Exploring the Ridge Road Vistas in the Elk State Forest

whitehead Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.

Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest is the most scenic State Forest road in Pennsylvania!

Tacoma pulled off at Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.
A roadside pull-off at Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.

Featuring 6 world-class vistas along a 3 mile stretch of road, it’s like a mini-version of the famous Skyline Drive in Virginia.

And while there are several ways to access the scenic portion of this north-south running road, I’m going to show you what I consider to be the “most civilized” way for the average person to access this stunning stretch of dirt and gravel in the Elk State Forest.


How to Find Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest

From Route 872, directly across the road from Sinnemahoning State Park’s 40 Maples Day Use Area, turn onto Brooks Run Road.

If you navigate by GPS, use coordinates 41.42066, -78.03105 to find this intersection.

Intersection of Brooks Run Road and Route 872 in Cameron County Pennsylvania.
Intersection of Brooks Run Road and Route 872 in Cameron County.

An obvious landmark for this intersection (as well as a great place to buy snacks, gasoline, and ice cream!) is the Lakeview Store, located right next to the intersection.

The Lakeview Store at the intersection of Route 872 and Brooks Run Road in Cameron County.
The Lakeview Store at the intersection of Route 872 and Brooks Run Road in Cameron County.

Once on Brooks Run Road (also a dirt/gravel state forest road), procede 5.2 miles.

Brooks Run Road in the Elk State Forest.
Brooks Run Road in the Elk State Forest.

Brooks Run Road is itself a very pretty drive, running parallel to Brooks Run most of the way as the road winds its way uphill towards Ridge Road.

Brooks Run Road in Cameron County Pennsylvania.
Brooks Run Road in Cameron County

At the crest of the ridge, Brooks Run Road dead-ends into Ridge Road at a T-intersection.

Ridge Road in the Cameron County portion of the Elk State Forest.
Ridge Road in the Cameron County portion of the Elk State Forest

From this intersection, you’ll make a right to reach the scenic overlooks along Ridge Road.


Directions to the scenic views along Ridge Road in Cameron County.
Directions to the scenic views along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

Exploring the Scenic Overlooks Along Ridge Road

I’ll elaborate on each vista along Ridge Road in the order you would encounter them driving north from the intersection with Brooks Run Road.

I’m also including a photo from each vista with my truck in the frame, not because I’m sponsored by Toyota (I wish!), but to show you just HOW roadside each of these overlooks truly are.

Square Timber Vista

Square Timber Vista is a west-facing vista that looks out over the Square Timber Wild Area.

Square Timber Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.
Square Timber Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.

If you are navigating by GPS, use coordinates 41.42762, -78.11508 to find Square Timber Vista.

Square Timber Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County Pennsylvania.
Square Timber Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

An interpretive sign at the vista lets you know how the name came about.

Squaretimber Vista sign along Ridge Road in Cameron County.
Squaretimber Vista sign along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

Second Square Timber Vista

Just a few hundred yards north of the “first” Square Timber Vista, you’ll encounter a “second” Square Timber Vista, also facing west and looking out over the Square Timber Wild Area.

The upper Square Timber Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County Pennsylvania.
The second Square Timber Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

I’m not sure why a different name wasn’t given to this vista to avoid confusion with the first, but suffice to say you’ll see the same signage and a slightly different angle of the forest below from this vantage point.

Use GPS coordinates 41.43250, -78.11355 to navigate to this sweet little spot along Ridge Road.

The upper Square Timber Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.
The second Square Timber Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.

Norcross Vista

Located at GPS coordinates 41.45137, -78.11212Norcross Vista is the third roadside view you’ll come to along Ridge Road if headed north from Brooks Run Road.

Norcross Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.
Norcross Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.

Norcross Vista is an east-facing view, meaning it would be a prime spot to catch a Cameron County sunrise.

Norcross Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County, Pennsylvania
Norcross Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

Whitehead Pavillion

Conveniently located between the first three and second three vistas along Ridge Road is the Whitehead Pavillion.

Whitehead Picnic Pavillion along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.
Whitehead Picnic Pavillion along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.

Located at GPS coordinates 41.45738, -78.11130, Whitehead Pavillion an ideal spot for a remote lunch-break.


Whitehead Vista

Whitehead Vista offers an marvelous western view of the Elk State Forest.

Whitehead Vista in early May in the Elk State Forest.
Whitehead Vista in early May in the Elk State Forest.

Use GPS coordinates 41.46187, -78.11272 to navigate to Whitehead Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

Whitehead Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County.
Whitehead Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

A sign at the vista tells you the origin of the “Whitehead” name.

Whitehead Vista sign along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

Logue Run Vista

Logue Run Vista is located along Ridge Road at GPS coordinates 41.46888, -78.11331.

Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.
Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.

This east-facing view would be another ideal spot to watch the sunrise in the Elk State Forest.

Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County PA
Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County

As with several of the other vistas along Ridge Road, a sign at the overlook explains the origin of the “Logue” name.

Logue Run Vista sign along Ridge Road in Cameron County.
Logue Run Vista sign along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

Upper Logue Run Vista

Upper Logue Run Vista is located a half-mile north of Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road at GPS coordinates 41.47610, -78.10768.

Upper Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.
Upper Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in the Elk State Forest.

Another bench with an east-facing view awaits you at Upper Logue Run Vista.

Upper Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County PA
Upper Logue Run Vista along Ridge Road in Cameron County.

To return to “civilization” after seeing the sixth overlook, you can either continue north for 4 miles and hang a right on Bailey Run Road, or backtrack to Brooks Run Road and hang a left.

In either event, those roads will bring you back out on the state-paved Route 872 near Sinnemahoning State Park.


Nearby Attractions

The 20 Best Scenic Overlooks in PA Elk Country will introduce you to even more vistas in the Elk-Cameron-Clinton county area.

Bucktail Overlook Elk Viewing Area in Cameron County Pennsylvania.
Bucktail Overlook in Cameron County.

Sinnemahoning State Park encompasses 1,910 acres of magnificent scenery and outstanding wildlife habitat, and spans from Cameron County in the south to Potter County in the north.

Stevenson Dam Overlook at Sinnemahoning State Park in Cameron County.
Sinnemahoning State Park in Cameron and Potter counties.

Exploring the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette tells you all you need to know to visit the unofficial Elk Capitol of Pennsylvania.

Sunrise at the Elk Country Visitors Center in Benezette Pennsylvania
Sunrise at the Elk Country Visitors Center in Benezette.

Exploring the Austin Dam Ruins in Potter County will help you understand the story behind the second-deadliest flood in PA history, as well as show you what you can expect to see at the memorial park that exists there now.

Freeman Run passing through the ruins of Austin Dam in Potter County PA.
Freeman Run passing through the ruins of Austin Dam in Potter County.

The 15 Best Elk Viewing Destinations in Pennsylvania will show you where to find the region’s most famous permanent residents.

Elk herd at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette.
Elk herd at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette.

Exploring the Abandoned Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County will shed light on the story of the paper mill that is forever linked to the Austin Dam disaster mentioned above.

Looking down on the ruins of the Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County.
Looking down on the ruins of the Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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