The Beauty of Bedford County

Biking past meadows and farms. Hiking forested trails. Paddling calm lakes. In Bedford County, locals and visitors know no limits when it comes to outdoor adventure.

“This area is rich in natural outdoor recreation assets because of our rural and mountainous landscape,” says Jennifer Marsh, vice president of the Bedford County Development Association. “We’re home to many different trails, wide-open spaces and great jobs, too. Our prime location is close to many major markets, and we have a strong support system for budding entrepreneurs.”

Biking is big here, thanks in part to five designated loops, including one that leads cyclists through four of Bedford County’s 14 picturesque, covered bridges.

Hiking is popular too. The high-elevation Blue Knob State Park offers year-round adventure on 17 miles of moderate-to-difficult wilderness trails, while Shawnee State Park offers an easier lakeside stroll. Near the smaller Warriors Path State Park the H&BT Rails to Trails path skirts the Raystown branch of the Juniata River, a gentle waterway that’s great for canoeing, kayaking and fishing.

In winter, snowmobile trails immerse riders in white wonderlands at Shawnee State Park and Gallitzin State Forest. In other seasons, birders flock to the annual Allegheny Front Hawk Watch and take part in eagle counts, owl banding and other activities amid a commanding view of Shawnee Lake.

When it’s time to relax, Bedford County’s world-class resorts are ready and waiting. The 2,000-acre, award-winning Omni Bedford Springs Resort delights quests with a luxurious spa, restorative pools and stellar public golf course in the Allegheny Mountains. River Mountain Resort is another major draw with horseback riding, yoga retreats and glamping.

The area’s natural assets have even captured the attention of business owners with a tie to the outdoors. In 2007, REI opened its Eastern Distribution Center here and in 2002, Kate’s Real Food began manufacturing its organic energy bars in Bedford County.

“Demand for Kate’s bars is sky-rocketing,” says Bette Slayton, BCDA president and CEO. “It’s on every Delta Airlines flight, 100,000 passengers a day. And they’re all produced at The Organic Snack Company, a food processing facility in Bedford County.

From kayaking and biking to fishing and hiking, Bedford County offers a vast array of outdoor activities.