Cook Forest State Park


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

Trails

There are 47 miles of hiking trails that explore many habitats including old growth forest.

 

The 8,500-acre Cook Forest State Park and 3,136 acre Clarion River Lands lie in scenic northwestern Pennsylvania. Known for its stands of old growth forest, the park’s Forest Cathedral of towering white pines and hemlocks is a National Natural Landmark. A scenic 13-mile stretch of the Clarion River flows through Cook Forest State Park and is popular for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing.

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   -  the Inn at Cook Forest   -  Cabins   -  River Camping   -  Camping

Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The pool, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Shaded by a hemlock tree, a picnic table is near the Clarion River at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.Picnicking: Picnic tables and charcoal grills are throughout the park. 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. Picnic pavilions 1 and 2 are ADA accessible, as are the nearby restrooms.

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

Make a reservation.


Canoeing: The Class 1 Clarion River provides excellent canoeing and kayaking, especially during the spring and fall. The average downward flow is four miles per hour.

Two popular paddling trips are four and 10 miles in length. Rental canoes are available from businesses out-side of the park. There are public boat launches at both Cook Forest and Clear Creek state parks.

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.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. 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.The Clarion River winds between forested banks in Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.Fishing: The Clarion River provides fishing for trout, warmwater game fish, and panfish.

About 2.5 miles of Toms Run is stocked with trout. A special fishing pond stocked with trout is located by the park office and is available for use by children ages 12 and younger and people with disabilities. 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

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. 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 12,000 acres of Cook Forest State Park and Clarion Rover Lands 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 vehicle or enclosed trailer. 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: 47 miles of trails
A hiking trail winds between huge trees in the Forest Cathedral of Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.There are over 47 miles of hiking trails and 4.3 miles of multi-use trails within Cook Forest State Park. An additional 24 miles of multi-use trails and 8 miles of hiking trails are located within the Clarion River Lands. A brochure of trail descriptions is available in the park office and online. Explore trails for detailed trail descriptions.


Biking: 13 miles of trails
Bikes are permitted on all one-way, dirt roads within the park. A 13-mile bicycle route follows lightly traveled roads within the park and a portion of Hefren Run Trail. Biking on hiking trails is prohibited except on the bicycle route portion of Hefren Run Trail.


Horseback Riding: A loop trail begins at a small parking lot on Forest Drive, connects to Old Logging Road, and winds through beautiful pine plantations. Twenty-four miles of additional trails are located downstream of Gravel Lick Bridge in the Clarion River Lands. The one hour loop next to the organized group camping area is heavily used by a vendor, and not recommended.

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


The Clarion river Valley can be seen in from the Seneca Point Overlook at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.Scenic Views: Two scenic views are accessible from Fire Tower Road, about 1.5 miles from Route 36. From the rock ledges of Seneca Point Overlook you can see the Clarion River Valley.

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

An 80-foot climb up Historic Fire Tower #9 gives a breathtaking view of the entire area. On a clear day, you can see points up to 15 to 20 miles away.


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 Center for the Arts: A local, non-profit craft organization housed in the historic sawmill offers traditional crafts, a gift shop, and classes. Demonstrations and classes on various crafts are presented throughout the summer and fall. 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 the third Friday in December.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, full service hook-ups, electric hook-ups
A couple sits beside their RV at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.The park has 210 campsites each with a picnic table and fire ring. Full hook-up campsites also have on site water, 50 amp electric, and sewage hook up. Electric only sites are available with either 30 or 50 amp hook ups. Modern restrooms with showers are available late May through early October. There is a sanitary dump station and coin-operated laundry facilities. Pets are permitted at designated sites for a fee. Access is not guaranteed during severe winter weather.

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.


River Camping: A canoe/kayak camping area with three sites is located at Thompson Eddy, downstream of Gravel Lick Bridge. This area is for individuals and groups traveling on the Clarion River by canoe or kayak. Use of this site is limited to one night and is for tent use only. Maximum group size is eight.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Rustic Cabins: The River Cabins are on a hillside overlooking the Clarion River. The 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, 6, or 8 people. Extra cots are not available. Frost-free water faucets are outside. A showerhouse is nearby.  Two cabins are ADA accessible. Up to two dogs are 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 are prohibited.

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. Access in the winter months may be difficult. The five sites each accommodate 20 people.

Explore organized group tenting for more information.


The Inn at Cook Forest is a bread and breakfast at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.The Inn at Cook Forest: Closed for renovations - 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.

 


Winter Activities


Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths. Please be safe on the ice.


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: A slope is available for sledding near the Henrys Run Day Use Area.


Ice Skating: A lighted ice skating area is along River Road. Ice thickness is not monitored.


Environmental Education and Interpretation


Visitors enjoy an education program surrounded by giant trees at Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.Through hands-on activities, guided walks, and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding, and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources. Programs are offered year-round.

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

The Log Cabin Environmental Learning Center offers indoor space for programs and displays historic logging and rafting tools, models and artifacts.

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.