Hike Forest Cathedral at Cook Forest via Indian-Rhododendron Trail Loop

Hike the ridge above old growth trees of the Forest Cathedral on Indian Trail and follow the Rhododendron Trail past hemlock and white pines that sore over 150-feet tall.

– Parking Coordinates: 41.33384, -79.20858 (Park near the cabins by the fishing pond.)
– Trailhead Coordinates: 41.33381, -79.20842 (Indian Trail starts at the hillside between the cabins and Tom’s Run fishing pond)

Hike Details
– Distance and Type: 1.7 Mile Loop
– Trail Difficulty: Easy (Hardest part is the initial 400 feet of elevation gain during the first half mile)
– Elevation Gain: +/- 400 Feet

Hike Features
– Old Growth Hemlock and White Pines that tower 150+ Feet, some of the largest in the northeastern United States
– Sandstone formations



Trailhead Adventures + Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is the primary resource I use to plan and guide all my hikes. The pro version of Gaia grants me offline access to all my planned hikes and maps of the entire park. Subscribe to Gaia GPS for access to offline and printable maps. Use this link to save 20% and support our website in the process!

Note: Trail conditions change over time.  If you discover any inaccuracies with this post during your visit, please post a comment below to let us know.

The Indian Trail loop was our last hike of the trip that we decided to do last minute after packing the car and checking out of our cabin. The trailhead was located near our cabin, just off of Route 36, and offered one last trip through the Forest Cathedral. The plan was to hike out-and-back on the Indian Trail as both Cook Forest maps and Gaia GPS failed to map out the Rhododendron trail properly. Less than a quarter mile before the Longfellow Trail turnaround point we discovered the Rhododendron Trail junction that led back downhill. We knew from the prior day’s hike that the Rhododendron Trail passed the Swinging Bridge near the Indian Trail trailhead. With that bit of information in hand we followed the Rhododendron Trial back to our car.

The Indian Trail starts off gaining around 400 feet of elevation over the first half mile of the hike. Recent weather conditions caused portions of the trail to ice over, so I would recommend packing microspikes on this hike if visiting during the winter months. The trail itself is well maintained, and the park is quick to cut away any fallen trees that fall on the trail. Some of the fallen trees leave large root systems exposed that tower 10 feet high. Some other unique geological features include a 100-foot tall hemlock that grew on top of a sandstone rock formation.


The Rhododendron Trail junction is around 0.8 miles into the hike. Follow the trail as it makes a gradual descent through the forest. The trail runs parallel with Tom’s Run Trail downhill until you pass the Swinging Bridge. If you don’t have plans on hiking Tom’s Run Trail or Longfellow Trail, I recommend taking a quick detour to visit the Swinging Bridge. Continue along the Rhododendron Trail until you reach the parking lot where you started.

Hike walkthrough