Ohiopyle State Park
Located at the southern reaches of the Laurel Ridge, Ohiopyle State Park encompasses approximately 20,500 acres of rugged natural beauty and serves as the gateway to the Laurel Highlands. Close to major metropolitan areas and offering vast choices of activities, Ohiopyle State Park attracts millions of visitors annually.
Passing through the heart of the park, the rushing waters of the Youghiogheny [yawki-gay-nee] River Gorge are the centerpiece for Ohiopyle. The “Yough” [yawk] provides some of the best whitewater boating in the eastern United States, as well as spectacular scenery.
Ohiopyle is the southern gateway into the Laurel Highlands and represents the beautiful natural resources and unique sense of community that visitors can find throughout the region.
Hiking - Biking - Mountain Biking - Horseback Riding - Picnicking - Fishing - Hunting - Waterslides - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Sledding - Snowmobiling - Organized Group Tenting - Backpacking - Camping Cottages - Yurts - Camping
Picnicking: Both picnic areas in the park provide picnic tables, grills, restrooms and charcoal disposal areas.
The secluded Cucumber Run Picnic Area is adjacent to Cucumber Run, a beautiful creek lined with rhododendron bushes and large trees. The scenic Great Gorge Trail begins in this picnic area. Two pavilions are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tharp Knob Picnic Area is adjacent to the Tharp Knob Overlook that provides a panoramic view of the Youghiogheny River Gorge and the town of Ohiopyle. The picnic area has a large ball field, volleyball court, playground and two pavilions available for reservation up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Tharp Knob Picnic Area has access to the Kentuck Trail.
Waterslides: Sit in the creek bed and ride the water through two natural waterslides in Meadow Run. Caution must be used at all times as natural hazards exist. Parking is available adjacent to the SR 381 bridge crossing Meadow Run. Follow the signs to Meadow Run Trail or follow the path at the back of the parking lot. An ADA accessible observation deck is easily reached from the parking area.
Whitewater Boating: The Youghiogheny River is one of the most popular whitewater boating destinations on the east coast. Explore whitewater boating for more information.
Fishing: The Youghiogheny River provides good wilderness trout fishing. In cooperation with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, fingerling trout are stocked throughout the entire section of river within the park. An all-tackle trophy trout program exists on a 9-mile section of the river from Ramcat downstream to the PA 381 bridge in Ohiopyle. Meadow Run also provides fine trout fishing for anglers who prefer smaller stream fishing. A 2.2-mile section of Meadow Run, from Dinnerbell Road downstream to the mouth of the river is designated for delayed harvest, artificial lures only
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 18,000 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit, squirrel and other small game. Loaded firearms are not permitted within 50 feet of the Great Allegheny Passage. Adjacent State game lands 51 and 111 provide additional hunting and recreational opportunities.
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.
Rock Climbing: Numerous climbing opportunities exist in Ohiopyle State Park. Meadow Run Climbing Area, Bruner Run Climbing Area and a series of four walls along the Lower Youghiogheny section of the Great Allegheny Passage have a combination of top-roping and sport routes for climbers of all abilities. The short entrance trails leading to the rock faces are blazed in blue. Inexperienced climbers should consider a guided trip with one of the outfitters in Ohiopyle.
Hiking: 79 miles of trails
Baughman Trail: 3.4 miles, most difficult hiking, red blazes
Beech Trails: 2.7 miles total, more difficult hiking, white blazes
Great Gorge Trail: 2.6 miles, more difficult hiking, green blazes
Jonathan Run Trail: 1.7 mile, easiest hiking, blue blazes
Kentuck Trail: 2.5 miles, more difficult hiking, pink blazes
McCune Trail: 3.5 miles, more difficult hiking, purple blazes
Meadow Run Trail: 3 miles, easiest hiking, yellow blazes
Old Mitchell Trail Loop: 2.9 miles, more difficult hiking, red blazes
Pressley Ridge Trail: 5.5 miles, more difficult hiking, orange blazes
Sproul Trails: 3.7 miles, easiest hiking, purple blazes
Sugarloaf Trail System: 10.4 miles, most difficult hiking, orange blazes
Sugar Run Trail: 1.6 miles, more difficult hiking, orange blazes
Campground Connector: 0.5 mile, more difficult hiking, unblazed
Youghiogheny River Trail: 27 miles, easiest hiking
Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail: The portion of the trail within Ohiopyle State Park is 6.3 miles of very strenuous and rocky hiking. Hikers are rewarded for their effort as they pass beautiful overlooks and creeks on this section. Reservations for backpack camping are required. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance and must be made by contacting: Laurel Ridge State Park, 724-455-3744 or reserving online.
