historic Homes Walking Tour. Pick up a brochure that includes a walking tour map, and walk the beautiful, tree-lined streets of Ridgway to see 21 of the town’s most historic homes. You’ll find homes of all different styles and architecture along the way.

WHERE TO STAY

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The "Lily of the Valley" Historic Walking Tour gives visitors the opportunity to see many styles of historic architecture./Ellen Matis

You can stay in one of the historic homes on the walking tour — the Towers Victorian Inn. Along South Street in Ridgway stands an Italianate-style mansion built during the Civil War. The inn boasts six guest rooms, decorated with period-appropriate decor and antiques throughout.

Other stops to consider in Elk County include the Woodring Farm elk-viewing trail, Benezette Wines and Triple Nickel Distillery.

Plan your adventure and your stay at visitpago.com.

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