Surrounded by forests and mountains, this is a great base for camping.
Spanning more than 12,000 acres across New York and Pennsylvania, the reservoir, along with the surrounding Allegany State Park, Allegany Reservation, and the Allegheny National Forest, form one of the largest outdoor recreation complexes in the northeast. It’s a prime destination for water recreation, including swimming, paddling, boating, fishing, and flat water windsurfing, while hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling trails surround the area. Numerous camping options let you camp waterside, in the backcountry, or in the woods, and span primitive tent-only sites, RV sites with hookup, rustic cabins, and cozy cottages.
On the north end of the reservoir, Allegany State Park offers 65,000 acres of rare, old growth forest, two lakes, and rugged terrain with plenty of trails for hiking, biking, and snowmobiling. Two developed areas—Quaker and Red House—offer more than 300 campsites, 350 cabins (142 winterized), and eight cottages. Amenities include swim beaches, playgrounds, playing fields, boat and bike rentals, and boat launches. Just west of the state park, in the Enchanted Mountains of New York, Onoville Marina Park offers nearly 100 seasonal and transient camping sites, some right along the shores of the reservoir.
The northwestern part of the reservoir is surrounded by the Allegany Reservation of the Seneca Nation of Indians, which also includes several towns, the city of Salamanca, and the Seneca-Allegany Casino. Campers can stay at the Highbanks Campground, across the reservoir from Allegany State Park’s Quaker Area. Options include tent sites and RV sites with water and 30-amp electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire pits, along with spacious cabins and chalets, and amenities that include a boat launch, pool, picnic areas, and playground.
A mecca for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, the forest features 10 developed campgrounds. Willow Bay, Dewdrop, Kiasutha, and Red Bridge are the closest to the reservoir, and together offer more than 400 tent sites, RV sites, and rustic cabins. Most sites include picnic tables and fire rings, while many RV sites offer hookups and a dump station. For the best views, book a waterfront site or stay at a boat-in campground, such as Hopewell, Pine Grove, or Hooks Brook. With more than 500,000 acres, there’s plenty of space for dispersed camping.