Pennsylvania is home to the largest free roaming elk herd in the northeast United States, and visiting Pennsylvania Elk Country to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures has become an annual tradition for many people.
Hunted to extinction in Pennsylvania in the late 1860s, they were reintroduced to the state between 1913 and 1926.
The Pennsylvania elk herd is now estimated to number around 1,400, and is scattered throughout Elk, Potter, Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton, and Centre counties.
In putting together my extensive guide to the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette (the unofficial “Elk Capitol of PA”), I quickly realized I had FAR more elk photos from my visits over the past decade or so than I could use for any single article.
So I thought – why not put 50 or so of my FAVORITE Pennsylvania elk photos all together in one place, for folks to enjoy?
Who knows – perhaps some of you will become inspired enough after viewing them to put a trip to Pennsylvania Elk Country on your OWN PA Bucket List!
And if your ARE interested in checking out the elk herd live and in-person, you’ll want to read my write-up “The 15 Best Elk Viewing Destinations in Pennsylvania”, as almost every photo in the gallery that follows was taken at one of those 15 locations.
Springtime PA Elk Photos
Bull elk shed their antlers every year (usually February/March), and in the late spring and early summer as those antler regrow, they are covered in “velvet”, which makes the antlers appear even larger.
Here are a few more images of elk bulls in the velvet stage – locations are noted in the photo captions.
Late Summer PA Elk Photos
By late summer the antlers are fully regrown, the velvet has been rubbed off, and the elk are typically visible around dawn and dusk, often around the “food plots” planted specifically for the benefit of wildlife.
One of my favorite food plots to visit is at Bucktail Overlook in Cameron County, because even if there are no elk present, the views are still spectacular!
One visit here, and you’ll know why this place is sometimes referred to locally as the “Top of the World”.
Autumn PA Elk Photos
The crisp, cool air of autumn ushers in fall foliage and the start of the PA elk rut (mating season).
This is also the busiest time for tourists to visit PA Elk Country!
If you’ve never been to the PA Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, you need to see it at least once in your life.
Not only is it a terrific place to learn all about elk – it’s also a great place to see wild elk roaming the 3 food plots / viewing areas on the grounds of the Visitor Center.
The sound of bull elk bugling as they challenge other bulls is something you won’t soon forget!
Here are a few more photos of elk during the rut from in and around Benezette.
Late Fall PA Elk Photos
As the fall foliage season comes to an end and the tourist season wanes, my favorite time of year to photograph PA elk is just beginning!
The elk become easier to spot without the foliage on the trees, and they tend to concentrate more around the food plots which makes it easier to predict where they will be.
Here are a few more late fall PA elk photos.
Winter PA Elk Photos
When the snow starts flying, there are still plenty of opportunities to photograph the PA elk herd.
The winter coat of the elk is nearly 5 times thicker than their summer coat, so they look much “fluffier”.
Here are a few more wintertime PA elk photos for you to enjoy.
There’s never a bad time of year to photograph the PA elk herd!
The fact that these noble creatures have made a successful return to the PA Wilds is something to be celebrated and enjoyed.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip to PA Elk Country through the lens of my camera, and I encourage you to make the trip to see the PA elk herd an item on YOUR PA Bucket List!
As I mentioned, the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette serves as the epicenter of the effort to educate the public about the Pennsylvania elk herd.
There is NO COST to get in, and you will certainly leave there with a better understanding and appreciation for the majestic Pennsylvania elk herd.
Looking for directions to THE BEST elk viewing spots in PA?
Then be sure to check out “The 15 Best Elk Viewing Destination in Pennsylvania“, a handy “cheat sheet” I created that will help you find those sometimes-elusive elk!
Pennsylvania Elk Country is home to some incredible views, and you’ll find the best ROADSIDE ones to reach in my write-up “The 20 Best Scenic Overlooks in PA Elk Country”.
Looking to explore the nearby Quehanna Wild Area?
Then be sure to check out “The 5 Best Roadside Attractions in the Quehanna Wild Area” for a great introduction to this 75 square mile natural wonder!
Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County is home to what was once the longest and tallest railroad bridge in the world!
Exploring the Ridge Road Vistas in the Elk State Forest will introduce you to Pennsylvania’s most scenic State Forest road, featuring 6 world-class ROADSIDE vistas along a 3 mile stretch of road.
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