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 Ridge State Park Office and at the visitor center in Ohiopyle. www.nps.gov/pohe
Biking: 27 miles of trails
From the Ramcat Launch Area and Trailhead Parking Area on the east side of the park, the trail descends at a one percent downhill grade to the Train Station/Visitor’s Center parking lot in the town of Ohiopyle. From the Train Station/Visitor’s Center in the town of Ohiopyle, the 17 miles of trail crosses the river twice and descends at a three percent grade to Connellsville. Parking is available in Connellsville in lots on Third Street and in the Yough River Park.
For bike riders who wish to camp, the trail connecting the Great Allegheny Passage to the Ohiopyle State Park Kentuck Campground is 0.43 miles in length (2249 ft) and has a change in elevation of roughly 300 feet. Trail users should walk their bikes while on the connector trail. Bikers should avoid using the roadways to get to the campground. Take marked side trail just north of Ohiopyle High Bridge near mile post 73 at GPS DD Lat. 39.875 Long. -79.4926. Bikers should continue through the campground to the contact station for registration.
The Great Allegheny Passage: www.atatrail.org
Mountain Biking: 25.2 miles of trails
Horseback Riding: 11.6 miles of trails
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
Explore camping for more information.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host position
Camping Cottages: These rustic, wooden structures have electric lights, heat and outlets, windows and a small table and chairs. A cottage sleeps five people in bunk beds. One cottage is ADA accessible. Dogs are permitted in cottages 235 to 237 for a fee.
Yurts: These round, canvas and wood walled tents have a wooden deck and sleep five people in bunk beds. Yurts have a cooking stove, microwave oven, refrigerator, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring, and picnic table. Located in the center of Kentuck campground, the yurts offer convenient accommodations for weekly rentals. Shorter stays are available during the spring and fall seasons. One yurt is ADA accessible.
Backpacking: Ohiopyle serves as the southern terminus for the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. This trail traverses the Laurel Ridge from Ohiopyle to the northern end near Johnstown. The trail is open for year-round hiking and backpacking. An overnight shelter area is located every 8-10 miles along the trail.
The portion of the trail within Ohiopyle State Park is 6.3 miles of very strenuous and rocky hiking. Hikers are rewarded for their effort as they pass beautiful overlooks and creeks on this section. Reservations for backpack camping are required and can be made up to 11 months in advance.
Organized Group Tenting: Qualified adult and youth groups may use this area which is equipped with picnic tables and grill, and access to a showerhouse. Groups may use a 20- or 40-person area or multiple sites for larger gatherings.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Ohiopyle State Park is exceptionally beautiful during the winter, and offers many winter activities. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and to follow all trail signs and markings to have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: There are 33.9 miles of trails recommended for cross-country skiing. The Sproul Trails and a section of the Kentuck Trail were created for cross-country skiing. With deep snowfall, the Great Allegheny Passage is good for cross-country skiing.
Sledding: A hill is maintained for sledding in the Sugarloaf Snowmobile and Mountain Bike Area, adjacent to the parking area.
Snowmobiling: The 15.9 miles of the Sugarloaf Trail System and Pressley Ridge Trail are open to snowmobiles. The Sugarloaf snowmobile area has a parking area with an unloading ramp.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The park offers a wide variety of environmental education, recreational and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources. Programs focus on the Youghiogheny River, its gorge, and the natural, cultural and recreational resources of the Ohiopyle area. Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available. Group programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the Train Station/Visitor’s Center at 724-329-0986.
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.
