Laurel Hill State Park
Laurel Hill State Park consists of 4,072 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 hike and explore the park and observe the diversity of plants and wildlife. Hemlock Trail passes through a beautiful stand of old growth hemlocks.
Hiking - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Education - 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 and playground equipment. Picnic Area No. 3 is by the beach and has playground equipment, horseshoe pits and a sand volleyball court. Picnic Area No. 4 is at the upper end of the lake by the boat mooring and launching area.
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. There are two picnic pavilions in Picnic Area No. 1 and three picnic pavilions in Picnic Area No. 3.
Make a reservation.
Swimming: A 1,200-foot sandy 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 in the designated buoy areas. Maximum depth is five feet. The beach has an ADA accessible ramp to the lake and an ADA accessible restroom. A food concession is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
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.
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. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. A fishing license, not available at the park office, is required for people ages 16 and older.
Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: About 2,100 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. The only exception is that law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms may carry said firearm concealed on their person while they are within the park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 12 miles of trails
Pumphouse Trail: 1.6-mile, easy hiking
Martz Trail: 1 mile, easy hiking
Tram Road Trail: 1.7 miles, moderate hiking
Waterline Trail: 0.6-mile, moderate hiking
Hemlock Trail: 1.2 miles, moderate hiking
Ridge Trail: 1.5 miles, moderate hiking
Bobcat Trail: 1 mile, difficult hiking
Lake Trail: 1.75 miles, 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 opens the Friday before the opening of trout season in 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 the campground map.
Explore camping for more information.
Make a reservation.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host position
Camping Cottages: Eight cottages near the campground sleep five people in single bunks and double/single bunks, and have wooden floors, windows, porch, picnic table, fire ring and electric lights and outlets.
Make a reservation.
Hufman Lodge:Tucked away in a secluded area of Laurel Hill State Park, Hufman Lodge is modern yet has much rustic charm. The large fireplace, cathedral ceiling, and large, private deck overlooking the park and the Laurel Mountains make the lodge cozy and spectacular.
The lodge is especially equipped for the winter recreation season, including ski and snowboard racks, and glove and boot dyers. The two-story lodge has five bedrooms, which sleep 14 guests in five double beds (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. The hot water heating system keeps renters warm and cozy.
Explore Hufman Lodge for more information.
Explore cabins for more information.
Make a reservation.
Organized Group Tenting: Qualified, organized adult and youth groups may use the 120-person capacity area. This area is open year-round and has limited facilities with 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. Groups must submit a roster. 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 October 1. 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 12 miles of hiking trails are ideal for showshoeing.
Sledding: A sledding hill is in the field loop area of the campground.
Snowmobiling: The ten-mile trail system in the park connects with an over 70-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 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 and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation and understanding of the park’s natural and cultural resources.
Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available. Programs are offered year-round. Contact the park office for a schedule of programs.
A visitor center is in 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 of 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 bluebird trail. This trail winds from below the campground to the wildflower field 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 the tiny screech owls that nest in the area each year.
In the spring and early summer, the calls of spring peepers, bullfrogs, and American toads fill the night, intermingled with the haunting calls of great horned and barred owls.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.
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—for 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 switchbacked tracks through Laurel Hill and hauled the logs to mills. From 1886 to 1940, logging companies clearcut 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 and targeted for restoration and reforestation, and 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, SP-8 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 Civilian Conservation Corps Online Archive.
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.
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.
From I-76 Exit 110 (Somerset), 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 I-76 Exit 91 (Donegal) by turning left on PA 31 east and traveling 14 miles. Follow the directional signs to the right turn onto Trent Road then follow directional signs to the park.
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