Located along I-80 that cuts through the middle of Pennsylvania Clearfield County PA is the perfect stop on your way to everywhere. It provides a great place to stretch, explore, and discover.
From elk to rock people, unique museums to incredible art, to great coffee to incredible food and a chance to stay overnight in President Theodore Roosevelt train car.
Really, a quick stop won’t be nearly long enough to enjoy Clearfield County PA. Here’s why you’re going to love your visit and what you’re not going to want to miss.
What To See and Do in Clearfield County, PA
Did you know that Pennsylvania is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd in the Northeastern United States?
Elk can be seen year-round in the area, but fall is the best viewing time, in my opinion. The fall colors provide a great backdrop to the elk grazing in the fields. There are a number of great elk viewing areas starting at the elk Country Visitors Center in Benezette.
When you leave the visitors center take a right back onto the main road and there are a number of other viewing areas just a short drive away.
Plus, if you make reservations well in advance you can take a wagon ride through the fields as you look for elk.
Go early in the morning just as the sun starts to break across the horizon or early in the evening right before dusk for the best viewing times.
During the fall if you listen closely you’ll hear elk bugle. It is such an unforgettable sound and fun to hear.
The Grice Museum in Clearfield, PA is a classic and antique car museum in addition to having a vast array of wild animal mounts.
Cars are featured from the early 1900’s to today’s specialty cars.
In addition to the gorgeous cars there is an impressive collection of model cars that line display cases along the walls.
There are over 70 cars on displays and 100s of mounts.
There are two cars on display in the gift shop that you may have the opportunity to sit in for a photo opp.
Drive along Rockton Mountain Hwy and watch for the rock families the live along the road.
These adorable structures are just the type of happy that I love to see when I road trip. I love their little twig arms they use to wave to those driving by.
A number of the rock families include a pet which, I must say, wins me over every time.
WINKLER GALLERY OF FINE ART
Located in DuBois, PA this gallery is hiding an incredible gem inside. The last surviving toy carousel built in the 1800s in Europe has found a permanent home at the Winkler Gallery of Fine Art.
Its an incredible work of art and it’s the only place in the U.S. to see this beauty. In addition to the carousel, the museum has a number of full-size carousel animals and a few other pieces of memorabilia.
The toy carousel is fabulous, but that does not discount the work of the artists that fill the gallery with paintings, sculptures, photography and other pieces of art from all mediums.
THE DEPOT AT DOLITTLES STATION
Dolittles Station is an entire entertainment complex that you’re going to want to visit.
From a dinosaur museum and ax throwing to an overnight stay in a presidential train car to great food and a brewery.
The Dinosaur Museum located at the Doolittle Station entertainment complex is a newer Clearfield County museum and it keeps adding dinosaurs and soon dragons!
In fact, the dragons are so new that they were still under wraps. They are going to be fantastic.
The museum opened in 2018 and lets kids and kids at heart walk through the jungle and safely encounter dinosaurs that roar and move.
The exhibit is ever expanding as new dinosaurs and displays are added on a regular basis.
There is also a room for birthday parties and a gift shop with the most affordable souvenirs I’ve stumbled across.
After you visit the museum be sure to try your hand at ax throwing, the newest addition to the complex.
In addition to dinosaurs, dragons and ax throwing there is model railroad museum, putt putt golf, and an ice cream parlor!
Get out and hike at Bilger’s Rocks, rock outcroppings 300 MILLION YEARS in the making. These unique rock formations are so much fun to climb through and around. Honestly, I can’t wait to go back and explore Bilger’s Rocks again, hopefully, when the weather is better.
We visited on a rainy and cold day (note hat and gloves in photos), but it absolutely did not stop us from having a great time.
Visit the dining room, crawl through rock tunnels, squeeze through formations, and climb them. You can explore the rocks from above and below.
Visit the “ice cave” so named because of how long the ice stays in the cave and crawl through 25 feet of pitch black until you see a crack of light at the opposite end. A great visit for those that love caves. Me, I’ll stay in the light.
If you need a place to get out and stretch on a long road trip I can’t recommend Bilger’s Rocks enough. It’s a place you just have to see for yourself to truly appreciate.
