The seat of its namesake county, Clarion was originally settled around 1840 and named for the nearby Clarion River, which was itself named for the water's loud, clear sound. The town plays host to an annual Autumn Leaf Festival, which celebrates the transient beauty of fall. With the 6,000-acre Cook Forest Park fronting eight miles of the river, Clarion is an ideal destination for campers, hikers, and anybody else who loves trees. In fact, Cook Forest Park contains the largest stand of virgin white pine east of the Mississippi. Walking tours offer visitors a look at the varied architectural styles of the historic downtown. Clarion is also home to Clarion University.