Laurel Hill State Park
Laurel Hill State Park consists of 4,062 acres of mountainous terrain in Somerset County. The 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake is a focal point of the park. Laurel Hill is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine state park and state forest lands. A trail system invites visitors to explore the park and observe the diversity of plants and wildlife. The Jones Mill Run Dam and the Hemlock Trail Natural Area are two must-see destinations on your visit.
Hiking - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Education - Mountain Biking - Giftshop - Snowshoeing - Sledding - Snowmobiling - Ice Fishing - Organized Group Cabin Camps - Organized Group Tenting - Laurel Hill Lodge - Camping Cottages - Camping
Picnicking: Three picnic areas have over 500 picnic tables. Picnic Area No. 1 has horseshoe pits, a large ball field, playground equipment and two picnic pavilions. Picnic Area No. 3 is by the beach and has playground equipment, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball court, boat rental and three picnic pavilions. Picnic Area No. 4, located at the upper end of the lake by the boat mooring and launching area, provides excellent shoreline fishing.
Five picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Swimming: A 1,200-foot sand beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules. Swimming is only permitted within the designated buoy areas. Maximum depth is five feet. The beach has an ADA accessible ramp to the lake, an ADA accessible beach wheelchair and an ADA accessible restroom. A food concession is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Explore swimming for more information.
Boating: electric motors only
Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Fishing: The 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake has bass, trout, catfish, sucker, bluegill, perch, crappie and sunfish. Laurel Hill Creek and Jones Mill Run are excellent trout streams. A fishing license, not available at the park office, is required for people ages 16 and older. A fishing pier for people with disabilities is near the bridge over Laurel Hill Creek.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: Over 2,200 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are rabbit, squirrel, grouse, turkey, deer, black bear, Canada goose and raccoon. Most of Laurel Hill Lake is open to goose and waterfowl hunting.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner's car, trailer or leased campsite. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Mountain Biking: 15 miles of trails
Hiking: 15 miles of trails
Beltz Trail: 2.75 miles, more difficult hiking
Bobcat Trail: 1 mile, most difficult hiking
Copper Kettle Trail: 1 mile, easiest hiking
Hemlock Trail: 1.2 miles, more difficult hiking
Lake Trail: 1.75 miles, most difficult hiking
Martz Trail: 1 mile, easiest hiking
Pumphouse Trail: 1.6 miles, easiest hiking
Ridge Trail: 1.5 miles, more difficult hiking
Tram Road Trail: 1.7 miles, more difficult hiking
Waterline Trail: 0.6 mile, more difficult hiking
For a Safe Hike
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
One walled tent is available for rent. The tent sleeps six people and has a refrigerator, bunk beds with mattresses and electricity. Campers must bring bedding, camping stove, and cooking and eating utensils.
The campground is open from mid-April and closes the third Sunday in October. Site occupancy is limited to one family unit (persons living under one household) or one non-family unit limited to five persons, including one responsible individual 18 years of age or older. The maximum camping period is 14 consecutive nights.
Explore camping for more information.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host position
Camping Cottages: Eight cottages near the campground sleep five people in either single bunks or double/single bunks, and have wooden floors, windows, screened porch, picnic table, fire ring and electric heat, lights and outlets.
Hufman Lodge:Tucked away in a secluded area of Laurel Hill State Park, Hufman Lodge is modern yet retains rustic charm. The large fireplace, cathedral ceiling and large, private deck overlooking the park and the Laurel Highlands make the lodge cozy and spectacular.
The lodge is well equipped for the winter recreation season, including ski and snowboard racks, and glove and boot dryers. The two-story lodge has five bedrooms, which sleep 14 guests in five double beds (including pull-out couches) and six twin beds (bunk beds). The lodge has three bathrooms (two full, one ¾), one and one-half kitchens, recreation room and laundry.
Explore Hufman Lodge for more information.
Organized Group Tenting: Qualified, organized adult and youth groups day use the 120-person capacity area. This area is open year-round. Limited facilities include vault toilets, drinking water, fire rings and picnic tables. Reservations are required. Youth groups must have one adult leader for each 10 youths. Trailers are prohibited. Fires can only be made in designated locations. Standing timber cannot be cut.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Organized Group Cabin Camps: Large, cabin camps are available for nonprofit organized youth and adult groups from the first Friday in June to September 30. Facilities include flush toilets, central shower house, large dining hall and kitchen, plus small cabins for campers. Applications are only available at the park office.
Explore organized group cabins for more information.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Snowshoeing: All 15 miles of hiking trails are ideal for showshoeing.
