Welcome to Big Valley
Visitors to the area are charmed by Big Valley’s idyllic rural Pennsylvania landscape. The valley’s open spaces are filled with rural scenes of classic Americana. The gentle swells of the valley floor provide picturesque backdrops for the area’s farms and towns. Fertile fields and clear running streams help to highlight the health of the local environment.
Situated between Standing Mountain and Jacks Mountain along Route 655, Big Valley runs from Sieglerville to Allensville and beyond into Huntingdon County, covering approximately 27 miles from end to end. Officially known as Kishacoquillas Valley (a name derived from Chief Kishacoquillas of the Shawnee tribe, who befriended early settlers) the area is commonly known as Big Valley.
Several small towns, and a smattering of villages are separated by miles of scenic countryside. Winding country roads are the perfect place to relax and catch glimpses of one of the largest Amish communities in the state. The area’s relaxed, inviting atmosphere keeps visitors returning to enjoy the community’s charm and the countryside’s pure wholesome nature. For residents of surrounding counties, exploring Big Valley is a favorite summertime activity, with many making a weekly pilgrimage to the area to stock up on garden-fresh produce, dine in local restaurants, visit area shops and take in “Sale Day,” as Wednesdays in the valley are known.
Sale Day started decades ago as vendors started to set up stands at the Belleville Livestock Auction and Farmer’s Market. The livestock auction continues to this day, but the “Sale Day” phenomenon has spread. Surrounding communities (and everywhere in between) have joined in and the resulting weekly event attracts thousands of families and visitors. People come from great distances to explore the valley’s country roads, dropping by the farmer’s markets, roadside stands, flea markets and livestock auction, which set up from early in the spring until late in the fall, as local weather conditions allow.
Part of the event’s appeal is the opportunity to interact with the local Amish population. Big Valley is Amish country, and the area is home to thousands of hard working families whose religious beliefs lead them to eschew many modern conveniences. A drive along the back roads of Big Valley is like a trip back into America’s past. Many fields here are worked using horse teams and equipment that you might see in an agricultural museum elsewhere. Family farms and homesteads are nestled into the rolling hills covered with corn, wheat and hay. Around every corner you’ll find cows grazing in the pastures, sheep and goats playing along fence rows, and work horses cooling off under a shade tree. Be alert for slow moving horse-drawn buggies.
To learn more about their history and way of life, visit the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Belleville, open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
While the rural beauty of this valley will charm you, the people of Big Valley are industrious and a large number of businesses call Big Valley home, with more appearing all of the time.
The simple beauty of Big Valley works its way into your heart. Visit once and you’ll soon be planning a return trip.