Reasons To Stay At A Koa Campground In Pa
KOA offers affordable vacation opportunities, a staff thats focused on customer service and meeting your needs and plenty of amenities including laundry facilities, clean bathrooms with hot water, activities, playgrounds and much more. You and your family will enjoy a fun and memorable camping experience when you stay at a KOA campground in Pennsylvania.
No matter why youre deciding to venture into the great outdoors, youll find the best locations for camping in Pennsylvania and the best experience when you choose KOA. Find a location thats near things to do in Pennsylvania that youre interested in and plan your trip today.
Bald Eagle State Forest
Named after the famous Native American chief, Bald Eagle, Bald Eagle State Forest covers 193,424 acres of high, sharp ridges and tracts of old-growth forest with miles of refreshing mountain streams. Due to its location within the ridge and valley section of Pennsylvania, Bald Eagle State Forest has breath-taking sights you cant find anywhere else in the state.
From the Allegheny Mountains in the northwest to the limestone-rich Susquehanna Valley in the southeast, the Bald Eagle forest district spotlights a series of striking sandstone ridges. Some of Bald Eagle State Forests peaks reach heights of up to 2,300 feet above sea level.
Each year, visitors flock to Bald Eagle State Forest for its numerous trails and natural areas. From the Mid State Trail to the old-growth forests, vistas and countless other multiple areas, Bald Eagle State Forest has something to offer every nature enthusiast. The Poe Paddy area is a particularly popular spot among visitors because of its scenic canyons and rugged ridges.
And with 45 designated motorized camping sites, there is no shortage of space for overnight guests. These motorized campsites each come with off-road parking, a fire ring and a picnic table. Despite the many campsites available, it is still recommended that campers call ahead to reserve a spot and request a permit for no charge.
Cook Forest Fire Tower
Built in 1929, the Cook Forest Fire Tower rises 87.5 feet above the hilltop to provide a commanding view of the valley below. While the tower was built to provide a lookout for firefighters, it has been used solely as a viewing point since the mid-1960s.
Climbing the 108 steps to the top of the tower gives you a great feel for the area around the tower, though I was disappointed to discover at the top that the observation area is only open on occasion.
The fire tower is still the original structure, meaning that it can be a bit rickety, swaying with even the slightest breeze. Because of this, and the open nature of the metal construction, it takes a bit of nerve to climb to the top. However, those that do are rewarded with a great view.
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Fantastic Things To Do In Cook Forest State Park
Every once in a while, I visit somewhere in Pennsylvania with no expectations and am blown away by what I find. My visit to Cook Forest State Park was one of those times.
Located in the Pennsylvania Wilds along the borders of Clarion, Forest, and Jefferson Counties, Cook Forest State Park is off the beaten path for many travelers. However, those that make it up to this lightly visited corner of the state are greeted by one of the most beautiful state parks in Pennsylvania.
Driving into the park along the Clarion River from nearby Beartown Rocks and Clear Creek State Park, I was astonished by the areas beauty. Even though much of the park had yet to fully bloom, the beauty of Cook Forest State Park was unmistakable.
Its not an exaggeration to say that I fell in love with the park before I even got out of sight of the welcome sign.
Here are a few of my top picks for things to do in Cook Forest State Park during your next visit to the area.
Waterfalls Of Pennsylvania By Jim Cheney
If you love PA waterfalls, you won’t want to miss this aterfall book from Jim Cheney, author of Uncovering PA, featuring more than 180 great waterfalls. Order it now on Bookshop.org or .
This 1.2-mile trail passes by some of the largest trees in the park, as well as an area damaged in a 1956 tornado. Seeing the majesty of such large trees, as well as how quickly they can be brought down, is really a testament to the power of nature.
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Where To Camp For Free In Central Pennsylvania
Whats the perfect activity for having fun while complying with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines? Camping, of course! As an outdoor activity, camping is a great way to get away from crowded spaces and enjoy nature with your family.
Regardless of social distancing, camping is always a fun weekend activity full of fresh air, connecting with nature and kicking back with some friends and smores. And as a bonus, camping can be free if you know the right places to go. This guide to free camping in Central Pennsylvania will give you the top 10 spots to camp without paying an expensive campsite reservation fee.
What To Do During A Camping Trip To Cook Forest
River Floating, Canoeing, and Kayaking
You can bring your own canoe, kayak or raft/tube.
If you do have your own equipment the Pale Whale will ride you down to a river launch for a small fee.
Otherwise, you have a long 4 to 10-mile walk downriver ahead of you.
The first year I went to Cook Forest we brought a raft and walked down the river launch and it was awful and exhausting so I highly recommend driving or getting a ride.
If you dont have your own equipment you can rents kayaks, canoes, and tubes at the Pale Whale and/or Cook Forest Canoe Rental.
