A Walk in the Woods

The Beautiful Trees of Cook Forest
Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli One of several old-growth stands of white pine and Eastern hemlock located throughout Cook Forest State Park. One of several old-​growth stands of white pine and Eastern hemlock located throughout Cook Forest State Park.
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Cook Forest State Park, home to magnificent old-​growth forest, is a prime destination for anyone interested in scenic beauty, natural history and a variety of recreational opportunities.

Located 75 miles north of Pittsburgh in Clarion County, the state park is named for John Cook, the first American to settle in the area, in 1826. By the 1920s, most of the region’s forests had succumbed to timbering, but the Cook family had protected some of their land as uncut forest. In 1927, the area became Pennsylvania’s first state park to feature a natural area.

Park visitors can explore 50 miles of trails, which traverse valleys, wetlands and high plateaus. A portion of the 4,600-mile North Country Trail passes through the park’s Forest Cathedral Natural Area, with towering hemlocks and white pines. The park is also popular for canoeing, kayaking, fishing and camping.

Since the 1970s, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has protected more than 6,000 acres in this area that are today mostly part of the park and adjacent state forest and state game lands. These lands are currently protecting the expanse and variety of the area’s forest types, some of which will become more old-​growth stands for future generations’ enjoyment.

For more information about Cook Forest State Park and nearby public lands, please visit dcnr​.state​.pa​.us/​s​t​a​t​e​p​a​r​k​s​/​f​i​n​d​a​p​a​r​k​/ cookforest. For more information about the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, go to water​landlife​.org.


Explore Related Stories:

Other stories in this category: « A Belted Kingfisher
Welcome to Pittsburgh Quarterly
Win a two-night stay at Hotel Monaco

To enter to win a two-​night stay at Hotel Monaco plus dinner for two at The Commoner, sign up by June 20 for our great (and free) newsletter.

We’ll keep you updated with web-​only stories and art plus exclusive news and updates. Get more between the issues! Fill out the form below, and be sure to check your email for a link to confirm your subscription.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is a fantastic revival of the beautiful James H. Reed building, originally erected in 1903. The classic building in Downtown Pittsburgh serves as a captivating destination for both leisure and business travelers journeying to the Steel City. The stunning Beaux Arts-​style of the building is perfectly matched with the locally inspired interior of the hotel, which is both vibrant and whimsical. The Commoner, adjacent to Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, is an 120-​seat gastropub serving breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, helmed by executive chef Wyatt Lash. The restaurant’s menu showcases approachable, seasonal favorites, an expansive beer program and cocktails that lean toward the classics with an original twist.

Entry is open to anyone in the United States 18 years or older. Blackout dates may apply.

View past newsletters here.

Win a two-​night stay at Hotel Monaco plus dinner for two at The Commoner!

To enter, sign up below for our great (and free) newsletter by June 20. We’ll keep you updated with web-​only stories and art plus exclusive news and updates. Get more between the issues!

Already signed up? Please click the “Don’t Show This Again” button below

First Name(*)
Please let us know your name.

Last Name(*)
Invalid Input

Your Email(*)
Please let us know your email address.

Please check the box for security purposes.
Invalid Input

Don't have an account yet? Register Now!

Sign in to your account.