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3 Best Ways To Get To Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls: Cook Forest, Pennsylvania

Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls in Cook Forest PA

Located in beautiful Cook Forest State Park, the Henry Run Sawmill Dam is a lesser-known waterfall tucked away in the forest’s quiet interior. You won’t find it on any park map, but this hidden gem is worth visiting!

There are three ways of getting to Henry Run Sawmill Dam, each with challenges and alluring scenery. The scenic Clarion River and Hemlock Island are just a few hundred feet downstream of the falls.

We’ll go over the three different trails to get to this historic Dam that dates back to the booming timber industry in the 1800s. So, grab your pup (yes, it’s a dog-friendly trail!), and let’s get going!

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1. Via Baker Trail/North Country Trail

Map of Henry Run Sawmill Dam via Baker Trail North County Trail in Cook Forest

Your first option to get to Henry Run Sawmill Dam is to park along Gravel Lick Road and traverse the Baker Trail/North Country Trail for a 2.7-mile out-and-back hike. This is a moderately difficult option, so if you’re up for a challenge, let’s check it out!

Where To Park

Limited parking is available off Gravel Lick Road just before the Baker Trailhead.

  • GPS: N41.3204, W79.2453
  • Google Maps: Type in “Trailhead for Bakers/North Country Trail” and look for a small gravel pull-off just before (if coming from the north) or just after (if coming from the south).
Parking lot direction for the hike at Cook Forest.

Finding The Trailhead

Despite being a less-traveled section of the trail, the Baker/North Country trail is clearly marked at the trailhead and all along the path. 

From the small parking lot, head south (toward the Clarion River) for about 100 feet. You’ll see an obvious trail with blue and yellow blazes on your left.

Start of the trail to Henry Run Sawmill Dam in Cook Forest PA

This is the start of the trailhead, which quickly goes into a steep incline, so prepare those lungs and legs! 

You can check out the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PADCNR) website for a Henry Run Sawmill Dam Map. Just remember that the Dam isn’t marked on the map!

The Hike: Step-By-Step Guide

Once you’ve found the trailhead, it’s a pretty straightforward hike until you near the end. Don’t worry; we’re here to get you there and back again!

  1. From the trailhead, follow the steep incline for 0.3 miles. This section of the trail is narrow but well-marked with yellow and blue blazes.
Trail markers on the way to Henry Run Sawmill Dam in Cook Forest PA.
  1. Once you reach the top, you’ll be greeted with a stunning view of the Clarion River through the trees. This summit is known as Scurry Overlook. Take a rest on the bench and enjoy the view before moving on.
The Scurry Overlook on the way to Henry Run Sawmill Dam in Cook Forest PA.
  1. The trail is relatively flat for the next half mile. Around the 1-mile mark, you’ll start descending into a valley and approach an intersection with a registration box.
Registration Box trail marker at Henry Run Sawmill Dam in Cook Forest PA.
  1. Take a left at the intersection to jump on the broad path. A few yards later, you’ll see a path that cuts down to the right. Take this trail.
Trail marker for Henry Run Sawmill Dam at Cook Forest PA.
  1. Soon after taking the trail, you’ll cross a wooden bridge over Henry Run. The bridge is marked with blue and yellow blazes to let you know you’re on the right path.
The wooden bridge on the way to Henry Run Sawmill Dam at Cook Forest PA.
  1. After the bridge, you’re nearly there! Follow the well-marked path for about a tenth to a quarter mile. At this point, you should be able to hear the falls. On the right, a small off-shoot path will take you to Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls. This is the only part of the trail that is not well-marked, so keep an eye out!
The last turn before you reach Henry Run Sawmill Dam at Cook Forest PA.
  1. Once you make the right turn, you’ll head down a small hill to the Henry Run Sawmill Dam. Enjoy the views and consider following the flow of Henry Run out to the Clarion River for beautiful views of the water and Hemlock Island.
Henry Run Sawmill Dam at Cook Forest PA.
View from the air above the Clarion River.
  1. To finish the hike, turn around and head back the way you came. 