Wildlife Watching: Ohiopyle State Park is a designated Important Mammal Area as well as an Important Bird Area. Visitors to Ohiopyle may be lucky enough to see white-tailed deer, black bear, bobcats, fishers or river otters. Ohiopyle is excellent for bird watching, with a variety of habitats. Visitors can hear the eastern towhee call “drink your tea” in the summer or spot the brilliant red flash of a northern cardinal. The Youghiogheny River provides habitat perfect for water-loving birds such as osprey, mergansers, kingfishers and an occasional bald eagle. Visitors should also be on the lookout for a variety of snakes including copperheads and timber rattlesnakes.
Ferncliff Peninsula National Natural Landmark: Created by a meander in the Youghiogheny River, this 100-acre peninsula is a unique habitat that contains many rare and interesting plants. The Youghiogeny River flows north, picking up seeds in Maryland and West Virginia and depositing them at Ferncliff, north of their usual growing range. The deep gorge is slightly warmer than the surrounding area, which allows these southern refugees to survive.
Recognized for its botanical diversity for over a century, in 1973 the 100-acre peninsula was declared a National Natural Landmark. In 1992, Ferncliff Peninsula was declared a State Park Natural Area which will protect it in its natural state.
Explore Natural Areas for more information.
For detailed information on the geology of the park, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey created the brochure Trail of Geology 7 Park Guide, Ohiopyle State Park.
Waterfalls and Scenic Water Attractions
Cascades: This beautiful woodland waterfall in Meadow Run is near the park office. The cool, clean waters of this stream make it a favorite haunt of anglers.
Cucumber Falls: This 30-foot bridal veil waterfall on Cucumber Run is easily reached from Meadow Run Trail and has parking on SR 2019.
Jonathan Run Falls: Several small waterfalls can be seen from Jonathan Run Trail. Just before the trail meets the Great Allegheny Passage, the largest waterfall tumbles over rocks between rhododendron-lined banks.
Meadow Run Waterslides: The cascading beauty of this unique geologic formation attracts photographers, geologists and recreation enthusiasts. Explore Meadow Run’s ancient streambed to find ripples carved in stone and potholes scoured by spinning rocks and powerful currents. An ADA accessible observation deck is easily reached from the parking area.
Ohiopyle Falls: The power and beauty of this 20-foot waterfall make it a central attraction to the park. The best viewing is from the observation deck in the Falls Day Use Area, in the heart of Ohiopyle.
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.
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.
Discover Rocks, Ridges ad Ravines - Scenic Driving Tour
Experience Pennsylvania’s geologic extremes. Visit PA’s deepest gorge, longest cave, highest point and some of the hardest rocks while you visit our state’s highest vineyard, one of its most famous houses and largest state park.
Many important pieces of early American history which tell the story of our nation are tied to Ohiopyle. This area, which provides rest and recreation, once held a past with many conflicts.
When Europeans first reached North America, the mysterious Monogahela people inhabited the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including the Youghiogheny River. For unknown reasons, this powerful nation disappeared just as Europeans arrived, leaving few traces behind. Other nations of American Indians migrated through the area as the increasing European population pushed them out of their lands. The name Ohiopyle is believed to be derived from the American Indian word “ohiopehhla” which means “white, frothy water.”
French and Indian War
In the mid-1750s, the French and the British vied for the Ohio River Valley. Employed by the British, George Washington traveled through the Ohiopyle area to talk to the French in 1753.
A year later, Washington returned with 150 soldiers to evict the French. Washington arrived at Confluence and tried to find an easier travel route by river. However, the falls were impassable. Washington continued towards the future site of Pittsburgh and encountered a small party of French soldiers. One French soldier escaped and sought reinforcements. Washington built Fort Necessity to await the French retaliation. Overwhelming French forces caused Washington to surrender. The French and Indian War had begun. Two British armies cut roads through the area, eventually defeating the French and securing the important Ohio River Valley.
Even as the new United States was formed, the area surrounding Ohiopyle continued to see conflicts. The new nation placed a tax on whiskey in 1791, which angered farmers in western Pennsylvania. The farmers united to attack tax collectors and their movement became known as the Whiskey Rebellion. When a federal marshal was attacked in 1794, George Washington and 6,000 militiamen marched the Braddock Road near Ohiopyle to put down the revolt.
