Cook Forest State Park

Quick Facts

Cook Forest State Park

Pennsylvania

(814) 744-8407

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

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 is along the eastern border of the park and is popular for canoeing and rafting. 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. Cook Forest State Park also offers a variety of trails for hikers. The 140-mile Baker Trail starts at Freeport, Pennsylvania, and ends in the Allegheny National Forest. It is maintained by American Youth Hostels. The trails cross the park, following park trails through the Forest Cathedral, and by Seneca Point, the Fire Tower, the Clarion River, bracket dams, the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Center and Toms Run. The Cook Trail, Browns Run Trail, and Mohawk Trail also are popular hikes for visitors to view the Forest Cathedral.

Map of Cook Forest (PA)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.369641, -79.231342

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Activities

  • Boating

    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.

  • Bicycling

    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.

  • Camping

    Cook Forest State Park has 210 modern 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. The 13 River Cabins are on a hillside overlooking the Clarion River. The 10 Indian Cabins are along Toms Run behind the park office.

  • 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.

  • Hiking

    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. The 29 miles of hiking trails are a great attraction to the park. The trails explore the old growth timber areas, wetlands and are avenues for wildlife watching.

  • 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.

  • Hunting

    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.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic tables are along the Clarion River in the River Cabin Picnic Area, in the Sawmill Area and near the exit of Fire Tower Road. 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.

  • RVing

    Cook Forest State Park has 210 modern 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.

  • Water Sports

    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.

  • Winter Sports

    A lighted ice skating pond is along River Road. 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.

Park Partners

Sawmill Craft Center and Theatre

Directions

Driving

From the east, take Exit 78 off of Interstate 80, then PA 36 north directly to the park in Cooksburg. From the west, take Exit 60 off of Interstate 80, then take PA Route 66 north to Leeper. From Leeper, follow PA Route 36 south, seven miles to the park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(814) 744-8407

Links