Cook Forest/Clarion River

The Clarion River is a National Wild and Scenic River, renowned for its clear waters, thickly wooded shorelines, world class fisheries, and unique history of restoration. The Clarion is slow-moving and popular for canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and swimming. Anglers will find native trout and small-mouth bass in the Clarion River and tributary streams.

Cook Forest State Park features dozens of miles of hiking trails, as well as opportunities for horseback riding, mountain biking and road biking. The 2,200-acre old growth stand in the heart of Cook Forest State Park is what makes it the gem of the Pennsylvania Parks System. Known as the Cathedral Forest, this old growth stand features majestic eastern hemlock, eastern white pine and American beech that are 300-400 years old. Cook Forest and nearby Clear Creek State Park have events almost every weekend.

The nearby Allegheny National Forest covers 500,000 acres and features hundreds of miles of roads, trails, and streams. The visitor center in nearby Marienville has information on a myriad of activities, including ATV, hiking, biking and equestrian trails; hunting, fishing and gathering; geocaching; wildlife viewing; and driving for pleasure.

Wildlife is abundant in the woods, and whatever your mode of travel, you may encounter a critter large or small around the next corner. You may be lucky enough to see otters playing in the river, a bobcat making its way along the shoreline, a black bear ambling along the edge of a field, white-tailed deer grazing in the fading light at dusk, or an eagle soaring above the treetops.

The best part, though, is the silence. The kind where you can hear the lightest breeze whispering through the trees, where noise disappears into simple sounds … a deer snorting in the tall grass, an owl calling from a distant hillside, a small animal rustling leaves on the forest floor. You feel a little above the world here, awed by a night sky full of more stars than you could ever imagine, or inspired by the sun peaking over a distant ridge and exposing a floating mist over the river below you.

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Cook Forest Clarion River Outdoor Activities