Allegany State Park is, at 65,000 acres (26,000 ha), New York State's largest single property, and the largest NY state park outside of the Adirondacks and Catskills.

Understand edit

A view of Red House Lake during the week of Christmas, 2023

The Park is broken up into two main areas, but has an extensive system of trails (hiking in the summer and skiiing in the winter) that break down into a much more extensive system. Red House is generally easier to get to, has more services, and the beautiful Red House Lake with its historic lodge. Quaker is more spread out, but has a larger lake, more backcountry hiking, and more camping. For cross country skiing and mountain biking, head uphill from Red House towards Salamanca and find the Art Roscoe Ski Area. Follow signs for Thunder Rocks for a beautiful and wilder section of boulders akin to Rock City Park in Olean formed by the same geologic process.

Cutting across the park is the North Country Trail's first section of the Finger Lakes Trail, two multi-week backpacking routes that extend to South Dakota in one direction and to Vermont in the other.

As hunting is legal in the park and the park is well within bear country, please take precautions. See Safety, below.

History edit

Before Western settlement, Allegany State Park was a part of the Seneca Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Seneca Nation still exists in the nearby town of Salamanca and on the banks of the Allegheny River as you enter the Quaker Area. The part of the river adjacent to the Quaker entrance is the upper limit of the Allegheny Reservoir, which sunk the historically significant Cornplanter Tract of the Seneca Nation when the dam was built in 1965.

The park was founded in 1921 with the Quaker Area and has expanded to its current size.

The word "Allegany" has many local spelling variations. Two variations are dominate in the region: Allegheny is used for the River and the National Forest in Pennsylvania while Allegany is used for the state park and New York State Town.

Landscape edit

Allegany State Park is geologically an unglaciated plateau. This means it is where the glaciers that made most of the Southern Tier flat stopped allowing its highlands to stand. Over time, the highlands were eroded by rivers giving both the State Park and the National Forest in Pennsylvania their topography. This is also why areas such as Thunder Rocks exist.

Most of the park is full of dense second growth forest with rolling topography beneath.

Climate edit

The park attracts visitors yearround for different reasons. Most visitors head to Allegany State Park in the summer for kayaking, hiking, swimming, and camping, but skiing and hunting make up a significant portion of use in the rest of the year. Additionally, hikers and campers frequently visit in the "off season" when NYS Parks does not collect fees.

Get in edit

By foot, enter from backcountry trails in Pennsylvania or by the North Country Trail in reverse as it enters Salamanca.

  • 1 Red House Entrance. This entrance is closer to I-86 and Salamanca than Quaker and has more amenities (namely in the lodge). Most visitors will start at Red House
  • 2 Quaker Entrance. Quaker is further south from Red House and is the primary camping and cabin access. It's lake is larger and can be accessed without entering the park. The exit from I-86 also connects this entrance to Pennsylvania and the Allegheny National Forest.
  • 3 Bradford Entrance. This entrance goes directly to Pennsylvania and will connect you near Bradford PA's high school. A good way into or out of the park if you are interested in Kinzua Bridge or the Zippo Museum.
  • 4 Salamanca Entrance. The most direct entrance to the Art Roscoe Ski Area, but further away from I-86. Most convenient for those coming from Ellicottville
  • 5 Limestone Entrance. An off road entrance towards Thunder Rocks. This road is not gated so no fee is collected. The road is not maintained in the winter and is extremely difficult without 4 wheel drive even in the summer.

Fees and permits edit

Like other NYS Parks, no entry fee is charged in the off season of fall, winter, and early spring.

The $7 vehicle fee is collected 9AM–4:30PM daily during the high season between late June and early September, and on weekends and holidays for an additional month on either end (see the website for exact dates).

Get around edit

Allegany State Park has 3 major roads that connect the entrances and corners of the park. The ASP 1 connects Salamanca to Quaker. The ASP 2 connects Bradford to Red House and intersects the ASP 1 at Red House Lake. The ASP 3 connects Bradford and Quaker. In the winter, the ASP 1 is closed between Red House Lake and the Quaker Stores. During this time of year, the ASP 2 can be taken instead.

Many trailheads, campgrounds, and attractions are on "backroads" which are not serviced in the off season and which close in the winter. It is best to check road closures if visiting in the winter or plan on visiting attractions near the main roads through the park.