Trees, Trains and a Growing Nation
The land around Ohiopyle was slowly settled and eventually the rugged land near the river was settled. The early settlers were farmers, hunters and trappers. In 1811, the National Road passed near Ohiopyle, making the area more accessible to settlers and to markets. Lumbering became a major industry. The production of barrels and other wood products, tanning, salt mining and coal mining were small industries.
In 1871, railroads reached Ohiopyle. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and eventually the Western Maryland Railroad had stations in Ohiopyle. At the turn of the century, lumbering became a major industry with narrow gauge railroads snaking around the hills, hauling lumber to mills in town and larger railroad lines. A large mill was erected near Ohiopyle Falls. The lumber of the surrounding Laurel Highlands was integral to the nation’s Industrial Revolution by providing fuel to the escalating steel, coal and iron industries.
The railroads brought tourists to Ohiopyle. It cost one dollar to ride from Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle and back. By the 1880s, there were numerous hotels in the area and Ferncliff Peninsula had a boardwalk, dance pavilion, bowling alley, walking paths, tennis courts, ball fields, fountains and the Ferncliff Hotel.
The freedom afforded by the automobile decreased the tourists coming to Ohiopyle by train. The decline in visitors was eventually the end of the Ferncliff resort. In time, the buildings were removed, allowing the forests to regenerate. Foundations of these buildings can still be seen in the Ferncliff Peninsula. Recognizing the natural beauty of the area, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy purchased much of the property and sold it to the Commonwealth in the mid-1960s.
Keep in Touch
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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.
Several volunteer opportunities exist at Ohiopyle State Park. From being a campground host to trail, river, and road cleanups, volunteers play a vital role in maintaining the park’s facilities. Volunteers also assist environmental education staff with research projects and planning events. Ohiopyle State Park is always looking for new and motivated individuals to take part in our monthly trail days organized by the Friends of Ohiopyle (FOO). Dates can be found on their Web site friendsofohiopyle.info. Individuals and groups are also welcome to organize projects of their own with the guidance of park staff. Applications are available at the park office to become a conservation volunteer.
Join a Friends Group
The Friends of Ohiopyle (FOO) is a chapter of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and qualifies as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The mission of the FOO is to preserve, protect and enhance the natural and recreational resources of Ohiopyle State Park for present and future generations. friendsofohiopyle.info
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
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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.
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Ohiopyle State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau. www.laurelhighlands.org
Fort Necessity National Battlefield www.nps.gov/fone and the Youghiogheny River Reservoir are nearby.
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 Ridge State Park Office 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.
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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.
Southern Yough Water Trail Map
Special Directions for Large RVs to Kentuck Campground: SR 2019 is very steep. Large RVs should avoid this road and take PA 40 to SR 2010 (Chalk Hill-Ohiopyle Rd.) Follow it for eight miles to a stop sign. Go straight to the campground. A bridge just north of the park on PA 381 has a maximum clearance of 12 feet 7 inches.
From the West: From the PA Turnpike, take Exit 91, Donegal. Turn left onto PA 31 east. Travel about two miles, turn right onto PA 711 and PA 381 south. Travel ten miles to Normalville, turn left onto PA 381 south. Drive for 11 miles to Ohiopyle.
From the East: From the PA Turnpike, take Exit 110, Somerset. Take PA 281 south 25 miles to Confluence. Continue three miles uphill and at the church, turn right onto Sugarloaf Road, SR 2012. Continue nine miles to Ohiopyle.
From the South (DC, MD, VA): Take I-270 north to Frederick, then I-70 west to Hancock, then Rt. 40 and I-68 through Cumberland. Take Exit 14 (Keysers Ridge) to Rt. 40 west to Farmington, PA. Turn right onto PA 381 north for eight miles to Ohiopyle.
From the South (WV): Take I-79 north to I-68 east. Take Bruceton Mills Exit to Rt. 26 north. At the Pennsylvania border it becomes PA 281 north. Turn left onto PA 40 west, to Farmington, turn right onto PA 381 north to Ohiopyle.
For GPS Units: Use this address for Ohiopyle State Park: 124 Main Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470. This should direct you to the center of the park. Follow signage once you are in the park to find your desired destination.
GPS DD: Lat. 39.85115 Long. -79.49984
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.
Ohiopyle State Park