Allegany State Park is one of the favorite camping destinations of multi-generational families living in Western New York. Allegany State Park has been attracting families and adventurers for decades. The natural beauty of Allegany and the wide range of outdoor activities make this a prime camping destination.
Allegany State Park offers a number of recreational activities, as well as things to do just off the beaten path. There are dozens of hiking trails and streams located inside Allegany State Park, as well as two lakes for boating, swimming, and fishing. Nearby attractions add even more fun for a trip to Allegany State Park.
Over the past ten years, I have collected a list of family favorite activities for Allegany State Park. The following ideas are a sampling of some of the things we have enjoyed over the years at Allegany State Park. Try a few on your next visit to Allegany.
1. Take a Hike
Allegany State Park has dozens of marked hiking trails, for both the casual hiker and for the more adventurous, experienced hiker looking for a challenge. The Bear Caves trail and Black Snake trail are both good for beginners, located on the Quaker side of Allegany State Park. The most challenging trail is the North Country trail, which has a 26 mile length. Firetower trail is another challenging trail for adventurous hikers.
The marked paths and scheduled hikes with guides make hiking at Allegany State Park a must-do on every trip.
2. Visit the Bear Caves
Though Allegany State Park does have black bears in the area, the Bear Caves attraction is not really the home to local bears. The unique rock formation on top of a mountain allows hikers to crawl through some of the caves, made by nature thousands of years ago. Guided tours to the Bear Caves are conducted regularly in the summer months. A flashlight is recommended for this approximate 1.5 mile hike up and down. The terrain is suitable for older children or younger children who have adult assistance and supervision.
3. Visit Quaker or Red House Beaches
The two main areas of Allegany State Park, Quaker and Red House, both have their own lake and beach. The lakes are ideal for fishing, renting small boats (Red House), and for swimming in the summer months. Lifeguards and beach hours are posted each summer from the end of June through Labor Day. Picnic areas and snack stands are located at each beach. There are even water docks out in the water for kids to jump off of during beach hours.
4. Participate in the Guided Naturalist Programs
The naturalists at Allegany State Park are among some of the most kid-friendly and informative teachers you will find. Each naturalist works for Allegany State Park as a guide to various nature programs and activities. Kids and adults are usually welcome to all the scheduled activities and a list is provided for dates and times at any check-in desk. Snakes, Swamps, and Critters, the Bear Caves hike, and Star Gazing are just a few of the past programs offered.
5. Attend the Hootenanny
The Allegany Hootenanny has been a regular performance for over 30 years at Allegany State Park. On one weekday each week, Wednesday in past years, the Hootenanny singers visit the Quaker Ampitheater at Allegany State Park to lead the audience in a few hours of campfire songs. Campers bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the Hootenanny, but there are some benches and a stage set up. Kids can join the Hootenanny on stage for several songs and adults can join in on this rowdy, hootinanny night of fun.
6. Make a Natural Souvenier
Natural crafts can be a great way for kids to create a memory of their trip to Allegany State Park. One of the natural crafts we have made over the years is a fungus decoration. It may sound a bit unsettling, but the same fungus decorations are often carved and sold at craft stores. You just need a piece of gray tree fungus, common in the Allegany State Park woods, and a sharp twig. You can inscribe a drawing or quotation on the front of the fungus. Once dried, your message will preserve the memory of your trip. Other times, twigs and pine needles have been used to make small log cabins.
7. Go Spotting
The road between the Quaker and Red House areas at Allegany State Park stretches for nine miles of winding, woodsy road. This route is a favorite for after-dark spotters who travel the road at slow speeds searching the brush for native animals. Racoons, possum, deer, skunk, and other small animals can usually be spotted.
8. Have a Campfire
The campfire pits at Allegany State Park are perfectly set up and ready for nightly campfires. Many guests also use the campfire to test out some outdoor cooking. Pack some marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars for evening smores or buy one of those metal pie makers for campfire cooking. Pie filling and buttered bread will create campfire mini-pies.
9. Visit the Beaver Dams
The Allegany State Park map will identify the exact park locations for the Allegany State Park beaver dams. There are two official dams onsite, one near the Bradford exit on Quaker side, and another in the Red House area. The dams have active beavers who can be seen building and swimming in the large ponds near the beaver dams. Allegany State Park also offers a naturalist guide for specific programs at the beaver dams. This is an experience worth seeing at least once.
10. Thunder Rocks
Thunder Rocks are a must see at Allegany State park. The unique boulder-sized rocks are natural rock formations that have been there for thousands of years. Thunder Rocks can be climbed with caution.