Visiting the Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument in Bedford County

The Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument on State Game Lands 26 in Bedford County Pennsylvania.

The Lost Children of the Alleghenies were two young brothers who wandered away from their Bedford County home in April, 1856 and perished in the nearby mountains, despite a massive search effort to save them.

Sign next to the Cox Monument on State Game Lands 26 in Bedford County PA.
Sign next to the Cox Monument on State Game Lands 26 in Bedford County.

On the 50th anniversary of their deaths, in 1906, a marble monument was erected on the spot their bodies were found, next to Ciana Run on present-day State Game Lands 26.

The Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument was dedicated on May 8, 1906.
The Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument was dedicated on May 8, 1906.

What Happened to the Lost Children of the Alleghenies

On April 24th, 1856 Samuel Cox returned home from a morning of hunting to discover that his children George (age 7) and Joseph (age 5) had wandered away from home.

"Wandered from Home April 24, 1856" engraved on the Cox Children monument in Bedford County PA.
“Wandered from Home April 24, 1856” engraved on the Cox Children Monument.

Samuel and his wife Susannah (who thought the children had gone hunting with Samuel) began to frantically search for the children, and were soon joined by friends and neighbors in the search.

The Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument along Ciana Run in Bedford County.
The Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument along Ciana Run in Bedford County.

By the second day of the search, nearly one thousand people had poured into the region to search for the children, but to no avail.

Ten days after the two boys went missing, a nearby farmer named Jacob Dilbert began having dreams in which he went searching for and successfully located the children.

Portrait of Jacob Dibert whose dreams helped locate the Lost Children of the Alleghenies.
Portrait of Jacob Dibert whose dreams helped locate the Lost Children of the Alleghenies (public domain image).

After having the same dream three nights in a row, he convinced his brother-in-law to accompany him and see if in fact he could locate this route he had followed in his dreams.

Ciana Run next to the Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument in Bedford County.
Ciana Run in Bedford County at the spot where the Lost Children of the Alleghenies were found.

Miraculously, they were able to locate several of the landmarks in Jacob’s dreams, and tragically they found the two boys deceased at the foot of a birch tree along Ciana Run, exactly as Jacob had seen them in his dreams.

The Lost Children of the Alleghenies were found by Jacob Dibert and Harrison Whysong on May 8, 1856.
The Lost Children of the Alleghenies were found by Jacob Dibert and Harrison Whysong on May 8, 1856.

165 years later, people still come to this spot to pay their respects to the two young brothers who tragically perished here in the forest.

Joseph and George Cox monument on State Game Lands 26 in Bedford County.
Joseph and George Cox Monument on State Game Lands 26 in Bedford County.

How to Find the Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument

The Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument (or Cox Monument as it is sometimes called) is located on State Game Lands 26 in Bedford County.

How to find the Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument on State Game Lands 26 near Blue Knob State Park.
How to find the Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument on State Game Lands 26 near Blue Knob State Park.

The parking area next to the trailhead leading to the monument is located along Monument Road at GPS coordinates 40.29302, -78.60492.

Parking area along Monument Road near the Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument.
Parking area along Monument Road.

And while the parking area is within the boundaries of Blue Knob State Park, the Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument is located on State Game Lands 26, so be sure to abide by the PA Game Commission’s blaze orange clothing requirements when visiting.

State Game Lands boundary near the Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument.
State Game Lands boundary near the Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument.

The hike itself is short – approximately 250 yards and essentially flat.

Bridge over Rhodes Run along the trail to the Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument in Bedford County.
Bridge over Rhodes Run along the trail.

After crossing two footbridges, the well-worn path leads right to the monument and sign that describes the tragic incident, at GPS coordinates 40.29476, -78.60351.

Trail leading to the Lost Children of the Alleghenies monument on State Game Lands 26 in Bedford County PA.
Trail leading to the Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument on State Game Lands 26.

The most challenging part of visiting the Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument is navigating Monument Road itself, as it is a “no winter maintenance” dirt road in rather poor condition.

Monument Road in Bedford County.
Monument Road in Bedford County.

If you plan on visiting the Lost Children of the Alleghenies Monument yourself, I would STRONGLY recommend you do so in a vehicle with good ground clearance.

Mementos left by visitors to the Lost CHildren of the Alleghenies Monument in Bedford County.
Mementos left by visitors to the Cox Monument in Bedford County.

Nearby Attractions

Pavia Overlook at Blue Knob State Park is located atop the second-highest mountain in Pennsylvania!

Exploring Pavia Overlook at Blue Knob State Park in Pennsylvania.
The author at Pavia Overlook.

23 Must-See Attractions in Bedford County is an exceptional guide to more even more nearby adventures in Bedford County.

October at Shawnee State Park.
Shawnee State Park in Bedford County.

From museums to mountain vistas, from scenic backroads to an abandoned superhighway – there are a TON of must-see attractions in Bedford County, PA!

Fall foliage at the Bedford Coffee Pot.
Fall foliage at the Bedford Coffee Pot.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.