PA Great Outdoors: Cook Forest State Park

Adam McCully

Adam McCully

Published May 29, 2022 4:45 am
Last Updated: March 28, 2024 5:44 pm

COOKSBURG, Pa. – For more than a century, the woodland charms of Cook Forest have attracted vacationers in search of peace and quiet in nature.

(Photo courtesy Mountain Man Photography)

The unspoiled 8,500-acres Cook Forest State Park serves as the area’s main draw, but visitors can also find a wide range of lodging and dining options, recreational outfitters, retail stores, attractions, and other amenities nearby. However, the natural aesthetic of the old-growth forest remains intact, and it serves as an elegant canvas upon which its guests can paint any number of unforgettable outdoor adventures.

Cook Forest State Park is best known for its awe-inspiring stands of old-growth hemlock and white pine trees, some of which rank among the tallest and oldest in the northeastern United States. Hikers can explore many trails and kayakers, canoers, fishermen, and tubers won’t want to miss the picturesque Clarion River flowing through the park. Wildlife found in the park includes bald eagles, otters, whitetail deer, black bears, wild turkeys, porcupines, owls, great blue heron, and many songbirds. The new visitors center/park office features exciting exhibits on the flora and fauna of Cook Forest area and a wifi hotspot.

Throughout the year, the park’s Sawmill Center for the Arts hosts events like the French and Indian War Encampment, Herb and Fiber FestivalChainsaw Carvers Roundup, and Festival of Trees. Visitors can take home unique treasures from the craft market filled with handmade wares from talented local artists. Park staff also offer a wide range of outdoor programs, such as otter watches, hellbender hunts, paddling instruction, environmental education, historical tours, and guided hikes, that draw visitors with a wide variety of interests. In the winter, park visitors can enjoy ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Although the thick forest gives you a definite sense of seclusion, Cooksburg and the area surrounding the park offers many private cabins, lodges, inns, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, campgrounds, canoe liveries, horse stables, and attractions, so you’ll always find a great place to stay and will never run out of fun things to do. However, when visiting Cook Forest, be sure to take time to relax and absorb the natural beauty of this rare landscape. A vacation here offers vastly different opportunities than you’ll find at other destinations, and it’s one trip you’ll remember and talk about long after you return home.

Find everything you need to plan your adventure in Cook Forest State Park online at

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