Tioga State Forest derives its name from the Seneca phrase “meeting of two rivers.” It covers 161,890 acres in Bradford County and Tioga County.
The forest district hosts the Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.” Tioga State Forest also features awe-inspiring views and miles of clean, cool streams like Cedar Run and Babbs Creek, and is one of eight state forests located in the Pennsylvania Wilds region.
The Tioga State Forest lies completely within the large physiographic province known as the Appalachian Plateau, which covers all of north central and western Pennsylvania and parts of adjoining states. The topography within the forest is typical of this province in that it is rugged and irregular in pattern.
The state forest lies completely within the Susquehanna watershed and its quality streams are habitat for native brook trout.
Many unique ecological and geological features are found in the Tioga State Forest. There are even some specifically identified for their importance. The Pine Creek Gorge Natural Area is a National Natural Landmark. Others include the Black Ash Swamp Natural Area which contains the headwaters of Asaph Run and Reynolds Spring Natural Area which contains a high altitude boreal swamp. Visitors will find unique boulders, rock outcroppings, swamps, vernal pools, diverse habitats, and more in this vast and remote forest.
The Tioga State Forest offers nearly endless opportunities for outdoor recreation.
26 miles of the acclaimed Pine Creek Rail Trail runs through the heart of the district offering bicyclists, walkers, and cross-country skiers stunning views of Pine Creek and the rugged mountains. Hikers will find stunning views of the canyon from the West Rim and Barbour Rock Trails. Other noteworthy hikes include Sand Run Trail which highlights a waterfall, the Mid State Trail, and the Long Branch Trail.
Many shared use trails are found throughout the forest offering mountain bikers and horseback riders an opportunity to experience nature at its finest.
The large, contiguous blocks of forest and its diverse habitats with clear, cool streams offer rewarding hunting and fishing opportunities.
Hundreds of miles of public use roads are a perfect gateway to access the forest and are frequently used to view wildlife and brilliant fall foliage. Many roadside vistas offer inspiring views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
In the winter, snowmobiling and cross country skiing are popular. Rafting, canoeing, kayaking and fishing are favorite activities on Pine Creek in the Spring.
For maps of these areas visit the Tioga State Forest maps webpage.
The Tioga State Forest is managed primarily for dispersed recreation and facilities are generally limited. There are improvements along the Pine Creek Rail Trail including restrooms, benches, bike racks, and improved parking areas.
There are also three State Forest Picnic Areas: Asaph, County Bridge, and Bradley Wales. There are restrooms, grills, and picnic tables at each location and there are also pavilions at Asaph and County Bridge.
Additionally, there are four improved camping areas: Hoffman and Tiadaghton in the Pine Creek Valley, and Asaph and County Bridge in the northern part of the state forest. These offer picnic tables, fire rings, and latrines but have no other amenities.
Leonard Harrison State Park and Colton Point State Park are surrounded by the Tioga State Forest and feature some of the best views of the PA Grand Canyon. Other nearby parks include: Hills Creek State Park and Mount Pisgah State Park.
Other recreation opportunities in the area include Tioga-Hammond Lakes managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, numerous State Game Lands, and the PA Lumber Museum.
The Visit Potter-Tioga Visitors Bureau provides more information about the surrounding areas.
Occupants are also subject to the following permit conditions:
1. Campfires, when permitted, require that adequate precautions be taken to prevent the spread of fire into the forest. All other fires are prohibited. Campfires shall be attended at all times. Campfires in both fire rings and in fireplaces are prohibited when the forest fire danger is determined by the Department to be High, Very High, or Extreme and between March 1 through May 25 without authorization from the District Forester or designee. This prohibition does not apply to self-contained camp stoves when used in a safe manner. A person causing a wildfire, in addition to possible criminal penalty, is liable for all damages, costs of extinction and fines.
2. Dead and down wood may be gathered and burned when permitted but may not be removed from the site. Power tools and chain saws are not permitted.
3. Destruction of Property, damaging, defacing, or removing any sign, structure, equipment or other material is prohibited.
4. Occupants shall include at least one person 18 years of age or older. This permit may not be reassigned or transferred.
5. Pets are permitted on State Forest land if they are kept under control and attended at all times. Animal waste must be disposed of properly.
6. Disorderly conduct including the following is prohibited. Fighting or behavior that is threatening, violent or tumultuous; using obscene language or making obscene gestures; creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which does not serve a legitimate purpose of the actor; creating an unreasonable noise that may disturb visitors to State Forest land.
7. Sanitation and Food Storage:
Washing in a water outlet, spring, lake or waterway and discharging sewage, or gray water on or into ground or surface waters is prohibited. Toilets must be used where provided. In other locations, self-contained toilets must be used when required or human waste deposited in hole 4-6 inches deep, 200 feet from water, campsite, or trails and covered and disguised. Food must be stored properly . Littering or disposal of garbage or other material is prohibited.
8. Parking which obstructs a gate, road, trail, access way, entrance, exit or road turnaround on State Forest land is prohibited. Parking in area designated for a person with a disability, by the Department, is prohibited unless the vehicle has a valid plate or placard.
9. Cutting, picking, digging, damaging or removing a living or dead plant, vine, shrub, tree or flower on State Forest land without written authorization of the District Foresters or a designee is prohibited. Edible wild plants or plant parts may be gathered without authorization if they are gathered for own personal or family consumption.
10. Removing or disturbing historical or archeological resources from State Forest land without written authorization of the District Forester or a designee is prohibited.
11.Target Shooting of any kind is prohibited.
Violations: Violations of forest rules and regulations, or violations of a condition of this permit could result in any or all of the following consequences:
1. The permit may be revoked. This would result in the occupants being required to vacate the facility immediately.
2. The occupants may be required to leave the forest.
3. The occupants may be cited for a violation of the forest rules and regulations, a summary offense.
4. The occupants are responsible for any damage to campsite and related facilities that occurred during or due to their occupancy.