Go deep in the woods for a perfect overnight adventure with waterfront camping and ridgeline views.
The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is a massive swath of land in northern PA. The ANF’s half-million acres is a solid two-hour drive from the city, starting a few miles north of Interstate 80 and extending into New York. Combined with nearby state forests and game lands, this area offers a dizzying array of outdoor activities.
This trail loop is deep in the forest, another hour or so north after crossing onto federal land. It starts a few miles east of the Allegheny Reservoir and heads west to an established campsite on the water. From there, the loop works in either direction: Clockwise takes you up and over a ridgeline in the first few miles, then wanders beside Morrison Run all the way to Morrison Campground. Hiking counter-clockwise follows the ridgeline before dropping steeply to the campsite.
The trails are scenic and mostly well-blazed, but as always, carry a map and/or a GPS. Stay alert as there are a few confusing trail intersections and hard-to-find blazes. Multiple water crossings mark the southern side of the loop; heavy rains or spring thaw can make some of them knee-deep.
The steep hillsides surrounding the trail are full of mossy boulders. This second-growth forest is mostly oak and hickory. Be on the lookout for some giant, old-growth white pines—there are a few mighty old-timers to be found out here.
Dispersed camping is allowed in the ANF, but the Morrison Campground is a sweet spot, and the fire rings make it the only legal place for a campfire. You’ll also get access to a vault toilet, picnic tables, and a water pump (though don’t depend on it; pack in all your water or bring a filter). There are 38 sites and no reservation system. Pay your $12 fee per site when you arrive. This is a walk-in/boat-in site only, and it can get busy during popular weekends.