Winter Programs at Cook Forest State Park

Saturday, January 1 at 100pm - ‘First Day Hike’ Join the Friends of Cook Forest at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom for a challenging 3 mile hike encompassing Ridge, Camp, Corduroy, and Liggett Trails. We’ll walk through some of the finest old growth hemlock forest in the Northeast as we circle Ridge Camp, returning along Tom’s run. Please be prepared for the weather. If trail conditions are a concern, we may walk an alternate route instead. Well behaved pets are welcome. (3 hrs)

Saturday, January 29 at 600pm - ‘Cross Country Ski Cook Forest at Night: Fire Tower Road’ Please bring your cross country skis and headlamps and meet at the Nuthole Cabin located at the entrance to Ridge Camp for a candlelit evening interpretive cross country ski trip amongst 350 year old white oak and hemlock within the old growth forest of Fire Tower Road. Ski to the box at the Fire Tower and hike to the top for a rare opportunity to take a cold wintry night view. Who knows what sort of animal tracks we’ll see… coyote, fox, fisher? If snow conditions aren’t good, we’ll snowshoe or hike instead. Hot chocolate and a cozy cabin will be available to warm us up! (2 hrs)

Saturday, February 5 at 1000am - ‘Getting Started in Maple Syrup’ Have you ever considered making your own maple syrup, or want to know how it’s made? Getting Started in Maple Syrup will provide the basic information needed to get started in making your own maple syrup. Join Scott Weikert from Penn State Extension who will explain how to get started making your own sweet treat at the Park Office Conference Room. Pre-registration required at: No walk-ins accepted. (2 hrs)

Saturday, February 12 at 7:30am - ‘Clarion River Winter Wildlife Expedition’ Just because the herds of people have migrated away during the wintertime, doesn’t mean the wildlife is gone too. Matter of fact, winter on the Clarion is one of the best times of the year to observe wildlife in the park, especially some of the oddballs that you don’t get to see in the summer: migrating birds, river otter, fisher. How many species of birds and mammals do you think we can document along the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River… 30, 40, even 50? To find out, please bring your binoculars to the Park Office for an interpretive driving tour as we search Clear Creek State Park, the Clarion River, and Cook Forest. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available at the Park Office to warm us up. (4 hrs)

Saturday, February 19 at 11:00am - ‘Snowman in the Forest Day’ - Come join us for a day of fun wintry activities along the picturesque National Wild & Scenic Clarion river within Cook Forest State Park. Various activities will be held at the new River Pavilion by the playground on River Road approximately 1-mile up-river from the RT36 Cooksburg Bridge: 11:30am - lunch provided, Chili Cook-Off (hot & mild divisions)

11:30am-2:30pm - carriage rides, sledding, snowman building, ice skating (ice skates available)

12:00-10:00pm - Snowshoe interpretive hike within the old growth forest along Cook Trail, meet at the new River Shelter

10:00pm - Happy Dog Contest

Come sample the chili during the ‘Free Chili Cook-Off’, that is, after the judges have tried some first. Hot chocolate and coffee will be on hand to help take the chill out of your bones. Enjoy a wonderful day among family and friends in Cooksburg’s winter wonderland. Event sponsored by the Cook Forest Vacation Bureau. (2.5 hrs)

Saturday, February 26 at 7:30am - ‘Otter Watch’ Please bring your binoculars and spotting scopes to the Park Office for a driving tour to otter hotspots along the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. This is the prime time of the year to witness otter activity. Chances are good to observe otter sign such as slides, tracks, and carp kills along the banks of the river. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available at the Park Office to warm us up. Maybe we’ll even get a chance to see a river otter romp in action! (3 hrs)

Saturday, March 12 at 900am - ‘Polar Bear Float’ - Cook Forest State Park will be conducting an interpretive cold weather kayaking trip on the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. Join the flotilla and celebrate the last days of winter on this four mile float. Bald eagles, river otter, mink, and mergansers have been known to make an appearance. Pack a lunch and a thermos with your favorite hot beverage. Cost is $25/boat (bring your own or we’ll supply you one) with check or money order made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All monies raised go towards future programming at Cook Forest State Park. Participants must pre-register by 3/9/22 by contacting the Park Office at (814) 744-8470. Prior kayak training participants receive a 50% discount. Safety is of utmost importance. All participants must have the following required safety equipment or will not be permitted to attend: dry suit or dry top/bottom combination, cold weather boots, waterproof gloves, waterproof stow bag, complete change of clothes. Meet at the Park Office where we will conduct a safety check for above items, load gear, and travel to the starting point up-river. (5 hrs)

Saturday, March 19 at 1100am - ‘Plant Propagation: Clone Your Favorite Natives’ - Many of the most popular decorative landscape plants can be propagated by the simple technique of rooting a piece of “parent” plant. Improve your gardening skills while saving money, by learning simple plant propagation techniques. One source plant can produce hundreds of identical offspring, at little to not cost! Join Ty Ryen, Bureau of Forestry service forester for this free in-door event at the Park Office Conference Room. Participants must pre-register at Seminar approved for 2 continuing education units for ISA Certified Arborists. (2 hrs)

Saturday, March 26 at 8:30am - ‘Eagle Watch’ - Please bring your binoculars and spotting scopes to the Park Office for a driving tour to eagle hotspots along the National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. This is the prime time of the year to view bald eagles on their nests and find new nesting sites. Expect a long car-pool and aggressive hike to some of the better areas, but the rewards will be worth it. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available at the Park Office to warm us up.

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