The Great Outdoors: Looks Are Deceiving in Tionesta

maxresdefault-6Although Tionesta has the appearance of a sleepy, little town, its looks are deceiving. There is a great variety of recreation to be had in the area.

The town features the Tionesta Lake Recreation Area, which includes a 500-acre lake, water-skiing, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking, and sight-seeing.

A boat ramp and marina are on-hand for easy access to water sports. There is no horsepower restriction on the lake, so big boats and big engines are welcome. For those that don’t have boats, pontoon boats are available for rent. Call 814-755-4509.

Fish species include smallmouth bass, walleye, musky, panfish, perch, and catfish.

It is also where Tionesta Creek flows into the mighty Allegheny River.

There are several boat rentals available in the area for canoers and kayakers. They include Allegheny Wilderness Outfitters Canoe & Kayak Rentals in East Hickory, Eagle Rock River Front Canoe Rental & Motel in Tionesta, and Outback Adventures in Tionesta.

Last, but certainly not least, is Lighthouse Island.

The main attraction is the Sherman Memorial Lighthouse. It was built by a local resident as a family memorial and a visitor attraction. The island is located on the Allegheny River at Tionesta. Although it is privately owned, it is open to public use with a boat launch, fishing pier, and a one-mile walk/bike trail. The lighthouse is open for tours three times a year as a fundraiser for the local Lions Club. Private group tours are also available by appointment for a donation.

Hiking in the area features a number of mostly family-friendly trails which are fairly short. The trails include Hunter Run and the Summit, Plantation, and Information Center loop trail.

According to, the Hunter Run tract constitutes most of the Cornplanter State Forest and is home to more than eight miles of hiking loops and connector trails.

For the Summit, Plantation, and Information Center loop trail, it is 1.45 miles. It takes one to two hours to hike and is rated easy to moderate by

Wildlife viewing is also pretty good in the area with bald eagles using the area frequently. On a recent Saturday trip, I saw four. Eagles aren’t the only birds of prey you may see. Ospreys also make the area their home and hunting ground.

Waterfowl is also common, including Canada geese, mergansers, mallards, wood ducks, and a variety of species that depend on what time of year you are there.

Wildlife is also common with white-tailed deer, black bears, and wild turkeys being seen frequently.

You may also see river otters in the nearby Allegheny River.

For campers, Tionesta Lake offers plenty of sites, and the variety ranges from those with water and electric hookups to those where you have to use a boat to get to them.

Showers and a playground are available as well.
Outside the campground entrance is a beach area for swimming and picnicking along Tionesta Creek. However, no lifeguards are on duty.

All campsites are available for advanced reservations. Visit the Tionesta Recreation Area booth,, or call 1-877-444-6777 to determine if campsites are open and to pay for open sites.

For the Tionesta Lake office, call 814-755-3512.


“The Great Outdoors,” sponsored by the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, is a weekly blog by’s Scott Shindledecker. Plan your next outdoor adventure at or call (814) 849-5197 for more information.

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