Trailhead Adventures

Park Information

What to know before visiting Cook Forest State Park:

Cool Forest State Park is located around 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and is a short distance away from the towns of Clarion and Brookville. Cook Forest State Park encompasses over 8,500 acres along the Clarion River, and became the first Pennsylvania state park acquired to preserve its natural area. The park was later designated a National Natural Landmark, and was rated as one of America’s top 50 state parks by National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Early American settler John Cook moved into the area and purchased the 765 acres that now comprise Cook Forest State Park. John Cook used the area for logging and built water driven sawmills. The Cook Forest Association formed in the 1920s to save the few areas of surviving old growth timber. Endorsed by national natural resource groups and Governor Gifford Pinchot, the association raised $200,000, which helped the commonwealth purchase 6,055 acres from A. Cook Sons Company in 1927 for $640,000.

Cook Forest State Park maintains close to 30 miles of hiking trails and is a popular destination for fishing, kayaking and hunting. Forest Cathedral ,the area of old growth trees, contains some of Cook Forest’s best hiking trails. Old Hemlock and White Pine trees soar over 150 feet tall, including the 181-foot tall Longfellow Pine tree, one of the tallest trees in the northeastern United States. The park’s southern end is home to the 80-foot tall Fire Tower 9 (built in 1929), Seneca Point overlook, and the River Trail that follows the Clarion River Banks.

Traveling to, and getting around, Cook Forest State Park

Cook Forest State Park is located around 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh off I-80, just north of Clarion, PA. Pittsburgh International Airport would be the best airport to fly into. Cook Forest State Park would then be a two hour drive northeast of Pittsburgh.

The Cook Forest Visitor Center (directions) is located off of Route 36 near Cooksburg. The park does not have entrance gates and is free to visit.

Park Services and Emergency Contact

In case of an emergency: Dial 911

Cook Forest State Park Activity and Event Calendars

Cook Forest Event Calendar

Cook Forest & Clear Creek Org Calendar of Events

Staying Connected at Cook Forest State Park (Cellular and WiFi Availability)

Wi-Fi is available outside the old park office located at 113 River Road near the Tom’s Run fishing pond and cabins.

Dining Guide – Dining In, and Near, Hocking Hills State Park

County Seat (Breakfast)
531 Main St, Clarion, PA 16214
Phone: 814.226.6332

Trail’s End Restaurant
2738 Forest Rd, Cooksburg, PA 16217
Phone: 814.927.8400

The Forest Nook Restaurant
3121 Forest Rd, Vowinckel, PA 16260
Phone: 814.927.5440

Camp Supplies and Grocery Stores Near Cook Forest State Park

The are no grocery and supply stores within Cook Forest State Park. The only options are in Clarion and Brookville near I-80 (20+ minute drives).

Old Growth trees at Cook Forest State Park

Cook Forest State Park Camping Guide

Ridge Campgrounds – Located within Cook Forest with hiking trails that lead to different areas of the park.
Phone: 814.744.8407

Deer Meadow Campgrounds
2761 Forest Rd, Cooksburg, PA 16217
Phone: 814.927.8125

Whites Haven Campground
3058 Cathers Run Rd, Clarington, PA 15828
Phone: 814.752.2205

Sprit of the North Campground
11065 PA-36, Clarington, PA 15828
Phone: 814.752.2031

Lodging Guide – Hotels, Motels and B&B Options Near Cook Forest State Park

This list is by no means a comprehensive list of available options. My goal with these options are to list some lodging options that are (a) near the park or (b) offer unique options.

MacBeth’s Cabins and Country Store
15361 PA-36, Cooksburg, PA 16217
Phone: 800.331.6319

Cook Riverside Cabins
115 Riverside Drive, Cooksburg, PA 16217
Phone: 800.680.0160

Gateway Lodge
14870 PA-36, Cooksburg, PA 16217
Phone: +18147448017

Fair Winds in the Forest Cabins & Lodge
12810 PA-36, Clarington, PA 15828
Phone: +18147448300

Additional Cook Forest State Park Resources

Hikers Guide to Cook Forest State Park

Longfellow-Ancient Forest Loop (Forest Cathedral Hike)

Indian-Rhododendron Trail Loop (Forest Cathedral Hike)

Tom’s Run Trail to Swinging Bridge

“Winter Hike” Fire Tower 9 & Seneca Point Hike via Fire Tower Road

River Trail Hike to Henry Run Sawmill Dam