There are so many beautiful things to see and do in the Ohiopyle State Park. The question is, “What should I see first?” The staff here at Laurel Highlands Outdoor Center decided to come up with our Seven Wonders of Ohiopyle. Here are our top picks:
1. The Youghiogheny Falls at Ohiopyle
Located in the heart of the Ohiopyle, this 20-foot waterfall is a great centrally located attraction. There is some construction in the area for the summer of 2013, but the viewing platforms are still accessible.
There is a parking lot entrance located by the Falls Market. The access trail to the platforms starts at this parking lot. Get a closer look at the Ohiopyle Falls by hiking the Ferncliff Trail, next up on the list.
2. Ferncliff Peninsula
The Ferncliff Peninsula is a 100-acre peninsula created by the Youghiogheny River as it meanders through Ohiopyle. This peninsula is home to some very unique flora transported by the Youghiogheny River and its travels north to Pittsburgh from the mountains of Maryland. Because of the diversity of the plant life, the Ferncliff Peninsula was named a National Natural Landmark in 1973. The Ferncliff Trail circles the outer loop of the Peninsula and passes by the Ohiopyle Falls. There are three other trails that branch off the Ferncliff Trail. The Fernwood Trail passes the remnants of the old Ferncliff Hotel.
3. Meadow Run
Meadow Run is a great little creek that flows into the Youghiogheny River. There is a parking lot off Route 381, by the southern bridge in Ohiopyle. What makes Meadow Run so special is the great geological formations in the rocks. This powerful little creek has carved natural water slides out of the stream’s sandstone rock bed. This is a great place to cool down in the summer months. But, please be careful! The rocks can get slippery.
4. Baughman Rock Overlook
Baughman Rock overlook is situated just outside of Ohiopyle on Sugarloaf Road. This scenic overlook provides a stunning view of the Youghiogheny River Gorge above Ohiopyle.
The view from Baughman Rock is especially vibrant during the fall with the changing of the leaves. A must see!
5. Cucumber Falls and the Great Gorge Trail
Cucumber Falls is another great waterfall that is easily accessible in the park. It is a stunning 30-foot waterfall on Cucumber Run. There is a parking area off Kentuck Road and a short hike in to see the falls. Another great way to access the falls is hiking in from Ohiopyle on Great Gorge Trail. The Great Gorge trailhead is located just after the second high-bridge on the Great Allegheny Passage. The trail follows an old tramway that was used to transport coal to the railroad that is now the Great Allegheny Passage.
6. Tharp Knob Overlook
The Tharp Knob Overlook offers another stunning view of the Youghiogheny River and the town of Ohiopyle. The overlook is accessible from the Tharp Knob Picnic Area, located off Kentuck Road. The picnic area is complete with a playground, baseball diamond, volleyball nets, and restroom facilities. The is a short one-mile loop hike on Kentuck Trail that passes by the overlook.
7. The Bridges off the Great Allegheny Passage
The two bridges on the Great Allegheny Passage as it passes through Ohiopyle were built in the 1860s for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The “High-Bridge” crosses the Youghiogheny River just downstream of Railroad Rapid and is a popular area to view people whitewater rafting on the Lower Youghiogheny. This was the first bridge in Ohiopyle to be converted for use by bike and pedestrian traffic. The “Low Bridge” spans Route 381 from the old train station, now used as Ohiopyle’s Visitor Center, to the other side of the Youghiogheny River above the Ohiopyle Falls.
So be sure to get your “To-Do” List ready and head to Ohiopyle for a fun day of hiking and sight-seeing. More information about all the trails and other sights can be found on the Ohiopyle State Park’s website. You can also download a State Park Map to help plan your visit.