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Hiking at Cook Forest State Park

47 miles of trails

There are more than 47 miles of hiking trails and 4.3 miles of multi-use trails within Cook Forest State Park. An additional 24 miles of multi-use trails and eight miles of hiking trails are located within the Clarion River Lands.

The Cook Forest State Park Trail Guide (PDF) and Clarion River Lands Trail Guide (PDF) have trail descriptions for each trail. These guides are available in the park office.

Trail Definitions

Difficulty Ratings

Easiest -- For beginner trail users. Grade is gentle with few obstacles.
More Difficult -- For the majority of trail users. Grade is steeper and trails narrower with embedded rocks or roots on the trail surface.
Most Difficult -- For trail users with advanced skills. Grade is steep and provides a definite physical challenge. Routes may not be well marked. Elevation gain or loss is severe.

Trail Route Type

Loop -- Start and end at the same location and follow a single trail to form a loop.
Out-and-back -- Start and end at a trailhead and follow a single trail to an endpoint or specific point of interest, then return along the same route.
Point-to-point -- Trails are generally longer in distance and parks may often contain only a portion of the trail within their boundary. Hiker starts and ends in different locations, often requiring a shuttle.
Connector -- Begin and end in connection with another trail or trails but do not terminate at a trailhead.

Cook Forest State Park: Hiking Only

(Excluding Forest Cathedral Area)

Baker Trail/North Country National Scenic Trail

12 miles in the park  |  More difficult hiking  |  Point-to-point trail  |  Yellow and blue blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

The 140-mile Baker Trail (blazed yellow) runs from Freeport through the Allegheny National Forest. The North Country Trail (blazed blue) stretches 4,600 miles from New York to North Dakota. They run through the Forest Cathedral, passing Seneca Point and meandering by the Clarion River past the bracket dam waterfall across from Hemlock Island.

Black Bear Trail

1.1 miles  |  Easiest hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: picnic tables

A flat, loop trail at the Sawmill Center for the Arts circles the Paved Trail. Look for black bear claw marks on the trees.

Browns Run Trail

2.0 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail parallels Browns Run from Toms Run Road to Forest Road. Due to its low usage, it is a wonderful trail for wilderness hiking, hunting, and birding, particularly for the flute-like songster thrushes.

Camp Trail

2.0 miles  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This steep trail links Ridge Campground to Breezemont Drive near the Log Cabin Education Center. Pay close attention at trail intersections as this trail splits near the campground.

Cook Trail

2.0 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, picnic tables, benches

Self-guided trail signs indicate trees along the trail. A 1930 dynamite shack built by the Civilian Conservation Corps can be viewed from the trail. Access the trail from River Cabin 12, the River Picnic Area, or a short spur trail on Cemetery Road.

Corduroy Trail

1.2 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail connects Ridge Campground to Liggett Trail along Tom’s Run. This pleasant hike crosses over Breezemont Drive, passing large American beech and Eastern hemlock. Pay attention at intersections as this trail connects with the Camp Trail.

Deer Meadow Trail

1.5 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail unites the Browns Run Trail with the multi-use Hefren Run Trail. Sections of this trail go through old growth oak and hemlock forest and prime wildlife areas.

Deer Park Trail

1.1 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail connects PA 36 and the Seneca Trail, also linking with Mohawk Trail.  Hikers will pass through 1976 tornado damage area.

Hemlock Trail

0.3 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This short trail joins the Longfellow Trail with the Deer Park Trail. It travels through one of the finest old growth hemlock forests in the eastern United States.

Liggett Trail

1.5 miles  |  Easiest hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail begins at Breezemont Drive and travels a portion of the North Country Trail/Baker Trail along Tom’s Run, terminating at Tom’s Run Road. Listen for the elusive winter wren along the trail.

Mohawk Trail

1.4 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail runs from the PA 36/Forest Road intersection near the Park Office, and ends at the exit of Fire Tower Road. It winds through magnificent old growth hemlock forest along the hilltop within the Fire Tower Road loop and the steep hillside overlooking the Clarion River.

On this trail, you will walk amongst some of the tallest, largest, and oldest hemlocks (300 years) found in the park. 

Paved Trail

0.2 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This paved, self-guided trail, sometimes referred to as the Emerald Trail, loops through a mature hardwood forest. It can be reached via the water tower access road near the entrance of the Sawmill Center for the Arts.  

Ridge Trail

0.7 mile  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This steep trail connects the Ridge Campground near site 32 to Forest Road by Shelter 1. Large oaks and black cherry trees (3 feet across and 140 feet high) are found near this path.

