ELK COUNTY, Pa. — Named for the wild elk that historically roamed this area and were reintroduced in the early 1900s, Elk County is home to nearly 1,400 of these magnificent animals and seeing them in the wild is an incredible experience.
The town of Benezette is the “Elk Capital of Pennsylvania” and home to the Elk Country Visitor Center on Winslow Hill. This beautiful education and conservation center has interactive displays, presentations, wild elk viewing blinds, and specially planted grazing pastures to attract wildlife.
Each Summer, the center hosts the annual Elk Expo, a popular event featuring everything elk.
Benezette is located along Route 555, also known as the Elk Scenic Drive, which has roadside parking areas where you can pull over and see elk and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Nearby, the Mt. Zion Historical Park honors local veterans and citizens in a restful setting that includes info on the area’s heritage and a spectacular view from “The Cross.” The Fred Bartholme Memorial Chapel offers visitors a beautiful view of the Buttermilk Run Valley as well.
A little further north, the towns of Ridgway, Johnsonburg, and Wilcox also entice visitors with their outdoor recreation opportunities and historical attractions. The wild and scenic Clarion River flows through these towns and offers anglers a hidden fishing destination for trophy brown trout and exceptional paddling adventures.
Ridgway, one of Pennsylvania’s best-kept secrets, was founded in the 1800s and has done a remarkable job of preserving the grandeur of its Victorian past. Its Lily of the Valley National Register Historic District features several Victorian homes and mansions along Millionaire’s Row. The town is also close to the Allegheny National Forest, and it hosts the wildly popular Mountain Fest each January.
Each April is the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. This event attracts thousands of visitors and hundreds of skilled and highly creative sculptors from around the world.
In St. Marys, the town’s strong German Catholic heritage greets you at every turn. Since 1872, the Straub family has been brewing downtown at Straub Brewery, recognized as an American Legacy Brewery. Stop for a sample from the Eternal Tap and enjoy a meal at the Tap Room and Visitor Center.
The lively downtown and Million Dollar Highway offer visitors the perfect place to spend a few hours browsing unique shops and restaurants.
Decker’s Chapel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the smallest churches in the country that welcomes visitors from dawn to dusk. The St. Marys Municipal Airport hosts drag races once a month during the summer.
You’ll find great camping and outdoor activities here at the nearby Allegheny National Forest, Bendigo State Park, East Branch Lake, the Wild & Scenic Clarion River, and Twin Lakes Recreation Area, so this truly is a county with something for everyone.
Find more fun things to do, see, and experience in Pennsylvania’s Great Outdoors region online at VisitPAGO.com.