CLARION CO., Pa. — Clarion County is the western gateway to the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors and Pennsylvania Wilds regions, and it’s also the home of Cook Forest State Park, two spectacular wild and scenic rivers, the oldest golf course in continuous play in the U.S., a variety of interesting trails, a university, and award-winning events.
The majority of Cook Forest State Park and its famous old growth forest, fire tower, Seneca Point, and Henry’s Run Sawmill Dam are all located in the county. The Cook Forest Sawmill Center for the Arts offers summer theater performances, a craft market featuring handmade local artisan products, and many events and festivals.
Foxburg is charming resort town where the Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts here hosts many cultural events throughout the year at its Lincoln Hall Performing Arts Center, home of the McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer theater organ. The historic Foxburg Country Club boasts 136 years of continuous golfing history, and the town also features a hotel, winery, art gallery, chocolatier, tour operator, and restaurants with beautiful views of the Allegheny River.
Helen Furnace and Buchanan Furnace are relics of Clarion County’s rich industrial past that help to build a growing nation. Visitors can tour these historic 32 feet tall cold-blast charcoal iron furnaces built in 1840’s. The Phillipston Yard and Turntable, Climax Tunnel, and the Redbank Coaling Tower are living testaments from an era when railroads were king.
The town of Clarion sits in the middle of the county along the banks of the Clarion River, and it’s easily reached by car via Interstate 80. Exit 62 has become known as the “Traveler’s Oasis” due to its variety of lodging options, restaurants, attractions, and more just off the expressway. With forest-covered mountains in every direction and the meandering thread of the Clarion River passing through its midst, the area offers spectacular scenery throughout the year.
Each fall, the eye-popping colors of the surrounding woodlands lend their influence on the highly anticipated Autumn Leaf Festival, a huge nine-day award winning event now in its 70th year that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
At PennWest University-Clarion, the Marwick Boyd Fine Arts Center hosts numerous theater and musical performances, and the Peirce Planetarium features one of the largest astronomical domes in the state and offers regular shows open to the public during the school year. Slightly north of Clarion, the Fryburg-Marble Mayfest signals the beginning of summer each Memorial Day weekend.
Clarion County has celebrated exciting recent trail developments including the opening of the Climax Tunnel along the Redbank Valley Trail, the Clarion Loop Trail, and the expansion of the Rail 66 Country Trail between Marianne and Leeper.
In East Brady, at the south corner of the county, you can spend a day boating Pool 9 on the Allegheny River and taking in the stunning panoramic view at Brady’s Bend. Each July, the East Brady Area Riverfest convenes for a “celebration of life on the river” featuring food, vendors, live music, contests, fireworks, and a range of other attractions.
Finally, the town of New Bethlehem hosts the Clarion County Fair, an annual Peanut Butter Festival, and it features the Redbank Valley Trail, Pennsylvania’s very first Trail of the Year.
Find more things to do, see, and experience in Cook Forest and the entire Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region online at VisitPAGO.com.