Written by Beth Exley

Take time to see why Clarion River was voted 2019 Pennsylvania River of the Year and why it is on US Postal Service stamp. The Clarion is the only river east of the Mississippi featured on one of the twelve Wild & Scenic Rivers stamps.

The Clarion River has to offer so many opportunities for adventurer. One way to enjoy is to paddle or float the Clarion. On River Road in Cook Forest is Pale Whale Canoe where you explore the river with kayaks, canoes, tubes, or river rafts rentals or head further up the Clarion to Ridgway and Lazy River Canoe Rental for kayak, canoe, or tubes trips. To beat the heat, take a swim in the river and cool off. If power boating is more what you enjoy, go to Piney Reservoir near Clarion.

If a leisurely escape is what you are needing, take a relaxing scenic drive from Cook Forest to Ridgway. Start in Cooksburg, take River Road upriver all the way to Hallton. In Hallton, take Hallton-Spring Creek Road (Route 3002) at the Irwin Run Canoe Launch. Turn right on to Arroyo-Portland Road, cross the river until you reach Portland Mills Road (Rt 949), then take 949 into Ridgway.

If you are interested in a new place to hike, head to the new Tobecco Trail. It is a 10-mile hiking trail along the Clarion River linking Clear Creek and Cook Forest State Parks with scenic overlooks and vistas.

Bike MS: Cook Forest River Ride is more than a ride. It’s an experience grounded in camaraderie and marked by passion, inspiration, determination and pure enjoyment. It will be an experience you’ll never forget, shared with new friends and old. On September 14, join the many bicycle riders for fun and purpose. River Road is a beautiful ride and September is a great time of year for a ride.

The Clarion River is a great place to fish. The rivers many riffles and rocks offer fantastic fishing for trout and smallmouth bass. River Road provides easy access with many locations to park and wet a line. The Northern Clarion is famous for big brown trout.

Mid-winter take a carriage ride along the river during Snowman in the Forest on February 15, 2020.
No matter what activity you choose, remember to photograph your journey. Take scenic river photos and wildlife photos including eagles and river otters that frequent the Clarion River. Eagles fly over the river as well as many other birds. Hiking, you can find many scenic views to photograph and perhaps a few animals too, like deer, bear, and wild turkey.

Take your time, enjoy the Clarion River and the surrounding area and see why Clarion River was voted 2019 Pennsylvania River of the Year. For more information on things to do in PA Great Outdoors, go to

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