Cook Forest State Park


A couple hikes with their dog at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.

Hiking Trails

There are 29 miles of hiking trails that explore many habitats including the old growth timber.

 

The 8,500-acre Cook Forest State Park lies in scenic northwestern Pennsylvania. Once called the “Black Forest,” the area is famous for its stands of old growth forest. Cook Forest’s “Forest Cathedral” of towering white pines and hemlocks is a National Natural Landmark. The Clarion River connects Clear Creek State Park to Cook Forest State Park along a scenic 10-mile stretch of river which is popular for canoeing and rafting.

Clear Creek State Park is only 11 miles away.

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Hiking   -  Biking   -  Horseback Riding   -  Picnicking   -  Canoeing   -  Fishing   -  Hunting   -  Scenic Views   -  Snowshoeing   -  Cross-country Skiing   -  Sledding   -  Ice Skating   -  Sawmill Craft Center and Theater   -  Environmental Education   -  Organized Group Tenting   -  Cabins   -  Camping


Shaded by a hemlock tree, a picnic table is near the Clarion River at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.Picnicking: Picnic tables are along the Clarion River in the River Cabin Picnic Area, in the Sawmill Area and near the Log Cabin Inn. Two large picnic pavilions and one small pavilion may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. There are ADA accessible restrooms near the picnic pavilions.

Click on this orange dot to make a reservation at a Pennsylvania State Park.

Make a reservation.


Canoeing: The Clarion River provides excellent canoeing especially during the spring and fall. The river is rated Class C (beginner) with an average downward flow of four miles per hour.

Two popular canoe trips, 4 and 10 miles in length, are a popular attraction. Rental canoes are available from commercial sources outside of the park. Both parks offer public canoe launches.

Go to the U. S. Geological Survey Web site for the water level of the Clarion River at Cooksburg. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/uv/?site_no=03029500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00010

Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.

The following concessionaries offer canoe, kayak and tube rentals:
Cook Forest Canoe Rental www.cookforestcanoe.com
Pale Whale   www.canoecookforest.com
Pine Crest http://users.penn.com/~pinecrest/PC-canoe.html


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Fishing: The Clarion River borders the park and provides fishing for trout, warm-water game fish and panfish. About 2.5 miles of Toms Run is stocked with trout. A special fishing pond stocked with trout is by the park office and is available for use by children 12 and younger and people with a disability. An ADA accessible pier provides access.

Go to the U. S. Geological Survey Web site for the water level of the Clarion River at Cooksburg. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/uv/?site_no=03029500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00010

Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Hunting and Firearms: About 7,000 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, bear and squirrel. Over 10,000 acres of adjacent state forests and over 500,000 acres of Allegheny National Forest are also open to hunting.

Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.

Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner's car, trailer or leased campsite. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.

Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Hiking: 29 miles of trails
From the depths of the Forest Cathedral to the heights of Seneca point, the trails of Cook Forest State Park explore diverse landscapes and habitats. Explore Trails for detailed trail descriptions.


Biking: 13 miles of trails
Bikes are permitted on all one-way, dirt roads within the park. Biking on hiking trails is prohibited except on the part of the Heffern Run Trail that is part of the Bicycle Route. The Bicycle Route is 13 miles long and follows lightly traveled roads within the park and Heffern Run Trail. The route is of moderate difficulty with long flat areas and rolling hills. Highlights are a leisurely four-mile flat ride through scenic Toms Run Valley, CCC-era red and white pine plantations along Forest Drive and a challenging descent along the Heffern Run Trail. A description of the bicycle route is available at the park office.


Horseback Riding: Equestrians can enjoy a two-hour loop trail that begins at a small parking lot on Forest Drive, connects to Old Logging Road Trail, and winds through beautiful pine plantations. Another equestrian trail begins at the trailhead, follows Hefren Run Trail and connects to Toms Run Road. The one hour loop next to the organized group camping area is heavily used by a vendor, and not recommended.

