Located in northwestern Pennsylvania, Cook Forest State Park is considered one the most beautiful state parks in the country. The vast old growth forests found in the park are one of the primary reasons for its popularity. Another reason is the portion of the Clarion River that passed through the park.
Cook Forest State Park has over 47 miles of hiking trail and almost five miles of multi-use trails. Another 32 miles of trails can be found close by in the Clarion River Lands. Two major northeast trails, Baker Trail and North Country Trail, also run through the park lands.
Below, we've listed some of our favorite Cook Forest State Park hiking trails. You can find more information at alltrails.com and the Cook Forest Conservancy site.Or, give us a call. We'll be glad to answer any questions you have about Cook Forest State Park and the many hiking trails within the park.
Joyce Kilmer Trail
Length: 1.1 miles Difficulty: Moderate The Joyce Kilmer Trail runs from Cemetery Road to the Indian Trail. Along the way, you'll wind through virgin white pines and ancient hemlocks, and see unusual rock formations. Birch and Rhododendron are also scattered along the trail.
Ancient Forest Trail
Length: 0.3 miles Difficulty: Moderate Ancient Forest Trail is a short trail that cuts across the Longfellow Trail. You'll get a fantastic view of massive, old-growth white pines on this trail.
Length: 2.2 miles Difficulty: Moderate Cook Trail is a relatively popular trail near Cooksburg, Pennsylvania. The trail forms a loop that starts near Henry's Run. Cook Trail has a number of interpretive signs along the way. You'll get to see American Chestnuts on this trail.
Length: 1.2 miles Difficulty: Easy Longfellow Trail is probably the most popular trail in Cook Forest. The trail begins near Log Cabin Environmental Learning Classroom. The trail runs through the Forest Cathedral. You'll see some of the oldest, and largest, trees in North America. Some trees are over 300 years old, one impressive white pine is over 185 feet tall.
Length: 1.7 miles Difficulty: Difficult Indian Trail is a steep trail that runs from the Children's Fishing Pond to the Longfellow Trail. Along the way, the trail runs deep into the Forest Cathedral. You'll be treated to fantastic views of Eastern white pine, and second-growth hemlock and white pine.
Forest Cathedral Trail
Length: 2.5 miles Difficulty: Moderate Forest Cathedral Trial is a very popular trail and for good reason. The trail features massive white pines and beautiful hemlocks. Designated as a National Natural Landmark, the trail is located near Leeper, Pennsylvania. It's used by hikers and runners. Forest Cathedral Trial is accessible year-round.
Length: 1.4 miles Difficulty: Difficult Mohawk Trail starts near the Inn at Cook Forest and runs to the Fire Tower Road exit. The trail twists and turns through old-growth hemlock and hardwood forests to the slopes overlooking the Clarion River. You'll be surrounded by some of Cook Forest's oldest and largest hemlocks. Chestnut oaks and white oaks are also found along Mohawk Trail.
Length: 0.9 miles Difficulty: Difficult Seneca Trail runs beside the Clarion River and has an elevation gain of over 145 feet. Seneca Trail starts at Deer Park Trail and ends at Cook Forest Fire Tower. All along the trail, you'll be treated to spectacular views of the Clarion River and be surrounded by towering hemlocks.
In fact, the tallest Eastern hemlock in the Northeast can be seen on this trail. At the end of the trail you have the opportunity to climb the 80-foot high Cook Forest Fire Tower, which will provide you an amazing view of the surrounding area.