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.

Canoeing: 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.

Scenic Views: Two scenic views are in the southeastern corner of the 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.

Biking: River Road, running along the Clarion River, is a great place to ride. Also, 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. 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.

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. Trail maps and descriptions are available at the park office.

Hunting: About 7,200 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, bear and squirrel.

Fishing: The Clarion River flows along the park border and provides fishing for trout, warm-water game fish and panfish. About 2.5 miles of Tom's 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. A level grass bank at the edge of the pond provides easy access.

Other activities include:  

  • Swimming
  • Horseback Riding
  • Ice Skating and Sledding
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Environmental Education Programs

Activity Information from Cook Forest State Park Office

For more information on activities and a Calendar of Events, visit:

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