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Looking to find an awesome hike to go on the Laurel Highlands? This guide includes 10 of the best hikes in the Laurel Highlands!
Spanning Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties, the Laurel Highlands is a mountainous region of western Pennsylvania that offers visitors a range of attractions, historic sites, and outdoor adventures! This area is perfect for enjoying the outdoors and is located close to Pittsburgh. The Laurel Highlands is home to multiple Pennsylvania state parks with hiking and biking trails, waterfalls rock climbing, and scenic views!
Having grown up in the Laurel Highlands, we’ve been hiking the trails and parks in this area since we were kids. So coming from locals, there are the top hikes in the Laurel Highlands!
Best Day Hikes in Laurel Highlands
If you’re looking for a further day trip from the Laurel Highlands to do some exploring of National parks and National Historical Parks, check out these National Parks located in Southwestern Pennsylvania!
Hikes at Ohiopyle State Park
Ohiopyle State Park is one of the most popular parks in the Laurel Highlands and western Pennsylvania. For decades, Ohiopyle has been attracting visitors for white-water rafting, hiking, biking, and sightseeing.
Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage passes through Ohiopyle, so many visitors stumble upon the little town of Ohiopyle and the beautiful state park. The GAP is a 150-mile rail-trail that joins the 184.5-mile C&O Canal Towpath so adventurers can hike or bike between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C!
Jonathan Run Trail
Ohiopyle has miles of hiking and biking trails. Among our favorites are the trails that lead to some of Ohiopyle’s waterfalls. Our favorite hike at Ohiopyle is the Jonathan Run Trail. This in-and-out trail of easy difficulty is a relaxing walk in the forest. Along the 1.7 miles, you’ll come upon the Jonathan Run Falls!
Ferncliff Peninsula Trails
This trail system that explores the Ferncliff Peninsula is very interesting because of the microclimate caused by the nearby Youghiogheny River. Along these trails, you’ll see the landscape and foliage change, and you’ll get some interesting views of Ohiopyle Falls and the river! This trail is a 2-mile loop.
Hikes at Linn Run State Park
Flat Rock Trail
Flat Rock Trail is one of the most popular trails at Linn Run State Park. At the end of this one-mile, in-and-out trail is an interesting natural attraction, a beautiful rock structure in Linn Run. The very flat rocks (hence the name of the trail) have attracted visitors and daring swimmers. On a hot day, it’s nice to wade in the shallow water. However, like at any natural stream, be careful!
Adam’s Falls Trail
At Flat Rock’s trailhead is Adam’s Falls Trail. Hike up the hill toward the right for about 10 minutes and you’ll see Adams Falls, a beautiful 15 ft waterfall. If you want to see lots of water flowing, visit after a heavy rainfall or during the spring. This trail is about a mile and loops through the forest above the falls.
Hikes at Forbes State Forest
Wolf Rocks Trail and Spruce Flats
Wolf Rocks Trail is a moderate 4.3-mile loop hike on Laurel Mountain, part of the 60,000-acre Forbes State Forest. It is a fairly gradual incline that ends with a beautiful overlook. This trail makes for a great afternoon in the forest. There are picnic tables near the parking lot, so bring a picnic!
At a nearby trailhead, you can visit the Spruce Flats Bog. The bog (that includes insect-eating plants) was caused by the logging industry. Today, the water that accumulates at the summit remains in this area of spongy peat deposits, acidic waters, and a floor covered by a thick carpet of sphagnum moss. Typically, bogs receive all or most of their water from rain and snow, so it’s uncommon to find a bog on a mountaintop!
Beam Rock Trail and Overlook
Beam Rock Trails is an easy one-mile hike that leads you to a beautiful overlook. This trail and overlook are more popular compared to nearby Wolf Rocks because the hike is only a mile and is much less rocky. The rocky overlook at Beam Rock is more spacious than Wolf Rocks, so this spot makes for beautiful photographs!
Hikes at Powdermill Nature Reserve
Powdermill Nature Reserve is the biological field research station for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. This 2,200-acre reserve offers short and long hikes of easy to moderate to difficult. The Black Birch Trail is easy and includes multiple connections that pass by the stream Powdermill Run. Across Rt. 381 from the nature center is the Sugar Camp Trail, a one-mile loop hike that goes uphill and back down. The Porcupine Ridge Trail shoots of the righthand section of the Sugar Camp Trail. It is the longest trail at Powdermill at just over three miles in and out.
Visit Powdermill for monthly Sunday talks and evening programs on certain Wednesdays. A few times a year, the bird banding lab has public days where you can watch scientific research in action.
Hikes at Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve
Named for the conservationist wife of golfer Arnold Palmer, Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve is 50 acres of preserved land between Saint Vincent College’s campus and Route 30. There are a number of trails totaling 1.7 miles that pass through fields, forests, and gardens. The red Environmental Learning Barn, built with almost all of the original materials from the original 1879 barn, includes natural history exhibits and lots of programs for children.
Laurel Highlands Trail
Want to travel the expanse of the Laurel Highlands? Hike the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Trail! This trail takes you from Ohiopyle State Park to Laurel Ridge State Park, passing the stunning 1000-foot Conemaugh Gorge and plenty of beautiful Pennsylvania forests. There are shelters every 8 to 10 miles, which makes hiking the entire trail loads of fun.