Cook Forest State Park Hiking: Part 2

To properly review this hike, I’ve broken it down into two posts. See the first leg of the trip in Cook Forest Part 1.”So, where were we… ” (in the tone of the storyteller grandfather from Princess Bride…) “Oh, yes, the forest.” We crossed the road and headed toward the swinging bridge entering into what is known as the Cathedral Forest area of the park. A nice bridge… not quite a cool as the one at Trough Creek, but nice (I’ll tell you about Trough Creek another time.) Anyhow, from the swinging bridge we headed up the hill on Rhododendron Trail. This 1.2 mile trail is moderate hiking and a moderate climb. The trail is clear and well marked, making it an relatively easy climb. We found some nice large rocks to sit on and have a snack to try to get our sugar levels up so that we could keep going.

We followed Rhododendron until it met Indian Trail, going right into what we thought was going to be some sort of focal point on the forest. We saw a focal point, but it was a tree. Although the trees were large and awesome, so were the rocks. These gorgeous boulders just sitting there, cool and warm at the same time…. majestic and earthly at once. I could have sat there all day.

Cook Forest Trees
Cook Forest Trees
Forest Cathedral

But, alas, by turing right, we were heading further away from our parking spot. We took in the sites for a few moments and turned around.

Penn couldn’t resist drinking from
the Memorial Fountain,
despite the warnings not to…he can’t read.

We stayed on Indian as we crossed Rhododendron to catch Longfellow Trail. At this crossing, we turned right onto Longfellow so that we could follow it down to the Memorial Fountain which was behind our starting place at the Log Cabin. This part of the forest shows signs of storms and tornados that ripped trees out of the ground and stormed through this peaceful place. Just fabulous. Longfellow is considered moderate hiking and it was especially moderate for us, as we were heading downhill. A plus at this point since were were heading into hour number four. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Longfellow landed us right at our starting point near the Log Cabin.
The trails on this side of the road seemed to be much easier and more populated. I’m glad we did this side first, as we may not have made it through the others after hiking for several hours.

Cook Forest Hike: Part 2 Summary

Birch Trail to the Swinging Bridge;
Swinging Bridge up and to the left onto Rhododendron;
Rhododendron to Indian Trail;
Right on Indian for a short while and then turn around and stay on Indian until it meets Longfellow Trail;
Right onto Longfellow. 
Follow back to Log Cabin.
This park gets two thumbs up for beauty and for the number of trails available. I feel like I could go back again and again and see something new every time.

Useful info:
Cook Forest Trails Info