What to do in Tioga State Forest

The name Tyoga, an Indian word meaning the meeting of two rivers, is the name of a tribe of Seneca Indians who once inhabited the area. The Tioga State Forest, consisting of 160,000 acres of state forest land in Bradford and Tioga Counties, was named after this tribe of Indians.

The purpose of the original acquisition of state forest land was to protect the headwaters of Pine Creek. The first purchase was in June 1900 when 900 acres along Cedar Run were acquired from F. E. Watrous. Acquisition has continued through the years. The last large tract of 13,828 acres was transferred from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1955 and is known as Resettlement Lands. It is located on Armenia Mountain in the headwaters of the Tioga River.

The majority of the tracts of land which today make up the Tioga State Forest were originally held by large lumber companies and land holding companies.

A major development on the forest came in 1933 with the establishment of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps at Darling Run, Elk Run, Leetonia and Dixie Run. Work activities included construction and maintenance of roads, trails and bridges. The original mapping and timber typing began during this period. Timber stand improvement practices also began at this time. The CCC also developed picnic areas and scenic vistas.

An interesting activity that took place on the Tioga State Forest was the operation of birch stills. These stills, which operated during the 1940's processed bark from birch trees to produce birch oil. The only remnant of this industry is a still located at Morris. It has not been operated since 1972.

The area encompassing the Tioga State Forest has always been basically a timber producing area. In the early days, large sawmills located at Ansonia, Leetonia and several other locations were principal employers in a timber industry that flourished for nearly 50 years. The composition of today's forest is a result of timber cutting and fire during that period.

Parts of the following watersheds are located on the Tioga State Forest: Tioga River, Pine Creek, Crooked Creek, Babbs Creek, Slate Run, Kettle Creek and Marsh Creek.

The Blossburg Area of Tioga County was one of the first areas in Pennsylvania where coal was produced and coal mining has played a major role in the development of the area.

Many acres of state forest land in the district have been strip mined in the past, followed by extensive reclamation. Today these areas are once again growing productive vegetation.

Many miles of trails are available for hiking in the Tioga State Forest, revealing some of the most beautiful scenery in Pennsylvania. A large portion of the visiting public drive the forest roads to enjoy the scenery. To enhance this experience, the Bureau maintains several lookout areas. Among the most scenic vistas are the Cushman Vista along the Cushman Road in southwest Tioga County, two vistas along the Cedar Mountain Road and the Pine Creek Vista on the West Rim Road. These vistas afford the motorist a spectacular view of the Tioga State Forest.

The Tioga State Forest has two beautiful waterfalls. One is located at Fallbrook in the southeast part of Tioga County and the other at Campbells Run north of Tiadaghton.

Another point of interest is the Hesselgessel Mill Stone site located on the Hesselgessel Road about four miles north of the Asaph State Forest Picnic Area. James Hesselgessel cut stone from this site for local grist mills during the 1830's. Some of the partially cut stone still remains.

The Tioga State Forest, consisting of 160,000 acres of state forest land in Bradford and Tioga Counties lies within the north central region of the state. It is approximately 20 miles south of the New York state line.

Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Tioga State Forest area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius). Precautions should be made when traveling this snowy area in the winter.

District Forester
One Nessmuk Lane
Wellsboro, PA 16901

Phone: 570-724-2868

Fax: 570-724-6575

  • Tioga State Forest Travel Q&A