See edit

Map of Allegany State Park
  • 1 Stone Tower. A historic stone tower between the Art Roscoe and Red House Lake not unlike a castle tower. Closed during winter.
  • 2 Red House Lake. A manmade lake overlooked by the Allegheny Mountains and Red House Lodge.
  • 3 Science Lake. A smaller less visited lake frequented by kids learning to fish in the summer.
  • 4 Quaker Lake. The largest lake in the park. Its western end is outside of park boundaries and can be accessed for fishing and kayaking without needing to pay a fee.
  • 5 Mt. Tuscarora Fire Tower. A roughly 5-mile (8-km) hike round trip, plus elevation, in the Quaker area of the park. Closed in the winter. Please consult park maps for precise location, distance, elevation, etc.
  • 6 Red House Lodge. A massive lodge with ranger services, park offices, a restaurant, and a store.
  • 7 The Defunct Zoo. Behind Red House Lodge are the ruins of a defunct zoo.
  • 8 Bear Caves. Near the road in the Quaker area. A series of large rock formation which has allegedly housed bears. Today, too many people visit for the bears to stick around.
  • 9 Thunder Rocks. A series of large rock formations. Be careful when visiting, it is best to have a 4 wheel drive car and to visit in the summer.
  • 10 Bridal Falls. A small waterfall off the ASP 1 between Red House and Quaker.

Do edit

  • 1 Kayaking (Allegheny Reservoir). Red House or Quaker Lake both have kayak launches. Additionally the north end of the Allegheny Reservoir (shown) is accessible near the Quaker entrance and can be used for multi-day kayaking into the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania.
  • Swimming. Red House and Quaker Lake both have free swimming area. Operations vary depending on availability of lifeguards and season.
  • Fishing. Make sure to have a NYS license.
  • Hunting. Make sure to have a NYS license and keep an eye on the border if hunting in the south. If you leave the park, you enter Pennsylvania.
  • Hiking. Beehunter, Mt. Seneca & the Bear Caves, Mt. Tuscarora, and Red House Lake Loop will make good starting places.
  • Wildlife Spotting. Bald eagles have been known to hang out on Quaker Lake.
  • Backpacking. Lean-tos and shelters can be found around the park (consult maps). The park is connected to the south to the much larger Allegheny National Forest by the North Country Trail.
  • 2 Cross Country Skiing (Art Roscoe Ski Area). Although winters in Allegany State Park have been seeing less snow, when it does land, cross country skiing is still popular. That is best done at the Art Roscoe Ski Area. For downhill skiing, see Ellicottville nearby.
  • Mountain Biking. In the summer, the Art Roscoe Ski trails are used for Mountain Biking. Trail conditions can change quickly and it is best to check before departing.

Buy edit

  • Red House Lodge. Restaurant and Camp Store. Hours vary seasonally.
  • Quaker Stores. Camp Stores for Quaker area campers. Hours and operations vary seasonally.

Eat edit

Charcoal grills and pavilions can be found in picnic areas around Red House Lake and, to a lesser extent, Quaker. Pavilions can be rented, but when not, are first-come, first-served.

Drink edit

Sleep edit

Lodging edit

  • 1 Salamanca. The nearest town with hotels is Salamanca, NY. Specifically note the Seneca Nation's Casino, which is the highest end hotel in the area.

Camping edit

  • 2 Quaker Area Campgrounds & Cabins. Various cabins & tent sites can be found near this intersection in the Quaker Area. Cabin prices vary based on cabin age and size and the date which you plan to rent.
  • 3 Beehunter Cabins. These cabins also double as one of the trailheads for the 6 mile Beehunter trail.

Backcountry edit

Stay safe edit

Bears edit

Allegany State Park is well within "bear country." Bears within the Northeast are black bears. Most bears can be scared away with noise and a large presence if on the trail. If you feel the need, bring and know how to use bear spray. While hiking, it can also be wise to make frequent noises to notify bears of your presence.

When camping, food, trash, and toiletries should be kept in a vehicle or bear proof container. Such storage should be at least 100 yards away from your shelter.

Hunting edit

When engaging in outdoor activities in fall, winter, and spring, check New York State's hunting season. If hunting season is active, wear brightly colored clothing and gear to maintain visibility. Frequent noises can also help keep hunters aware of your presence.

Go next edit

This park travel guide to Allegany State Park is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!