The property also provides picnic tables and camping perfect for those that can stay a bit longer.
A word of caution. When exploring from above be sure to watch for crevices in the ground that are easy to fall through.
BEAVER MARSH TRAIL
There is a lot of great food and drink happening in Clearfield County and if you want to find a place to walk some of it off look no further than the Beaver Marsh Trail.
PARKER DAM STATE PARK
Parker Dam State Park is a great spot to get out and play. You’ll find camping, hiking to scenic views, numerous trails, fishing, and wildlife watching.
We took a hike to the top of Sullivan Mountain and enjoyed the scenic overlooks of Moose Run Valley. The hike is pretty low key except for the last little bit to the summit. However, just take your time and you’ll be fine. It’s totally worth the effort!
You’ll also want to take the trail that rock hops across the river. So much fun!
CLEARFIELD COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Take a step back in time at the Clearfield County Historical Museum. Set in the lovely Kerr House there are three levels of exhibits.
I highly recommend spending a bit of time on each level that showcases different timelines and lifestyles.
I did stumble across this Santa Claus figure and I’m pretty sure he moves around at night and might always be found in a different location (shudder). I found this guy in an upstairs bedroom in the corner. When you visit see if he’s in the same place.
In addition to the museum there is an extensive genealogy center is an extensive resource for tracing family lines. They also have a number of published books and maps that you might want to add to your own library.
Where To Eat | Drink in Clearfield County, PA
This brewery is creating some of the best brews in the area, in my opinion. Plus, they are pairing it with some delicious foods. Located at Doolittle Station, the brewery is located in, surprise surprise, a train boxcar.
This is a delightful place for tea. Located in a historic home the tea house offers up afternoon tea that is hearty enough to get you through the day. From savory to sweet the tea house has something that everyone will love. Word to the wise if pumpkin cheesecake is on the menu save room and order it!
The tea house also has an adorable gift shop complete with tea, tea accessories and some home and fashion items.
The perfect place to find the Italian food you’ve been craving. Luigi’s is a local favorite and once visitors discover this restaurant they return again and again. Proof of the restaurant’s popularity is obvious by the photos and posters that paper the walls.
Coffee shops are kinda my thing so finding independent coffee shops when I travel is always on my to-do list and I was thrilled to find this one. This coffee shop moved into an old bank and it is awesome! Great coffee with an incredible atmosphere plus a gift shop in the old vault. Love it!
Located in downtown DuBois this handcrafted candy shop is filled with delightful sweet treats. The chocolate-covered potato chips are the best seller, but the shop also offers a number of other chocolate options. Definitely a must when you visit DuBois.
Enjoy Southern style BBQ north of the Mason/Dixon Line. Kyler’s Applewood BBQ provides a full menu with all your favorites including ribs, pulled pork, and brisket. Tip a few of our signature cocktails back with some friends at the bar.
Apparently I was so hungry when we visited that I forgot to take a photo of my food (SHOCKING, I KNOW!!!). Let’s just say, the food was incredible. I had a piled high pork sandwich that was delish.
Home to the world’s largest burger challenges this is a not to be missed restaurant.
We stopped and enjoy a bit of a massive burger, but my main meal was a salad which was quite delicious.
Where To Stay in Clearfield County, PA
DooLittles offers overnight guests a once in a lifetime opportunity to stay in a 1901 Presidential Pullman train car.
The train car sleeps four people comfortably, (can accommodate up to six people) and is equipped with a custom-built shower & bathroom facility attached. It was first built in 1901 and used up until 1952 as the private transport car for the president of the EJ&E railroad. The car is a palace on rails.
Only $200/night and includes a light breakfast.
If the Presidential Pullman is a little more than you need Doolittle’s offers additional refurbished train cars for overnight stays starting at $100/night.
This is the nicest Comfort Suites I’ve ever stayed in. It is so very lovely. The outside is just beautiful, the rooms are spotless and incredibly comfortable. In addition, the hotel restaurant, the Tannery Bar & Grill, serves up some delicious bites.
Looking for more places to visit? Check out these things to do in central Pennsylvania.
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