River Trail

1.2 miles  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: non-flush restrooms, picnic tables, benches

This steep trail runs along the Clarion River from the Fire Tower to Fire Tower Road.  It is one of the most beautiful hikes in early summer when the mountain laurel and rhododendron bloom.

Seneca Trail

0.9 mile  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restroom, potable water, benches

This trail climbs from PA 36 to the junction with the Deer Park Trail. It passes through old growth forest and offers an excellent view of the Clarion River. The greatest concentration of tall hemlocks in northeastern United States can be found here.

Tobecco Trail

7.5 miles in the park, 10 miles total  |  More difficult hiking  |  Point-to-point trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Following along the Wild and Scenic Clarion River from the Gateway Lodge on PA 36 to SR 899. This trail connects Cook Forest and Clear Creek State Parks. Most of the trail is located on or near the river bank, however, it does ascend to the ridge tops in two spots.

There are three trailhead parking lots.

  • The Gateway Lodge parking lot is available on the western end of the trail
  • A small parking lot on SR 899 is marked by an information kiosk
  • The third parking area is on the eastern end of the trail in the Clear Creek State Park campground

Forest Cathedral Trails, Cook Forest State Park: Hiking Only

The Forest Cathedral Natural Area is a registered National Natural Landmark. Numbers below correspond to the map on the Cook Forest State Park Hiking Trails brochure.

1. Joyce Kilmer Trail

1.1 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail runs from Cemetery Road to Indian Trail. Take special notice of the rock formations nestled among large hemlock and white pine.

2. Rhododendron Trail

1.2 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, potable water

This trail joins Indian Cabins 6 & 7 to Forest Drive via the Forest Cathedral. Ancient hemlocks, white pines, and large boulders can be found along this trail.

3. Longfellow Trail

1.2 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, picnic tables, benches

The most well known trail in the park, runs through the finest stand of old growth white pine forest in the northeastern United States. Begin at the Log Cabin Educational Center, travel past the Memorial Fountain and end on Forest Road.

4. Tom’s Run Trail

0.8 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, potable water, picnic tables

This flat trail connects the swinging bridge to the Log Cabin Education Center through the picturesque Tom’s Run Valley. Keep a lookout for remnants of bracket dams once used to move logs downstream.

5. Birch Trail

0.9 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, potable water, picnic tables, benches

This trail passes through a lovely stand of birch trees between the Children’s Fishing Pond and Shelter 1. For a loop hike, the swinging bridge links this trail with the Tom’s Run Trail.

6. Indian Trail

1.0 mile  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, potable water, picnic tables, benches

This steep trail starts on the north side of the Children’s Fishing Pond, deep into the Forest Cathedral before joining the Longfellow Trail. As the trail levels off, look for the transition from second growth to old growth forest.

7. Red Eft Trail

0.2 mile  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Connecting the Longfellow Trail to the Tom’s Run Trail, this steep trail traverses an old growth forested wetland through a series of bridges and stone steps.

8. Ancient Forest Trail

0.3 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail bisects the Longfellow Trail through the heart of the Forest Cathedral.  Gaze above to the highest concentration of tall, old growth white pines in the northeastern United States.

Cook Forest State Park: Multi-Use Trails

Multi-use trails are open to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding as designated. Please be aware and courteous of others.

Bridle Trail

1.1 miles  |  Easiest hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Red blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, equestrian
Trailhead amenities: none

Starting 0.8 mile from the beginning of Forest Drive, this trail weaves through a 1930s CCC red pine plantation and terminates at the Old Logging Road within the Forest Cathedral. Continue onto the old Logging Road to bring you back to Forest Drive.

Hefren Run Trail

1.1 miles  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Red blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, biking, equestrian
Trailhead amenities: none

This multi-use trail connects Tom’s Run Road with Forest Road. This serene trail crosses Hefren Run Valley along evidence of old bracket dams used to move logs downstream in the 1800s.

Old Logging Road Trail

0.6 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow/red blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, equestrian
Trailhead amenities: none

This flat trail proceeds between Forest Drive and the Joyce Kilmer Trail. Watch for red and white pine orchards planted by the CCC from 1933-1937. 

Equestrian Trail

1.5 miles  |  Easiest hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow/red blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, equestrian
Trailhead amenities: none

Starting 0.2 miles from the beginning of Forest Drive, this fairly flat, multi-use trail a 1930s CCC red pine plantation and then loops back onto Forest Drive. Look for hawks hunting along the trail.