Laurel Ridge State Park
The 13,625-acre Laurel Ridge State Park stretches along Laurel Mountain from the picturesque Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, to the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown. This large park spans Cambria, Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties. The main feature of the park is the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, which provides the setting for a semi-wilderness backpacking and day hiking experience.
One of the most exciting reasons to visit the park is for its scenery. Spring wildflowers dot the forest floor in early April followed by a vibrant green forest as leaf-out begins in late April. Mountain laurel blooms in June and rhododendron blooms in late June and early July. Come to the park in mid-October and witness fall color in all its glory. Winter is spectacular when the park is covered in a deep blanket of snow and the occasional great horned owl calls through the moon-lit forest.
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. Contact the Laurel Hill State Park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: A picnic pavilion in the southern part of the park is available for rent. If unreserved the pavilion is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Make online reservations or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757).
Make a reservation. Instructions for making a backpacking reservation (pdf) (1,870 kb, 9/16)
Hunting and Firearms: Almost all of Laurel Ridge State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs from the fall archery season until March 31 of the following year. Common game species are deer, turkey, bear and grouse.
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 vehicle or enclosed trailer. 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.
Hiking: 70 miles of trails
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is open year-round and is blazed approximately every 100 feet with 2-inch and 5-inch yellow blazes. Connector trails lead to and from parking and shelter areas and are marked with blue blazes. Mileage monuments are every mile. Pets are permitted.
Backpacking: The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a backpacking trail that permits overnight trips to one or more shelter areas. The eight shelter areas are located approximately every 6 to 12 miles along the trail. Each area contains five Adirondack-type shelters with fireplaces, two non-flush toilets, a water supply and spaces for 30 tents.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: A cross-country ski touring concession adjacent to the PA 653 parking lot provides over 20 miles of trails. The concession grooms surfaces for classic and freestyle skiing. Trail fee required. Current conditions: 724-455-7303
The Pennsylvania Cross-country Skier’s Association offers free ski lessons and a youth ski team. Their Webcam shows the latest snow conditions. www.paccsa.org
Certain sections of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail are suitable for cross-country skiing. Please check with the park to see which sections are suitable for skiing.
Cross-country Ski Area Brochure (.pdf) (6,667 kb, 3/14)
Snowmobiling: The 120-mile Laurel Highlands Snowmobile Trail System traverses state park and forest lands. Conditions permitting, the trail is open after the end of antlerless deer season in December. Forbes State Forest: 724-238-1200 Trail conditions: 877-766-6253
Snowmobiles are prohibited on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
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.