Sledding: A sledding hill is located in the field loop area of the campground. Lighted on weekends until 9 p.m. as conditions permit, a large fire ring and wood are also provided for sledders.
Snowmobiling: The ten-mile trail system in the park connects with an over 120-mile trail system in Forbes State Forest. The trail system is open daily for registered snowmobiles after the end of deer season in late December. Trail maps are available at the park office.
Ice Fishing: The 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake is open to ice fishing. Common species are bass, trout and perch. Ice thickness is not monitored. For your safety, be sure the ice is at least four inches thick and carry safety equipment.
Visit the volunteer-supported gift shop for clothing, books, educational toys, and Laurel Hill State Park complex souvenirs. Proceeds benefit the parks’ educational and recreational programs. The outpost is in the visitor center.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The park offers a wide variety of environmental education, interpretive and recreational programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation and understanding of the park’s natural and cultural resources as well as enjoying the recreational opportunities.
Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available. Programs are offered March to November. Contact the park office for a schedule of programs.
A visitor center is located within the beige farmhouse at the entrance to the campground.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
The rich flora and fauna of Laurel Hill State Park make it a great place to watch wildlife year round. The mixed deciduous forest is dominated by oak, maple, cherry and poplar trees with an understory of witch hazel, serviceberry, rhododendron and mountain laurel. Although most of the park was timbered in the early 1900s, for unknown reasons the Hemlock Trail Natural Area remains intact. The massive eastern hemlocks within this six-acre old growth stand are now approaching the climax stage of succession.
Wildflowers are common and range from the early blooming snow trillium and spring beauties that grace the trail edges, to the goldenrod and sow thistles that color the fields and roadsides well into November.
Whether by sound or sight, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of bird species, both migrant and resident. Especially popular are the tree swallows and eastern bluebirds that inhabit the park’s twenty-box cavity-nesting trail. The trail winds from below the campground to the meadow across from the visitor center. This relatively open area is also a popular hunting ground for diurnal raptors, such as the red-tailed hawk and nocturnal predators such as tiny screech owls that nest in the area each year.
In the spring and early summer, calls of spring peepers, bullfrogs and American toads fill the night, intermingled with the haunting calls of great horned and barred owls. Ruffed grouse drum on air making a sound like an engine trying to start.
Late in the summer, the chirps, trills and buzzes of katydids, cicadas and tree crickets fill the night.
Small Mammals like woodchucks, chipmunks, and gray, red and fox squirrels are commonly seen throughout the park during daylight hours. White-tailed deer and eastern cottontail rabbits are most often seen at dawn or dusk in the more open meadow areas. The elusive mink, fox, black bear, coyote, bobcat and fisher have been spotted in the park. Familiar to every camper are the skunk, raccoon and opossum that frequent the park in search of carelessly stored camp foods.
Please observe wildlife only from a distance and do not feed wildlife.
Hemlock Trail Natural Area
Ancient hemlock trees, 200-300 years old with diameters up to 3 ½ feet, line the creek along this gentle trail. The scenery is spectacular with moss carpeting small rocks and boulders, the creek running wide and clear, and virgin hemlocks providing the final magic touch. The Hemlock Natural Area at the center of the Hemlock Trail loop contains outstanding ancient hemlocks. Along the upper loop of the trail are impressive black cherry, yellow birch, beech, maples, and oaks.
Explore natural areas for more information.
Discover Fall - Scenic Driving Tour
Welcome to the beautiful Laurel Highlands, filled with scenic byways, picturesque overlooks, and unique, quaint communities. This area spans a four county region including Westmoreland, Fayette, Cambria and Somerset counties. Beginning in October the ridges and valleys come to life with color, with the peak near mid October. The Discover Fall tour provides two distinct driving routes through the Laurel Highlands linking state forest and state park lands, small town community events and programs with scenic drives of fall color.
Northern Loop: This approximately 125-mile loop is the quintessential “leaf peeper” road trip. The tour closely follows the ridge offering views at every turn. Highlights include a stop at the third deepest gorge in Pennsylvania, a ride on the world’s steepest vehicular incline, a walk to a bog and a pleasant drive through and past five state parks and a state forest. Allow a minimum of four hours to complete the tour. Laurel Hill, Laurel Mountain, Laurel Ridge, Laurel Summit and Linn Run state parks.
Southern Loop: This approximately 70- mile loop offers meandering drives through the valleys between the ridges of the highlands. Highlights include stops within three state parks and views of the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania from both on top of the ridge and from the Youghiogheny River. Allow a minimum of 2½ hours to complete the tour. Laurel Hill, Laurel Ridge and Ohiopyle state parks.