We have rented a canoe from the Pale Whale and had no issues using this company. We did wait in line for a long time but that is to be expected in the summer months.
The Clarion is perfect to catch trout and other warm-water game fish.
I have caught a few small mouth bass and a couple blue gills from the Clarion but I am not the best fisher.
There is also Toms Run, which is a 2.5-mile stream that runs into the Clarion. The little stream is stocked every year with trout.
Cook Forest Fire Tower
Many park-goers head to the 87.5 feet tall fire tower to get a beautiful view of the valley below.
There are 47 miles of hiking within Cook Forest. Some of the most beautiful hiking is in the Forest Cathedral Natural Area. The Natural Area is home to hemlock and white pine trees that are over 300 years old.
There are some other activities in Cook Forest for those who are less apt to nature.
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North County National Scenic Trail
While it might not be the most well known of Americas long-distance trails, the North Country National Scenic Trail, or simply the North Country Trail, is an incredible spot for hiking.
The North Country Trail is 4,600 miles long and travels from Vermont to North Dakota. It crosses through the northwestern corner of PA, and the section in Cook Forest State Park is one of the best places to try out this path.
In the park, the North Country Trail runs with the Baker Trail, a 140-mile trail that goes from Freeport, PA through the Allegheny National Forest. A total of 12 miles of these trails runs through Cook Forest State Park.
Cook Forest State Park
|Location of Cook Forest State Park in Pennsylvania
|Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
|Show map of the United States
|Off PA 36 at Cooksburg, Cooksburg, Pennsylvania
Cook Forest State Park is a 8,500-acre Pennsylvania state park in Farmington Township, Clarion County, Barnett Township, Forest County and Barnett Township, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania in the United States. Located just south of the Allegheny National Forest, the park is a heavily wooded area of rolling hills and mountains along the Clarion River in northwestern Pennsylvania. Cook Forest State Park is known for some of America’s finest virgin white pine and hemlock timber stands and was once called the “Black Forest” due to the preponderance of evergreen tree coverage.
Cook Forest is now a National Natural Landmark and was rated one of America’s top 50 state parks by National Geographic Traveler magazine. It was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and its Bureau of Parks as one of “25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks”.
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Cabins & Campgrounds To Escape To In The Allegheny National Forest
Ready to explore Mother Natures playground? The Allegheny National Forest offers rustic cabins and scenic campgrounds with full amenities and many nearby attractions for the entire family to enjoy. Pick your pleasure at any of these outdoor camping sites.
Know before you go: We recommend contacting your destination before your visit for their latest rules and regulations. Find up-to-date COVID-19 traveler resources on the visitPA website.
Purple Lizard Pa Adventure Pack: All Of The Pennsylvania State Forest Maps
Big Adventures need big maps – and we have a massive amount of Pennsylvania public land covered for you. You will not find a better collection of PA maps for exploration and adventure!
Our collection of 9 Pennsylvania Adventure Series Lizard Maps opens up a massive swath of territory that includes public land across 10 State Forests. From just below the NY border you can explore south to Rothrock State Forest and continue to Michaux State Forest and the Maryland state line. Follow the Mason-Dixon line west to Forbes State Forest on the Ohiopyle-Laurel Highlands Map and then head to northwestern PA and explore Cook and Clear Creek Forests.
“Getting lost and finding your way again is part of the adventure…if you are following a red line on a screen all those opportunities don’t exist, they’re sort of taken away.” Elspeth Beard, the first British woman to travel the world by motorbike.
From North to South: Loyalsock-Worlds End Lizard Map, Pine Creek Lizard Map, Moshannon-Quehanna Lizard Map, Rothrock Lizard Map, Raystown Lizard Map, Bald Eagle Lizard Map, Michaux Lizard Map and the Ohiopyle-Laurel Highlands Lizard Map.
Purchased separately this collection is $153.00
Looking for ideas to explore our PA maps? Check out the PA Fall Adventure Guide and the other downloadable Lizard Adventure Guidesthat accompany each map, and be sure to look through the blog archives for our hikes and ride stories.
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Places To Camp For Free In Central Pennsylvania
For those looking for an isolated, inexpensive alternative to the noise and crowds of developed campgrounds, Pennsylvania offers hundreds of free campsites throughout the state. Because Central Pennsylvania has the Appalachian Mountains running right through the middle of it, the area is a prime destination for good hiking, gorgeous scenery and free camping.
Most of the sites that offer free camping in Central Pennsylvania are located on state forest lands and do not provide any amenities, though some may have a fire ring or a picnic table for guests. These types of primitive sites are typically intended for tent camping. If you want to bring a small trailer or camper van, be sure to contact the campsites district office to find out whether they are allowed or can be accommodated.
