(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — A bridge in Pennsylvania was called the “eighth wonder of the world” when finished in 1882. In 2003, a tornado destroyed most of the historic Kinzua Viaduct.
The remains of that day became the Kinzua Sky Walk, and has taken over as a top draw to the area… but there is so much more to do.
Jill McCormick takes us on a tour of the Allegheny National Forest in this week’s Destination PA.
The Kinzua Viaduct stood for more than a century until a tornado brought it down in 2003. Now called the Kinzua Sky Walk, it’s one of the top 10 skywalks in the world.
“It’s been visited by every state in the union, considering Hawaii and Alaska,” said Linda Devlin, executive director, Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau.
Visitors can walk almost the length of a football field to the edge and look into the gorge through the glass floor.
Just like many attractions in the Allegheny National Forest, the visit is free.
Visiting the sky bridge is on a lot of people’s to do list, but there are a lot of other things to do when you visit the Allegheny National Forest.
“Well it is like a hidden gem, most people don’t know about it. We have 513,000 acres of public land for free recreation, so just about anything you can think of in the outdoors you can do here,” said Devlin.
You can do it at no cost in most cases. It will cost you to rent a cabin, or if you want to rent a kayak to make your way down the Allegheny Reservoir.
If staying on land is more your speed, there are 600 miles of trails for hiking, biking or snowmobiles.
“What’s your passion? Do you wanna camp? Do you want to hike? What do you consider a hike, is a 1-mile stroll or is it 97-miles of backpacking in the deep forest?”
Rimrock Overlook offers hiking and amazing views of the Allegheny Reservoir and surrounding hills. While there, check out a set of stone steps with handrails that allow visitors to climb up and through the boulders.
“I would go up and do the major overlooks on the national forest. You can do Rimrock, and there’s a nice picnic area there with a hiking trail. You definitely need to bring your camera because it’s just beautiful with the water in the woods,” said Devlin.
A short drive away is Jake’s Rocks, offering views of the Kinzua Dam and the surrounding forest. It is also known for great picnic areas and biking.
Do yourself a favor and plan ahead.
“It’s big, I mean it’s 513,000 acres. In order to see the most you need to plan where you’re driving so you’re not backtracking and doing a zigzag. So yes, it works better if you have a plan,” said Devlin.
Put that plan together with stop one being the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Center in Bradford, Pa. But before you head into the forest, don’t leave Bradford without a stop to the Zippo/Case Museum… it’s on the way.