Ohiopyle State Park… Off the Beaten Path!

18 Jul

With over 20,000 acres, the Ohiopyle State Park is the largest park in the state of Pennsylvania. Some of the most interesting and beautiful areas of the park are not well known. Let’s take a look at Ohiopyle State Park, off the beaten path…

Jonathan Run and Sugar Run

rachyThis great little creek is accessible from the Great Allegheny Passage as well as a trail-head off Holland Hill Road (the “take-out road”). The trail follows the creek for 1.7 miles and is considered easy hiking. The trail blazes are blue. There are some great little waterfalls along the length of the creek. Jonathan Run is often over-looked and not as popular as Cucumber or Meadow Runs, but it is definitely a most see in the park! If you are looking for a more difficult hike, consider taking the Sugar Run trail off Jonathan Run. This trail connects from Jonathan Run to the Old Mitchell trail system. You can access the Old Mitchell parking lot by continuing on Holland Hill Road. This is also the parking area for the Lower Yough take-out. Sugar Run features a couple more interesting waterfalls. The trail blazes for Sugar Run are orange.
The Cascades on Meadow Run

Another lesser known waterfall is located 2 miles up Meadow Run from the waterslides. This unique waterfall is composed of various drops that “cascade” down the stream. The Cascades can also be accessed from the Meadow Run trail-head off Dinnerbell Road. The trail creates a loop from the parking lot that travels past the Cascades. The Meadow Run trail blazes are yellow.

McCune Trail

Photo by Ted Varney

McCune Trail is the newest trail in the park. It is designated a multi-use trail and has become popular with mountain bikers in the park. The trail is accessible from Sugarloaf Road. It passes through the old McCune family homestead and farm. Remnants of years past can still be seen, including the old spring house. The trail also runs along the highest ridge in the park. The trail is 3.5 miles and considered difficult hiking. The McCune trail blazes are purple. Inexperienced bikers can still experience the great single track trails in the park by booking a guided mountain biking tour.

Guest Houses and shop 296Over the past several years, the Ohiopyle State Park has opened up several climbing areas for the day user of the park to enjoy. Three most notable include the Meadow Run Climbing Area, Bruner Run Climbing Area, and a series of 4 walls along the Lower Yough section of the Great Allegheny Passage. These areas provide a combination of top-roping and sport routes for climbers of all abilities. The trails leading to the climbing areas are blazed with blue markings. The Meadow Run Climbing Area is accessible from a parking lot off Dinnerbell Road. Both the Bruner Run Climbing Area and the other walls are only accessible from the Great Allegheny Passage, Bruner Run being the farthest from Ohiopyle at about 8 miles downstream. Inexperienced climbers can still participate by booking a guided rock climbing tour.

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a 70-mile hiking trail stretches along Laurel Mountains from the picturesque Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, Pa. to the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown, Pa. The trail features overnight trail shelters that must be reserved in advance. Seasoned backpackers challenge themselves on the steep, rugged areas of the trails. Casual hikers enjoy areas that are reasonably level and pleasant for walking. 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. It starts at a small trail-head off Garrett Street in Ohiopyle. Another access for the trail is located off King Road.

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.

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