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Vacationing in Pennsylvania Wilds? Hike yeah, it’s loads of fun!


The fine folks of Bradford, Penn., want you to take a hike.

Now, don’t take that the wrong way. The people of this charming, scenic town just want to share their trails, attractions and the Allegheny National Forest with you.

Exploring the great outdoors is a pastime that families look forward every summer.

Bradford and its surrounding areas offer an array of things to do to keep families on the move and entertained. With hiking, ATVing, mountain biking, camping, fishing, kayaking and visiting historic sites, there’s never a dull moment.

The town is full of historic attractions such as the Zippo-Case Museum , the Marilyn Horne Museum and the Main Street Movie House .

Bradford and the Pennsylvania Wilds are the perfect places to create new summer memories. Here are some highlights of fun things our family did on a recent visit:

THE KINZUA SKY WALK

Easily the highlight for our family was visiting “one of the top 10 most scenic sky walks in the world.”

Erected in 1882 as a railroad trestle that crossed the Kinzua Gorge, it was 92-metres tall, 625-metres long and the world’s tallest railroad bridge at the time.

In 2003 a tornado hit the area and knocked down 11 of the 20 bridge towers. It was decided not to rebuild the bridge but to use what still remained standing and turn it into a 68-metre-high sky walk.

The state-of-the art visitors’ centre educates people on the bridge and the surrounding area.

To get a closer look at the destruction the tornado caused, hiking trails lead down into the gorge where rusted bridge towers are scattered.

Parking for and admission to the Kinzua Sky Walk and visitors’ centre are free.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

The Allegheny National Forest covers 209,000 hectares.

Within it there are 323 km of hiking trails, 85 km of cross-country skiing and 29 km of interpretive trails. There’s also more than 160 km for ATVs.

If you’re a boat enthusiast, there’s 25,749 km of lakes, rivers and streams in the Pennsylvania Wilds.

In 2003, the Allegheny River was named one of the “40 Great Fall Weekend Getaways” by National Geographic Adventure.

Whether it’s a leisurely kayak, canoe or motor boat ride, there’s something for everyone.

Make sure to bring your fishing rod as well, as the area has nearly 2,000 designated trout streams. Anglers can also look forward to catching walleye, muskie, rainbow trout and smallmouth bass.

LODGING

There are 15 campgrounds in the Allegheny National Forest, with more than 1,000 sites. The Kinzua East KOA Campground offers a friendly, well-maintained and family environment.

If camping isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of lodging options in Bradford, which is just a short drive from the forest.

The Best Western Plus is in the heart of the historical district and is within walking distance to restaurants, grocery stores and attractions. It has a heated outdoor pool, restaurant and bar, and complimentary buffet breakfast.

ZIPPO/CASE MUSEUM

Bet you didn’t know Zippo lighters originated from and still are manufactured in Bradford.

Founder George G. Blaisdell fabricated his first version of the Zippo in 1932.

The Zippo/Case Museum offers exhibits where tourists can learn about the heritage of Zippo lighters and Case knives.

Some of the highlights include seeing the first Zippo lighter and learning about its history with movies through the years.

The 15,000-square-foot attraction will keep kids entertained as well.

Admission to the Zippo/Case Museum is free.

CULINARY DELIGHTS

There’s no shortage of restaurants and pubs to satisfy your taste buds.

One of our favourites was “ A Slice of the 80s .” Walking through the front door is like stepping into a time warp, taking you back to a time when Pac-Man, Ghostbusters and the Smurfs were as popular as Minecraft, Avengers and SpongeBob SquarePants are today.

A Slice of the 80s serves up great wings and pizza and much more.

Another one of our favourite eating spots was the Bradford Brew Station .

In 1945, the Bradford Brew Station was the first legal brewer to open in the town. Today, the modern, open-concept craft brewery does a great job of looking back at its history as well as honouring the area’s local oil heritage.

There are 14 different craft beers on tap, including the Oil Drummer’s Ale, which we highly recommend. As for the food menu, they are famous for their delicious burgers.

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