Cook Forest State Park, named after John Cook, the first American settler to take up residence in this area, takes up about 8,500 total acres in Pennsylvania. All of that land is filled with stunning forests made up of hemlock and pine trees. When you bring your RV to stay here for a while, you’ll get to enjoy the wonder of this landscape, all without leaving your well-shaded campsite. When you do decide to venture out into the park though, you will find lots of fun water activities that you can enjoy at the Clarion River. Bring a kayak or canoe, or even an inner tube and relax as you make your way down the river. If you prefer to stay on land, you can explore nearly 50 miles of trails, some of which are great for just hiking, and others which are great for biking or horseback riding. If you find yourself visiting during the off-season, many of the trails become available for cross-country skiing. The best news is that Cook Forest State Park is open all year long, from the time the sun rises until it sets. So you can bring your rig for a visit any time you wish.
RV Rentals in Cook Forest State Park
Transportation in Cook Forest State Park
Located in Cooksburg, Pennsylvania, driving directions for getting to Cook Forest State Park are very simple and easy to follow. The park is pretty big, so once you get inside, you might want to pick up a park map so you can easily navigate your way around without getting lost. The good news is that Cook Forest State Park is well designed to accommodate RVs, campers, and trailers, so you should have no problems getting around in your big rig. Don’t worry about tight turns, narrow roads, low bridges, or anything of the sort here. Just be sure to follow the speed limit and other road signs, and you should be good to go. Another piece of good news is that there is plenty of parking. Not only are there 210 sites to choose from, but there is also extra parking within the campground if you have extra cars and need some extra parking space.
Campgrounds and parking in Cook Forest State Park
Campsites in Cook Forest State Park
When you visit Cook Forest State Park, you will find 210 campsites to choose from. Many of these sites are great for RVs, as they offer full hookups, which include electric, water, and sewer hookups. If you don’t need full hookups, there are also some sites that only offer 30 or 50-amp electric hookups. Some other amenities that you can enjoy include nearby restrooms, showers, a laundry facility, and a dump station. At each campsite, you will have a picnic table and grill made available to you. Pets are also welcome here. The campground is open from April to December, but if you wish to come to stay during the winter season when it is still open, keep in mind that showers and restrooms are only available from May to October, and road access to the campsites is not promised to you, due to bad winter weather. Definitely be sure to check the weather forecast before heading to Cook Forest State Park in your RV.
Seasonal activities in Cook Forest State Park
There’s no better way to enjoy a meal with family than under some shade trees at a picnic table. There are plenty of picnic tables located all around the park, and most of them also come with grills for you to use. If you need more space though, there are four picnic pavilions that are available for reservation. Three of them are really big, while one of them is a bit smaller than the others. Just keep this in mind when reserving your spot. If the pavilions are left unreserved, then they become available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Canoeing and Kayaking
The Clarion River provides excellent opportunities for those who wish to take their canoes and kayaks out. If you didn’t bring your boat on your trailer, you can rent one or even a tube from the park. The river has a speed of about four miles per hour, and the two most commonly used routes are between four and 10 miles long. Be sure that you have a boating registration and launch permits before heading out to go paddling or tubing.
Hiking, Biking, and Horseback Riding
There are over 47 miles of trails that are located within Cook Forest State Park. While many of the trails are only about one to two miles long, their difficulty level can differ by a lot. There are also trails that are much longer and shorter too. Baker Trail and North County National Scenic Trail come together to total 12 miles just inside the park. The shortest trail, the Paved Trail, is just two-tenths of a mile and is wheelchair accessible. Some trails are marked for hiking only, but there are many that are labeled for multi-use as well.
If you packed the sled in the RV, now is the chance to use it if you are visiting Cook Forest State Park when there is lots of snow on the ground. There are really no restrictions as to where you’re allowed to sled, just be sure to stay safe by using common sense to avoid areas that seem a little dangerous. One of the most popular sledding hills can be found around Henrys Run Day Use Area.
When snow and ice begin to take over during the winter time, it opens up new opportunities in the park. Cross-country skiing is a great way to explore many of the trails at Cook Forest State Park. Many of them remain open solely for this reason, but there are a few that are actually kept well groomed to enhance your skiing experience. These trails are therefore more enjoyable and more popular, and they are Fire Tower Road, Toms Run Road, and a park of Forest Drive.
Cook Forest State Park is filled with beautiful natural scenery which attracts all kinds of wildlife. You will find many different species of trees such as maple, oak, black cherry, cucumber trees, hemlock, and pine trees. Other special plants include the famous rhododendron and mountain laurel. Within all of the vegetation, you might get a peek at wildlife such as deer, bears, bald eagles, turkeys, many other species of birds, and much more. So don’t forget to grab those binoculars from your campervan.