2. Via Fire Tower & Seneca Point

View of the trail map to the Henry Run Sawmill Dam at Cook Forest.

The next way to view the Henry Run Sawmill Dam is by starting at the Cook Forest Fire Tower. This is an excellent opportunity to view three breathtaking views in one hike – Henry Run Sawmill Dam, Old Fire Tower #9, and Seneca Point Overlook.

This out-and-back trail is about 2.8 miles long with a moderately challenging incline that will be uphill on the way back.

Where To Park

When Fire Tower Road is open, you can park at the Fire Tower parking area:

Fire Tower Parking Lot trail map

If Fire Tower Road is closed, such as in the winter, you may have to park at the Ridge Campground across Route 36 and walk down Fire Tower Road. This adds an extra 2.4 miles to the hike. (GPS: N41.3367, W79.2233)

If you decide to hike this trail in winter with your canine companion, we have a fantastic article with tips for hiking with dogs in winter.

Finding The Trailhead

To find the trailhead, head toward the southern end of the parking lot (toward the restroom building). The trailhead is at the confluence of the parking lot and Fire Tower Road.

There will be a sign for the Fire Tower, Seneca Point, and the Baker Trail. Hop on this trail to start your hike!

Trailhead, head toward the southern end of the parking lot (toward the restroom building)

The Hike: Step-By-Step Guide

The twistiest part of the trail is the beginning. Once you reach the Baker trail, your hike is straightforward, if not steep!

  1. From the trailhead, head south for less than a tenth of a mile until you reach the first intersection. 
  2. (Optional Seneca Point Overlook): Head right at the first intersection to view the Seneca Point Overlook. It’s another few hundred feet from the intersection to the Overlook, so it’s worth the trip!
Walking out onto the Seneca Overlook in Cook Forest.
  1. (Optional Old Fire Tower #9): From Seneca Point Overlook, return to the original intersection and continue straight. You’ll see a trail on the left that drops down a hill as you walk. This is the Seneca Trail. Ignore this and go straight to see the Fire Tower (I highly recommend it!).
From Seneca Point Overlook, return to the original intersection and continue straight.
  1. The trail splits ahead, but both lead to the Fire Tower, so you can take either one. Follow it for a tenth mile to Old Fire Tower #9, built in 1929. This 87.5-foot tower can be climbed nearly to the top for a magnificent view of the Clarion River Valley.
Old fire tower #9 in Cook Forest PA.
  1. Once you’ve taken in the views, head back to the ground. While facing the Fire Tower, you should see a narrow trail off to the right and a sign for the River Trail.
The River Trail Sign near the fire tower in Cook Forest.
  1. Take the River Trail and follow it for about 1.2 miles. Eventually, you’ll come to a wide-open path. The trail to Henry Run Falls will be on your left. It’s easy to miss, so keep a close watch once you hit the 1.2-mile mark.
Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls Cook Forest, PA last path just before the end.
  1. To finish out the hike, head back the way you came to the Fire Tower Road parking lot.

3. Via Mohawk And North Country Trail

Trail map of Henry Run Sawmill Dam falls Cook Forest

The longest and most challenging way to get to Henry Run Sawmill Dam is via the Mohawk Trail to the North Country Trail. The total length of this out-and-back hike is around 5 miles. 

This trail will take you past Seneca Point Overlook and the Fire Tower, two fantastic opportunities to stop for scenic views of the Clarion River.

Where To Park

Parking is available at the Cook Forest State Park Office. There’s a fair amount of parking spaces, but it can fill up on busy summer days.

  • GPS: N41.3334, W79.2098
  • Address: 100 PA-36, Cooksburg, PA 16217
  • Google Maps: Type in “Cook Forest State Park Office”

Finding The Trailhead

From the State Park Office, head north toward Forest Road (away from the Clarion River), being mindful of traffic. 

At the intersection with Forest Road, look across the road. There will be a ‘Mohawk Trail‘ sign and a gate across the trail saying ‘Road Closed.’ This marks the trailhead!

