COOK FOREST STATE PARK
The 7,182-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 the eastern border of the park and is popular for canoeing and rafting.
The Old Growth parts of the forest are a good metaphor for this whole park. A visit here is a way to visit the area's roots. To see the trees a bit like they once were. Remember, this whole state was named for...more
Camping: modern sites, some with electric
Part of Ridge Campground is open year-round. Winter access is not guaranteed. Modern restrooms with showers are available late May through early October. The 226 tent and trailer campsites have a picnic table and fire ring, and six sites are ADA accessible. There is a sanitary dump station and coin-operated laundry facilities.
Organized Group Tenting:
Organized groups can rent this rustic area from the second Friday in April to late December. The five sites each accommodate 20 people.
The 23 rustic cabins rent from the second Friday in April to late December. All cabins are minimally furnished. Each cabin has beds, mattresses, gas stove, refrigerator, and tables and chairs. Occupants must provide their own bedding, cookware and tableware. Alcoholic beverages and pets are not permitted.
There are two cabin areas at Cook Forest. The River Cabins are on a hillside overlooking the Clarion River. Two River Cabins have one room and sleep four people and the other 11 River Cabins have four rooms, a fireplace and sleep six or eight people. The Indian Cabins are along Tom's Run behind the park office. These smaller, one-room cabins sleep four people.
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The Clarion River offers a very scenic trip and is classed as a beginner's river under normal conditions. A canoe launch area and parking are three miles upstream from Cooksburg along River Road. Several private canoe rentals are in the Cooksburg area.
Cook Forest State Park is located near Clarion
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 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 accessible restrooms and picnic tables near both picnic pavilions.
Hiking: 29 miles of trails
Enjoy the beauty of Cook Forest by hiking on one of 27 marked trails. The terrain is of rolling hills and cool valley streams. Special scenic areas are the old growth forest, Fire Tower/Seneca Point and the Clarion River. Overnight camping within the park is only permitted in the campground or cabin areas. Trail maps and descriptions are available at the park office.
Part of the 140-mile Baker Trail and the North Country National Scenic Trail pass through Cook Forest. The Baker Trail runs from Freeport, in southern Armstrong County, to the Allegheny National Forest. The North Country Trail is under development and will connect the Missouri River in North Dakota with the Adirondack Mountains in New York.
Bikes are permitted on all one-way, dirt roads within the park. Biking on hiking trails is not permitted except on the part of the Heffern Run Trail that is part of the Bicycle Route. All children under 12 years of age are required to wear a helmet when biking. Bikes ridden at night must have a light on the bike.
The Bicycle Route is 11.5 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 of the route are a leisurely four-mile flat ride through scenic Tom's 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.
Two designated bridle trails and portions of Brown's Run Trail comprise 4.5 miles of trails for horseback riding.
Programs for all ages are offered March to December. 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 workshops are available. Group programs must be scheduled in advance by calling the park office.
A weekly interpretive schedule is available at the park office. 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 artifacts.
Cook Riverside Cabins Inc
Forest View Cabins
Clarion River Lodge & Riverview Suites
Stonecrest Cabins Cook Fo
96 Tylersburg Rd
Pine Crest Cabins
1413425 Route 36
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.