Clarion is a historical town in northwestern Pennsylvania in the scenic Appalachian Mountain region. Clarion University of Pennsylvania is at its heart while the natural wonders of the Cook Forest State Park, the Clarion River and the Allegheny River surround the city.
Clarion’s historical roots can be seen along Main Street, where local specialty stores have 19th-century facades. Go past the county courthouse, a Victorian-era building featuring an impressive 213-foot (65-meter) tower. Visit Cobbtown to see the remains of a 1800s logging boomtown, and learn about the iron, lumber and oil industries that sustained the community during that time. See Helen’s Furnace and Iron Works, built in 1845. View remnants of the Bracket Dams used to create artificial floods to float logs to the Clarion River. Learn about local history at the Sutton-Ditz Museum, and see the influence of this history on local and regional art at the Cook Forest Sawmill Center for the Arts.
If you enjoy outdoor adventure, head to Cook Forest State Park where you can hunt, fish, swim, camp and, in the winter months, cross-country ski. See the views of Clarion River Valley from the Fire Tower at Seneca Point Lookout and enjoy a scenic boat ride on the Clarion River. Walk through the “Forest Cathedral,” a national natural area of tall pines and hemlocks. The really adventurous can backpack from Pittsburgh past Clarion to the Allegheny National Forest, a multiday trip of more than 100 miles (160 kilometers). You can also explore other historical places such as the Indian Cabins, Log Cabin Inn, River Cabins and the Old Contact Station, where you can discover the history of the French and Indian War Encampment. Within the park, you can dine, ride horseback, race go-cars, enjoy weekend markets, see a theater show or play mini-golf.
Clarion’s welcoming and relaxing atmosphere makes it a great base to explore the historical and natural wonders that surround the community. If you are in town during the fall, be sure to see the town’s signature event, the annual Autumn Leaf Festival.