Discover Birds and Blossoms - Scenic Driving Tour
The return of our feathered friends coupled with the bloom of spring flowers provides the perfect opportunity to explore the Laurel Highlands. This tour will guide you to some of our area’s best birding spots from a mountaintop bog to the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania. The tour visits Laurel Hill, Linn Run and Ohiopyle state parks.
The Laurel Hill Valley escaped the unbridled logging that swept through Pennsylvania far longer than many areas of the state. The steep stream valleys and rugged hills made logging difficult until technology laid the tracks to enable the trees to be hauled to mills. Powerful, slow locomotives climbed the switchback tracks through Laurel Hill and hauled the logs to mills. From 1886 to 1940, logging companies clear-cut the trees of the park, leaving behind a wasteland of brambles prone to forest fires and flooding. Only the area now called Hemlock Trail Natural Area escaped the loggers’ reach.
Beginning in 1935, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration began purchasing sub-marginal agricultural and forest land so that it could be converted to better use. In 1936, the National Park Service was given the responsibility of the Recreational Demonstration Areas. Laurel Hill was one of five areas in Pennsylvania that was targeted for restoration and reforestation, organized group camping and day picnicking.
Beginning in 1935, with cooperation of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters, men of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began building roads, trails, bridges and recreational facilities.
Two CCC camps, NP-5-PA and SP-15 arrived in July 1, 1935 and began building camps for themselves (currently Group Camp 8 and Group Camp 5). The 200 young men in each camp worked year-round building park facilities like group camps, picnic areas, waterlines, roads, the beach house and Laurel Hill Lake. World War II ended the CCC.
For more information on the CCC explore the CCC Years.
In October of 1945, the Department of the Interior transferred the project to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and it became Laurel Hill State Park.
The Laurel Hill Recreational Demonstration Area Historic District includes all CCC-constructed buildings and structures that retain a significant degree of integrity. The district contains 202 buildings on 1,352 acres of land, which is the largest collection of CCC architecture in Pennsylvania State Parks.
CCC Boys Talk about their Time in the Civilion Conservation Corps
Keep in Touch
Add yourself to the DCNR's online community to receive info on this park, or parks in general.
Like to spend time in the outdoors, meet friendly people and help make Pennsylvania State Parks great? Volunteering at a park might be for you.
Becoming a Conservation Volunteer is easy.
Scouts and organized groups can earn free camping by completing service projects.
Join a Friends Group
The Friends of Laurel Hill State Park Complex is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing the Laurel Hill State Park Complex. It as an affiliate chapter of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation, and is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization, which means that your contribution is tax deductible. Any money that you donate to the Friends will benefit the Laurel Hill State Park Complex directly. The Friends coordinate a wide variety of volunteer activities that benefit the parks. www.friendsoflhsp.org
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
Make a Donation
To a park - find this park's address below
To a park's friends group - see above
To a park or the Bureau of State Parks - Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation www.paparksandforests.org
Through a purchase at a park gift shop
Thank you for your support!
We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natrual Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
Tell us What You Think
Contact this park with compliments, concerns and issues about the park.
Laurel Hill State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau. www.laurelhighlands.org
Nearby state parks offer great recreational opportunities. Kooser State Park has cabins, a campground and fishing. Laurel Ridge State Park has the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70-mile backpacking trail, Adirondack-style shelters, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Ohiopyle State Park has whitewater rafting and biking on the Great Allegheny Passage. The 60,000-acre Forbes State Forest provides hunting, fishing, hiking, general recreation and the highest point in Pennsylvania—Mount Davis, 3,213 feet.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, Fallingwater, is near Ohiopyle State Park. Hidden Valley and Seven Springs resorts have skiing, dining and conference hosting.
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. An enterprise of many partners, the evolving trail network celebrates the heritage of the Potomac and upper Ohio river basins and offers opportunities for hiking, bicycling, boating, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. National Park Service Passport Stamps for the trail are available at the Laurel Hill and Kosser park offices and at the visitor center in Ohiopyle. www.nps.gov/pohe/
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
You must have the free Adobe Reader to view the maps and brochures that are in pdf format (.pdf).
Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Lake Depth Map
From I-76, take Exit 110 (Somerset) and drive west on PA 31 from Somerset for eight miles. Turn left onto Trent Road and follow the directional signs to Laurel Hill State Park. The park may also be reached from Exit 91 (Donegal) of I-76 by turning left on PA 31 east and traveling 14 miles. Turn right onto Trent Road and follow directional signs to the park.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.01023 Long. -79.2244
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Laurel Hill State Park