Start of the Mohawk trail in Cook Forest which heads to the Fire Tower.

The Hike: Step-By-Step Guide

The trails along the Mohawk are marked with yellow blazes. The trail was in pretty rough shape when we went, with fallen trees all across it due to a hellacious windstorm. These yellow blazes were a lifesaver!

  1. From the trailhead, follow the trail slightly uphill for about a tenth of a mile. You’ll come to a sign indicating the Mohawk trail leading up and to the right. Follow the sign to stay on the trail.
Part of the trail at Henry Run Sawmill Dam falls Cook Forest
  1. You’ll come to the first intersection around the half-mile mark. It is a four-way intersection, and you’ll want to head left on the North Country Trail. It is marked with blue and yellow blazes.
Another part of the trail at Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls Cook Forest
  1. After 0.2 miles, you’ll pass a slightly confusing sign for Seneca Trail, Deer Park Trail, and Baker Trail. The Seneca Trail is an off-shoot to the left, but we want to continue on the Baker Trail, so keep heading straight!
Trail Sign at Henry Run Sawmill Dam Fall Cook Forest.
  1. After another 0.4 miles, you’ll come to another intersection. A wide-open path runs left to right. To the right is Seneca Point Overlook. To the left is the Fire Tower and trail to the Henry Run Sawmill Dam.
Part of the trail at Henry Run Sawmill Dam Fall Cook Forest
  1. (Optional Seneca Point Overlook): A short tenth of a mile to the right is the Seneca Point Overlook. I recommend taking a slight detour for a terrific view of the Clarion River Valley.
  2. Whether you decide to go to the Overlook or not, our next destination is the Fire Tower. Back at our original intersection, head left toward Old Fire Tower #9.
From Seneca Point Overlook, return to the original intersection and continue straight.
  1. There is a ‘Y’ in the trail, but both lead to the Fire Tower, so you can take either trail. After a tenth of a mile, you’ll be at the base of this 87-foot tower, initially manned to spot forest fires. You can climb it nearly to the top for tremendous views, especially in the Fall.
Old fire tower #9 in Cook Forest PA.
  1. Once you’ve taken in the views, head back to the ground. While facing the Fire Tower, you should see a narrow trail off to the right and a sign for the River Trail.
The River Trail Sign near the fire tower in Cook Forest.
  1. Take the River Trail and follow it for about 1.2 miles. Eventually, you’ll come to a wide path. The trail to Henry Run Falls will be on your left. It’s easy to miss, so stay vigilant!
Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls Cook Forest, PA last path just before the end.
  1. To finish out the hike, head back the way you came to the Cook Forest State Park Office.

If you’re ready to celebrate your journey’s end with a craft brew, check out our article on the top 4 dog-friendly breweries near Cook Forest!

Henry Run Sawmill Dam History

Not much is known about the Henry Run Sawmill Dam and waterfall. We know that it was used by a sawmill during the late 1800s when the logging industry was booming.

You won’t find much evidence of the sawmill nowadays, but the Dam and subsequent waterfall still flow strongly! This is the only waterfall in Cook Forest State Park and sits at a height of about 10 feet.

The Henry Run Sawmill Dam Hike is an intriguing look back at the area’s history. The peace and quiet you’ll enjoy on this less-traveled path makes the journey all the sweeter.

Finishing Up The Journey: Henry Run Sawmill Dam

Robyn and Jarrod at Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls in Cook Forests PA

Henry Run Sawmill Dam is an exciting journey to a lesser-known waterfall. Despite its beauty, you won’t find many other people on this trail, even during the busy season.

The secret? It’s not on any park map! We traversed via the Baker Trail from Gravel Lick Road when we went to Henry Run Falls. It was somewhat challenging, but nothing we (or our three-legged dog Pawdrick) couldn’t handle!

Do you have another way to get to Henry Run Sawmill Dam? Or a tip for future hikers who want to see this gorgeous waterfall? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for other activities near Cook Forest State Park? Check out our ultimate guide on 32 things to do near Cook Forest!

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