Elk County | Pennsylvania
Home » Hunting & Shooting, National Forests » Elk County | Pennsylvania

Situated in the central region of Pennsylvania is the one elk herd that has been introduced, lived and proliferated east of the Mississippi River. The herd began with just a few animals and has been carefully documented and worked with by Pennsylvania Game Commission officers to produce what is a herd of healthy hearty animals that are a delight to view and magnificent to photograph.

Elk County Pennsylvania, famous for, guess what, elk, is a place to view them and so much more.

Rampant with wildlife and among the most beautiful and photogenic areas in the world, autumn hiking there brings with it challenges and rewards. The steep hills, rough terrain and many privately owned areas bring challenges to the hiker, however if you are careful and avoid the lands that are private, there are plenty of places where you will be able to hike into the densely forested areas, and view the elk on their own turf.

Winslow Hill Pennsylvania
Winslow Hill Pennsylvania

Granted the hike is not for the novice. Thick underbrush and heavy woodlands make it a challenge, and when the addition of the steep grades and mountain foothills is included, it is a challenging walk, but you will find it well worth your time.

The scenery, deep golds and reds interspersed with the oak leaf brown and the bright greens of the evergreen trees is more than spectacular. Add to that the bugling of the male elk in rut, and the sight of the black bear who wander in and out and you’ve found a small scene might be out of several hundred years ago.

Unspoiled is the word that springs to mind.

For those who are a bit less ready to expend vast exercise, Winslow Hill, accessible from the winding dirt roads, offers you an access to the elk from the vehicle and pull off areas along the road to stop and photograph or simply view the elk.

Bull Elk During Rutting Season
Bull Elk During Rutting Season

Benezette Township, from which you access Winslow Hill, the prime viewing area for the elk herd, is warm and welcoming and provides one old style cafe restaurant where you can find hot coffee and cocoa, as well as a breakfast when your viewing is completed.

Your best bet will be to arrive in Elk County well before sunrise, in order to find not only a good viewing area, but to not miss the elk as they arrive in the fields for their morning feed.

Yearly drawings for the chance to hunt the elk, to cull the herds take place with several lucky hunters being able to take both antlered and antlerless elk in Pennsylvania.

My own personal experience with the elk herds was viewing them, photographing them and being able to move to within just a few car lengths away, and it was both exhilerating and exciting for me to get the chance to see these gigantic animals close up.

Elk Herd in Benezette Township
Elk Herd in Benezette Township

Benezette township, near Winslow hill is the best area to view the elk, and if you are interested in spendinga few days watching, documenting or viewing the other wildlife in the area which is more than prolific, there are cabin rentals in the area that will place in you in a rustic cabin setting, with the basic amenities, but be within a stones throw of Benezette to afford you the chance to be there early or late, as you desire.

Contrary to popular belief, the elk are not always bedded down at night, but in many cases are wandering and photo opportunities exist at night as well as during the day.

Pennsylvania’s elk herd, as well as the other wildlife there, including pheasant, black bear and coyote, coupled with the huge bull elk bugling each morning and evening, make this trip well worth your time to take.

Black Bear on Winslow Hill
Black Bear on Winslow Hill

To find directions to Elk County and arrange for a cabin to stay in, pay a visit to Pennsylvania Cabin Rentals


  1. Sharon WeyandtSharon Weyandt
    March 24, 2008

    My family and I stay in Elk County every year at a little place in Bennezette that is owned by the Bennezette Store. We love going up to see the Elk,deer,bear and whatever else that we can see. The people there are really friendly and nice too.

  2. Jeff BrownJeff Brown
    August 20, 2009

    Benezette / Winslow Hill area is absoluely beautiful as a stand alone destination. The elk and bear viewing makes for a memory of a lifetime. If you ever think about visiting, take the time and just do it. You won’t be disappointed.

  3. Lynda DavisLynda Davis
    November 7, 2009

    My husband Mark and I think the area around Benezette is the perfect place to vacation and we do it often. The elk, deer, occasional porcupine or bear, fax, etc., make it a great spot to bring children, grandchildren, and now the great grandchildren. Whether we are staying in a campground near Benezette, or in nearby Parker Dam, we always make a trip up Winslow Hill and the surrounding area looking for wildlife. We are seldom disappointed. We saw as many as 89 in one evening in Oct., and felt fortunate to see a bear on Gray Hill in Aug.
    We feel blessed to be able to have such beauty so close to home. We live in Ohio, and it is about 2 1/2 hrs. driving to get here, usually a little longer. This year we were here 6 times, (one time was in Titusville), and we enjoy driving the forest roads, sometimes not seeing another vehicle for hours, but throughly enjoying the beauty of Pennsylvania. We were raised in Pennsylvania, he was born here, and we both love it. We sang a song in highschool called “Pennsylvania”, and it ends, “no matter where I roam, my only home is Pennsylvania”. That is how we feel today. The people are friendly, helpful when needed, and we love the entire area, especially the magnificent elk herd we get to see when we go there. We just finished our last camping trip for the year and already are pining for spring. We may just come up in the winter and rent a room if we get to “homesick” for the Pa. Wilds!
    Lynda & Mark Davis, New Springfield, Ohio

  4. dandan
    January 8, 2010

    my family and i own a cabin actually on winslow hill in benezette and i can remember feed the elk lucky charms from my hand and sled riding aroudn them in the yard. This november my brother shot a black bar 200 lbs across the street from camp. GREAT PLACE

  5. Lady MacbethLady Macbeth
    January 27, 2010

    I”m in love with that area actually. I moved away from Pennsylvania about 7 years ago and the one thing I miss most about it was coming down to watch the elk feed and the bugling in the fall.

  6. LisaLisa
    June 7, 2010

    I love Saskacthewan is the best iland in the whole world.

  7. Grumpy MikeGrumpy Mike
    August 14, 2011

    Other than Hicks Run what other camping areas have people enjoyed? Elk State Forest Camping

  8. LarryLarry
    September 10, 2012

    Benezette is a very remote and pretty area but I would avoid the Cabin Creek Lodge. We stayed for a few days and had roaches as roommates and the smell of septic all around the place. It is a shame to pay to rent a place and don’t wish to sleep there so as not to bring roaches home in your luggage.

Your Name
Your Email Address
Your Comment
Want your picture next to your comment?
Join Gravatar and upload your profile image! (opens in new window)

Keep Reading »

Outdoor.com Your resource for information on places, activities, skills, gear and adventure travel. Featuring backpacking, hiking, mountain biking and road cycling. copyright © 1999-2017 outdoor.com. RSS Feed