We have a lot in Buffalo, but backpacking is just not one of them. Hiking yes, backpacking, no. But…. there is a place only 1 1/2 hours from Buffalo where there really is a decent amount of backpacking! Yay!!!!! Good news!
Many of you have heard of Allegheny, especially if your from the area. And mostly everyone I know has visited and/or camped in Allegheny State Park. It’s the go to camping place around here. Definitely the closest and the biggest so it makes sense. Unfortunately, you can’t backpack in the state park, which is where Allegheny National Forest comes into play.
Allegheny National Forest is actually connected to the State Park. Just south from it, in the state of Pennsylvania. And has a massive reservoir which is great for camping. There are campgrounds that you pay for, which is cool, but this gal likes to take it off-roading. And when I say off-roading, I mean backpacking.
There are a good amount of trails through the National Forest which can keep you busy for plenty of weekends, exploring through the majestic land! OK, maybe its not majestic. But it has rolling hills, running streams, a big reservoir to admire… Oh yeah! Sounds good to me! Sign this girl up! Here is a topo you can get of the area if interested.
The area has several options for loop hikes, (you can also go here for day-hiking and cross-country skiing for that matter), and there is also a long hike, a national hike called the North Country National Scenic Trail that goes right through the heart of the National Forest. Here is a link to a hikers book that did the whole trail twice.
Most people have heard of the AT (Appalachian Trail) from Maine to Georgia, and the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). Well get this…. The North Country Trail will be longer than the AT and PCT (not put together) after it is completely built. It is estimated that the trail will be 4,600 miles long as apposed to the AT being roughly 2,181 miles long (currently). The trail is not completely done, but the section through Pennsylvania, is fully constructed. Check out this map! North Country Trail.
As far as the loop hikes go, there are two major sections that offer a fair amount of hiking. There is the Morrison Loop, Morrison Hiking Trail that is roughly 12 miles, so its perfect for a overnight trip, and there is the Tracy Ridge section. Tracy Ridge Trail Map. The Tracy Ridge Section offers a few more possibilities for a day trip, for an overnight trip, and even the possibility for a weekend excursion. As I mentioned before there are also campgrounds, I just like camping more desolate. You do not need a permit. If you would like to, you can tell the rangers where you are staying. There is a ranger station nearby.
I have been backpacking here at least 20 times, on both loops and the North Country Trail. Every time I went, I had an enjoyable time. I had no problem with wildlife or people. There is also an adequate amount of water. It is a very lush environment so you should have no problem with finding water.
The most previous time I backpacked here, which happened to be one week ago, March 25th, 2016, was definitely one of my favorite times, even though I froze my ASS off! My girlfriend Joyce and I went and it snowed during the day and at night the temperatures dropped so low that we had to snuggle together to stay warm. I was already very close to her, but after the trip, you just develop such a tight bond with the people you backpack with. You really get to see each other in the rawest element and get down to peoples core. It’s a very interesting experience backpacking with your friends. You might think you already know the person, but backpacking gives you an opportunity to get to know them even more! And I got to experience that with one of my closest friends Joyce, and I love her even more! Here are some of our memories!
Well, I hope this information helped! Some times I get a little stir crazy being in the same place and getaways help. If you live in Western New York, or close to it, this is a little getaway you can have that won’t cost much money, I mean very little. Just the gas to get there and food you need to sustain yourself. And you don’t have to take any time off of work. I would wait for warmer weather. Man that was a cold weekend. Burrr!!!!! Thank you for reading!
Here’s a video on what the trail looks like 🙂