Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls is hidden in an area of the park that few visitors reach and doesn’t appear at all on the park map. However, those that have the chance to take the hike to see it are rewarded with one of the most beautiful and unique waterfalls in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Henry Run is a small tributary of the Clarion River. It flows into the river at Hemlock Island a short distance downstream of the Route 36 bridge.
Only about 100 feet upstream from the confluence you’ll find an old dam on Henry Run. This dam was used by a sawmill during the area’s logging boom in the mid to late 1800s. While nearly all evidence of the sawmill is gone today, its dam that it used for power still exists.
The dam is approximately 10 feet tall and 50-60 feet wide. The weathered rocks create an amazing look to the dam, and it would be one of the most beautiful dams I’ve ever seen even if it didn’t have a waterfall.
While the exact width of the falls will vary by water levels, the falls typically flow through a small cut in the rocks that is about 10-15 feet wide. Since the dam is about 10 feet in height, the waterfall is approximately the same height as well.
Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls (a mouthful, I know, but the best name I could come up with) is shockingly not on the park map despite being the only waterfall in Cook Forest State Park. However, it’s easy to find while hiking along the North Country Trail, which is also called the Baker Trail on this stretch.
The waterfall sits approximately equidistant between Gravel Lick Road and the area around the Cook Forest Fire Tower and Seneca Point. However, the hike in is slightly shorter and easier when hiking in from Gravel Lick Road, so that’s what I’ll describe here.
All told, the hike is about 2.6 miles round trip to the waterfall.
From the parking area (See how to find it at the bottom of this article), cross the road and pick up the North Country Trail/Baker Trail. The trail soon climbs, ascending about 150 feet in the first quarter-mile before leveling out.
At a third of a mile, you’ll reach Scurry Overlook, which has a nice view and a place to sit if you need to rest.
Soon after the overlook, the trail begins to descend, losing about 300 feet of elevation in the next 0.75 miles. The trail descends through a beautiful forest and is easy to follow, though a bit narrow and overgrown in a few spots.
At 1.1 miles, the trail reaches an old dirt road and a trail register. Turn left onto the dirt road and after a short distance, turn right to cross Henry Run on a wooden bridge.
After crossing the bridge, turn right and continue on the trail. Henry Run Sawmill Dam will be about 100 yards down the trail on your right just before Henry Run’s confluence with the Clarion River.
Once you’ve had your fill of this beautiful spot, simply turn around and retrace your steps back to your vehicle.
While Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls might not be a natural waterfall, the historic nature of the dam and the sheer beauty of the spot make this a worthwhile waterfall to visit in my opinion.
How to Get to Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls
Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls is located far from any road but is easy to find if you follow the North Country Trail through Cook Forest State Park.
In my opinion, the best place to park to see the falls is is along Gravel Lick Road, which is west of the main park area. There is a small parking area for 2-3 cars on the west side of the road at the following coordinates: 41.320583, -79.245767.
From here, cross the road and start hiking east on the North Country Trail for 1.6 miles to the falls.
The waterfall can be found at the following coordinates: 41.321150, -79.226917.
Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls can also be reached by hiking the North Country Trail/Baker Trail from Seneca Point and the Cook Forest Fire Tower. While this area is more convenient from the main attractions in Cook Forest State Park, it’s a bit more challenging hike.
If you want to start your hike here instead, park at the following coordinates and pick up the trail from the parking area: 41.321808, -79.212000.
[Click here for information on how to use coordinates to find your destination.]