Old-​Growth Majesty

Hearts Content National Scenic Area
Courtesy of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Snow drapes the leaves and underbrush of a historic forest in Warren County. Snow drapes the leaves and underbrush of a historic forest in Warren County.
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

One of the most spectacular places to visit in western Pennsylvania is an old-​growth forest in the Hearts Content National Scenic Area within the Allegheny National Forest. A timber company gave the property to the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1920s, and today this area is home to one of the last remaining untouched and intact forests in the Northeastern U.S., with 300– to 400-​year-​old trees that tower to 160 feet.

Located near the town of Tidioute in Warren County, this scenic area within ANF’s 342-​acre Hearts Content Recreation Area hosts a 20-​acre stand of uncut white pine, Eastern hemlock and American beech forest. The tree species here are among the tallest of their kind in the Eastern U.S.

An easy one-​mile loop trail circles the ancient trees, where contemplation and grandeur are imparted just by standing at the massive trunks of these beautiful giants — particularly the pines, which soar well above the rest of the canopy. Winter enthusiasts can enjoy a 6.4-mile cross-​country ski trail or hike on more trails for longer outings through the adjacent Hickory Creek Wilderness. Nearby parking and picnic areas are available.

Hearts Content became part of ANF when the forest was established in 1923, and its protection was further ensured when it became a National Natural Landmark. However, only the surface land was in public ownership, leaving the centuries-​old forest vulnerable to gas and oil development. More comprehensive protection was provided when the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy obtained subsurface ownership on 122 acres and transferred these rights to the U.S. Forest Service in 1990, ensuring the permanent protection of this unique and timeless forest.

For more information about Hearts Content Scenic Area, go to fs​.usda​.gov/​a​l​l​e​g​h​e​n​y.


Explore Related Stories:

Other stories in this category: « Erie Bluffs State Park Ode to an Ash »
Welcome to Pittsburgh Quarterly
Win a two-night stay at Hotel Monaco

To enter to win a two-​night stay at Hotel Monaco plus dinner for two at The Commoner, sign up by June 20 for our great (and free) newsletter.

We’ll keep you updated with web-​only stories and art plus exclusive news and updates. Get more between the issues! Fill out the form below, and be sure to check your email for a link to confirm your subscription.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is a fantastic revival of the beautiful James H. Reed building, originally erected in 1903. The classic building in Downtown Pittsburgh serves as a captivating destination for both leisure and business travelers journeying to the Steel City. The stunning Beaux Arts-​style of the building is perfectly matched with the locally inspired interior of the hotel, which is both vibrant and whimsical. The Commoner, adjacent to Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, is an 120-​seat gastropub serving breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, helmed by executive chef Wyatt Lash. The restaurant’s menu showcases approachable, seasonal favorites, an expansive beer program and cocktails that lean toward the classics with an original twist.

Entry is open to anyone in the United States 18 years or older. Blackout dates may apply.

View past newsletters here.

Win a two-​night stay at Hotel Monaco plus dinner for two at The Commoner!

To enter, sign up below for our great (and free) newsletter by June 20. We’ll keep you updated with web-​only stories and art plus exclusive news and updates. Get more between the issues!

Already signed up? Please click the “Don’t Show This Again” button below

First Name(*)
Please let us know your name.

Last Name(*)
Invalid Input

Your Email(*)
Please let us know your email address.

Please check the box for security purposes.
Invalid Input

Don't have an account yet? Register Now!

Sign in to your account.