Cook Forest and the Ancients


Known as a land of giants because of the “forest cathedral” of ancient pines and hemlocks, this landscape is an ode to the majesty of the Pennsylvania Wilds and home to many of the tallest hemlock and pine trees in the Northeast. If an adventure among Cook Forest & The Ancients sounds mystifyingly exciting to you, rest assured that you’ll rest well during your exploration. So what are you waiting for? The Ancients are calling. Come see some of the tallest pine trees in the Northeast.



Cook Forest State Park

Famous for its stands of old growth forest known as the “The Ancients,” Cook Forest State Park’s Forest Cathedral of towering white pines and hemlocks is a National Natural Landmark. The North Country National Scenic Trail (NST) intersects Cook Forest State Park and State forest lands.


Clarion River

Explore the federally designated National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. A 13-mile stretch of the Clarion River flows through Cook Forest State Park and is popular for both land and water recreation. (Clarion River Photo by Kyle Yates)


Clear Creek State Park

Clear Creek State Park encompasses 1,901 acres, covering a scenic portion of the Clear Creek Valley from PA 949 to the Clarion River. The park has camping, rustic cabins, and access to the Clarion River fishing and boating. The Clarion River flows along the park border and provides fishing for trout, warmwater game fish, and panfish. (Photo by: Kyle Yates)


I-80 Frontier Rock Formations

Beartown Rocks in Clear Creek State Forest, Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, and Bilger's Rocks are all short drives off of I-80. Free to visit, these sites provide diverse opportunities to explore massive boulders and rock formations. Beartown Rocks and Bilger's Rocks are well known for their scenic views and Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, just a few miles south of I-80, is famous for its mysterious history and Biblical rock carvings. (Photo by: Rebecca Thomas)


Sawmill Center for the Arts

Thousands of visitors enjoy the Sawmill Center for the Arts each year for live theater performances, classes, unique festivals and bountiful craft market.


Mountain Laurel

Pennsylvania’s state flower, Mountain Laurel, grows in abundance. It can be admired in the beautiful Laurel Fields in Clear Creek State Forest, just north of Brookville, along back country roads on Route 287, and many other places. The best time of the year to view Mountain Laurel is June, and there are festivals that celebrate it each year!


Cook Forest Fire Tower & Seneca Point Overlook

The Fire Tower, built in 1929 but now out of operation, and the nearby Seneca Point Overlook, offer stunning views of the Clarion River Valley.

About Cook Forest and The Ancients

Your visit to this landscape should begin in the heart of The Ancients known as Forest Cathedral in Cook Forest State Park. The Longfellow Trail is loop among the ancient and soaring trees, offering a serene and mystical point of view. Elevate your perspective and senses with a visit to Seneca Point Overlook and the nearby Cook Forest Fire Tower overlooking the Clarion River Valley. Drive along River Road to get closer to the Clarion, a federally designated Wild & Scenic river, and enjoy multiple picnic sites along the way.


If you didn’t know it yet, the Mountain Laurel is Pennsylvania’s state flower. And this Pennsylvania Wilds landscape is also home to the extensive and beautiful Mountain Laurel Fields in nearby Clear Creek State Forest, just north of the historic town of Brookville, where the Western PA Laurel Festival takes place on Main Street in the summer months.

See & Do

Find places to see and explore or things to do

Stay & Play

Check out lodging and camping locations

Travel Tips & Planning

Get resources to plan your trip from on-the-ground guides


Our local tourism partners provide on-the-ground tips, maps, itineraries and more.

Pennsylvania Great Outdoors

The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors (PAGO) provides traveler resources for a 3-county region in the central portion of the Pennsylvania Wilds. PAGO offers region-specific outdoor recreation guides, wildlife and elk viewing tips, road trips, accommodations and more.

Visit Jefferson County

The Visit Jefferson County Visitors Bureau is brand new to the region and helps travelers find things to see and do throughout the county. The northern part of the county extends into the Cook Forest & the Ancients landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds, offering unique opportunities to explore the old growth forests that the landscape is known for.

Year Round Ideas


Cook Forest Half Marathon and 5K

Register for the Cook Forest half marathon and 5K along the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. The half is flat to gently rolling terrain on River Road, while the 5K is out-and-back on the same road.

Learn more

French Indian War Encampment

Take a walk back in time at the Sawmill Center for the Arts to view British, Colonial, French, and American Indian re-enactors depict a series of living history events and life during the French & Indian War in the 18th century.

Learn more

Leaf Peeping

Drive along the scenic River Road for beautiful fall is a scenic fall bike ride along the Clarion River, with a 35 or 60 mile route option.

Scenic Drives

Outdoor Winter Recreation

Imagine the breathtaking view of the Forest Cathedral dusted with fresh, white snow. Enjoy a variety of winter activities in Cook Forest State Park, including Show Shoeing, Ice Skating, Snowman building and winter hiking. Check the Sawmill Center for special holiday winter events.

Ice Skating Pond

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