In the summer of 2017, we stayed in the small oil town community of Tionesta, Pennsylvania. Located in a heavily forested region in Forest County, this area is noted for its big game and wildlife, fishing and hiking. Tionesta Area Recreation Campground is situated on the shore of Tionesta Lake and Dam. The campground itself, draws mostly locals who enjoy weekend getaways amidst the scenery and recreation.
Location: 477 Spillway Road, PO Box 539, Tionesta, Pennsylvania 16353
Date(s) Stayed: August 2017
Length of Stay: N/A (see review below)
Site #: N/A (see review below)
Cost per night (with taxes): $35
Discount: $17 Access or America the Beautiful Pass
Connections: Water/Electric Only – dump station at entrance
From Tionesta, Pennsylvania, travel 0.5 mile south on SR 36 and follow signs into the campground. The Tionesta Recreation Area Campground, situated near the Tionesta Creek, lies at the end of one of the branches of the Allegheny River. Because it’s off the beaten path, the campground attracts mostly locals who enjoy camping, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and hiking.
The road leading to the campground from SR 36 needed maintenance. The dirt road was full of potholes and in disrepair. However, we took into account of the bridge construction near the entrance of the campground.
In June 2018, we reserved our campsite through Recreation.gov. It was difficult to get a reservation as the locals made their reservations months upwards to a year prior. Individual campsites are released on a 6-month rolling basis which resulted in us not procuring a great site.
Checking in and Parking
The check-in staff was cordial and helpful. However, the young staff worker who checked us in looked at the size of our RV and shook his head. He told us ‘good luck fitting that thing in’ but he directed us through anyway.
The roadways in the campground were extremely narrow and tight. Navigating our fifth wheel through the campground was challenging even to leave. There was a serious need for tree pruning.
Once we arrived to our site and found that he was right. There was no way our 42′ fifth wheel would fit into our site let alone the roadways throughout the campground. The site-lengths on Reserve America were vastly miscalculated. Unfortunately, being we were arriving the beginning of the weekend, we were unable to be reassigned a larger site.
Needless to say, we could not stay at the Tionesta Area Recreation Campground. However, we found a short-term solution that we’ll get to at the end of this blog. That said, we still made our rounds of the campground to blog this review as if we stayed there.
Things to do nearby
Thumbs up or thumbs down?
Tionesta Area Recreation Campground was a huge disappointment. Its facilities and grounds are severely lacking proper maintenance. Even with our Access Pass, its not one that we would go out of the way like this one. Worth mentioning, the campground seemed to be overrun by locals which made it unwelcoming to distant travelers.
We would only recommend it to those who have much smaller RV units preferring a more “campy” atmosphere. We found the site fees did not commiserate the sites or amenities.
We ended up staying right outside the campground entrance in a grassy paid lot. The owner of the lot was very sympathetic to our predicament and allowed us to boondock for $10 per night. This was an extenuating circumstance that the owners of the lot allowed us.