Although these campsites are free to visit, they do require registration, so remember to call ahead and reserve your spot. Most of the sites also require a camping permit for multiple-night stays. These permits are free and can be easily obtained by calling the district office.
Finally, read through both the CDC guidelines for visiting parks and recreational facilities and this brochure of camping guidelines and ethics to make sure you practice good camping etiquette. Knowing the right way to camp will help you preserve the beautiful forests of Central Pennsylvania, remain respectful of other fellow campers and stay safe in the wilderness.
Taking A Camping Trip To Cook Forest Is A Great Way To Enjoy Nature And Escape The Hustle Of Day To Day Life
Cook Forest is a two-hour drive from Pittsburgh so its no surprise that I go there almost every year to go camping.
This year my boyfriend and I desperately wanted to get out of the house for a weekend after being stuck inside for quarantine.
As soon as Pennsylvania allowed private campgrounds to open I booked our trip and left after work on Friday.
It was so nice to escape everything that was going on with the world and connect with nature.
It was also a bonus that there is no cell phone service anywhere in the park so we could be left alone and forget about modern life.
If you have never been to Cook Forest State Park I highly recommend it as it has some of the most beautiful views I have seen in my adventures of visiting Pennsylvania state parks.
Keep reading to get further details about Cook Forest to plan your own getaway!
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Willow Creek Cabin Rentals
Be at peace with nature without the noise of technology at Willow Creek, an internet and cellphone service free zone. While staying at Willow Creek Cabins, you can enjoy year-round outdoor activities, such as world class fishing and hunting, hiking, sightseeing, or riding ATVs through the forest.
Whispering Winds Campground & Cabins
Gather up your family and friends and come enjoy the beautiful mountain views of the great outdoors at the Whispering Winds Campground. Listen to the babbling brook and the trees rustling in the wind during your peaceful hike or explore the many scenic attractions in the Allegheny National Forest with your family.
To find even more cabins and campgrounds in the Allegheny National Forest, visit the ANF website. For more inspiring camping experiences, check out the visitPA.com website. Follow us on , , and to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Dont forget to sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter so you never miss an update.
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Spring Heralds The Return Of Camping In Cook Forest State Park
CLARION CO., Pa. As trees begin to bud, wildflowers emerge, and other signs of spring pop up around the state, so do the appearance of tents and RVs at campsites in the Cook Forest State Park.
Staying overnight in Cook Forest State Park allows you to experience the rhythms and routines of the forest at night. From experiencing amazing sunsets, to gazing at the stars, to hearing the calls of nocturnal wildlife, camping can provide a newfound and deeper appreciation of nature.
Camping also provides an affordable way for families to spend quality time together by having new experiences and disconnecting from the distractions of technology. And, its proven to be good for your physical and mental health.
Want to give it a try, but dont know where to start? Lets break it down for you
Forest Ridge Cabins & Campgrounds
Conveniently nestled in the Allegheny National Forest, Forest Ridge Cabins & Campgrounds is a family-oriented campground that offers large, shaded sites and full-facility cabins with private hot tubs, heated outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, and cell phone service. You and the squad will be just minutes from Cook Forest and Loleta State Park with the Clarion River not far beyond.
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Red Bridge Recreation Area
The Red Bridge Recreation Area is located nine miles northwest of Kane, PA and is on the eastern shore of Kinzua Bay, a southern branch of the Allegheny Reservoir. A fun little fact for the history buffs out there: The recreation area is located near the site of a former Civilian Conservation Corps unit known as Camp #3. During World War II, it was used as a German Prisoner-of-War Camp.
Camping With Your Animal Companions
Did you know you can camp with your pets? You dont have to leave your animal companions at home!
Pennsylvania state parks allow pets on designated campsites in 56 state park campgrounds, with more campsites being added each year.
This includes any dog or cat commonly kept in household captivity, or a caged pet that will not be released from its cage, like birds and hamsters.
Pets can only be brought into a designated campground if caged, contained in a vehicle, trailer, motor home or camper, or on a leash. No more than two non-caged pets are allowed to stay on any one campsite.
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Cabins Campsites & Lodging
Twisted Branch Cabin
|This cabin has been recently remodeled from top to bottom. There is an open cathedral ceiling, from the dining room to the living room. Fireplace, beautiful spiral staircase, 3 bedrooms upstairs, 1 private bedroom downstairs, bath room, private deck and backyard, fire pit, grill, and picnic table. This cabin sleeps up to 8 people.
Camping In Cook Forest Pennsylvania
Cook Forest State Park contains over 6,000 acres, spans three counties and offers year-round outdoor activities. The park has 27 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and ATV and snowmobile use. Hunting, fishing and trapping are allowed in the park. Visitors who want to camp in Cook Forest have several options within the park itself or they can choose one of five private campgrounds in the immediate area.
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