The following concessionaries offer trail rides:
Cook Forest Scenic Trail Ride and Dude Ranch www.patrailride.com
Silver Stallion Stables www.silverstallion.net


Scenic Views: Two scenic views are in the southeastern corner of Cook Forest State Park. From the rock ledges of Seneca Point Overlook you can see the Clarion Valley. An 80-foot climb up Old #9 Fire Tower gives a breathtaking view of the entire area. On a clear day you can see 15 to 20 miles.

Do not walk or climb on the rock outcroppings outside of the fenced area. These rock ledges are very hazardous.


Do Not Feed Wild Animals: Black bears are native to this area. All food should be put away after use and kept in a tight, secure container in the trunk of a car or in a camper. Feeding wild animals is prohibited. When wildlife loses its fear of people, these animals can become pests, and dangerous situations can result.


Sawmill Craft Center and Theater: A local, non-profit craft organization housed in the historic sawmill offers traditional crafts on display, a gift shop and classes. Demonstrations and classes on various crafts are presented throughout the summer and fall seasons for children and adults. The Verna Leith Sawmill Theater presents plays, musicals and other entertainment throughout the summer season. 814-927-6655 www.sawmill.org.


Stay the Night


Visitors can stay the night from the second Friday in April to late December.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups
A couple sits beside their RV at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.Cook Forest State Park has 210 campsites, including some that are ADA accessible. Modern restrooms with showers are available late May through early October. There is a sanitary dump station and coin-operated laundry facilities. The wooded campsites at the park have a picnic table and fire ring. Access is not guaranteed during severe winter weather. Pets are permitted on designated sites.

Explore the campground map.

Explore camping for more information.

Click on this orange dot to make a reservation at a Pennsylvania State Park.

Make a reservation.


Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 3 host positions
The campground host site amenities include 30-amp electric service. Hosts are required to stay a minimum of two weeks and must be available 24 hours daily to assist park personnel. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Rustic Cabins: The 8 River Cabins are on a hillside overlooking the Clarion River. The 10 Indian Cabins are along Toms Run behind the park office.

A rustic log cabin is surrounded by trees at Cook forest State Park, Pennsylvania.The cabins are available for rent from the second Friday in April to the third Friday in December. The rustic cabins are minimally furnished. Each cabin has beds, mattresses, stove, refrigerator, table and chairs and is heated by a wood fireplace or gas heater. Occupants must provide their own bedding, cookware and tableware. Cabins sleep 4 or 8 people. Extra cots are not available. Frost-free water faucets are outside. A showerhouse is nearby.  One cabin is ADA accessible. In 2014, up to two dogs will be permitted in River Cabins 11, 14 and 15 for a fee..

The cabins must be rented for one week, except in the spring and fall rental season. Firewood is not provided. Alcoholic beverages and pets are not permitted.

Explore the cabin map.

Explore cabins for more information.

Click on this orange dot to make a reservation at a Pennsylvania State Park.

Make a reservation.


Organized Group Tenting: Organized groups can rent this rustic area year-round. The five sites each accommodate 20 people.

Explore organized group tenting for more information.


The Inn at Cook Forest: The Cook Family homestead is now open as a bed and breakfast. Rent a room or the entire inn for access to canoeing and kayaking on the Clarion River, over 40 miles of hiking and biking trails, and some of the oldest trees in the state. www.theinnatcookforest.com

 


Winter Activities


Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.


Snowshoeing and Cross-country Skiing: Snowshoeing is permitted on all trails. Cross-country skiing is recommended on selected trails on the maps. Cook Forest has three groomed trails: Fire Tower Road, Toms Run Road and part of Forest Drive.


Sledding: There are three acres of slopes by the River Cabins.


Ice Skating: A lighted ice skating pond is along River Road.


Environmental Education and Interpretation


Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.

Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher work-shops are available. Group programs must be scheduled in advance by calling the park office.

At Cook Forest State Park programs are offered year-round. The park has an environmental learning center in the Log Cabin Inn at the Main Picnic Area. The Historical Room displays logging and rafting tools, models and arti-facts.

Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.

Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.


Access for People with Disabilities


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.