Last Updated on July 7, 2020
In this guide written by locals, you’ll learn everything you need to know about going to Ohiopyle State Park!
The Laurel Highlands in western Pennsylvania is a gem for hiking and outdoor activities. The beautiful rolling hills, unexpected waterfalls, and scenic views make visiting the Ohiopyle in the Laurel Highlands worth it! At Ohiopyle State Park, you can find a little bit of everything for every type of outdoorsman.
Exploring the Laurel Highlands: Day Trip To Ohiopyle
Ohiopyle State Park Visitor Center
Completed in 2014, the new visitor center at Ohiopyle is a great place to orient yourself on everything you can do in the area. This environmentally-friendly LEED Gold building is conveniently located in downtown Ohiopyle and neighbors the popular Ohiopyle Falls. Its design incorporates lots of windows and natural materials so it complements the surrounding landscape.
Upstairs, you can find an information booth, a gift shop (cash or check only), a patio with a green roof, and a greenhouse that helps purify water used in the building. Downstairs, you can explore a wonderful exhibit about the history and ecology of Ohiopyle. The gardens outside the visitor center are just beautiful in the summer.
Ohiopyle Falls, around which the town of Ohiopyle developed, is near a free parking lot and the Ohiopyle State Park visitors center. There are multiple patios you can walk on to get a nice view of the falls.
Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage is a 150-mile biking and hiking trail that travels from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. The trail was constructed on the old railroad tracks as a way to reuse the already present passage and provide a public space for all to enjoy. Ohiopyle’s old train depot has been repurposed as an information center with restrooms.
Ferncliff Peninsula Trails
The Ferncliff Peninsula Natural Area is a Natural National Landmark located in Ohiopyle. This area has a unique habitat with many rare and unusual plants for Pennsylvania. The warmer microclimate inside the river gorge allows these plants to survive. It is a good example of a late successional forest.
The Ferncliff Peninsula Natural Area is routed with a 2-mile loop hiking trail of moderate difficulty that features interesting plants and wildlife!
Visiting Cucumber Falls is great if you’re not looking to hike to see the waterfalls. Cucumber Falls is located right off of the road and is are a bridal veil waterfall. The waterfall towers at 30ft and trickles down into the Youghiogheny River. Lots of people enjoy swimming and taking photos of Cucumber Falls, so try visiting in the early morning or during sunset if you want to avoid crowds. Parking is difficult at Cucumber Falls so make sure you park in a zone where parking is allowed. They will give tickets for illegal parking!
Meadow Run Natural Waterslides
This natural water area is exactly as the name describes! The water in the Meadow Run has carved out natural waterslides. The natural waterslides are beautiful to enjoy and photograph!
Lots of people like to “slide down” this natural structure. We personally don’t recommend swimming here, especially when the stream is high and fast, unless you’re a daredevil! If you do want to try out the natural water slide, wear a good swimsuit (with shorts and a shirt) to avoid scratches, water shoes to help give your feet traction, and a helmet to keep your head safe!
Jonathan Run Trail and Falls
If you’re looking to visit a beautiful waterfall area without the crowds, visit the Jonathan Run Falls. These falls are located on the Jonathan Run Trail. This hike is an easy in-and-out 1.7-mile hike. When you cross the bridge, the falls are located off the trail to your left.
Sugar Run Trail/Old Mitchell Trail and Falls
Getting to the Sugar Run Falls is a little more difficult than Jonathan Run. The Falls are located on the Sugar Run Trail, which is a connecting trail to the Great Allegheny Passage and Old Mitchell Trail. To be honest, the map and trails didn’t see to match very well. We accessed the Falls by hiking the Old Mitchell Trail loop and turning left when at the intersection. We then followed this trail to another intersection where we followed the trail labeled Sugar Run Trail.
This beautiful overlook of the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania is easily accessible from the road! Don’t miss stopping here for a beautiful view.
If you’re looking for an adventure, the Laurel Highland River Tours offer whitewater rafting tours! They offer tours with ranging classes of rapids from I to V! The Upper Yough Tour with class IV-V rapids was a lot of fun! The tour included lunch and guide both in and out of your boat. Having the guide in your boat is great if your an inexperienced rafter! The rapids were a lot of fun and exciting! At the end of the tour, you can purchase photos from your trip.
In addition to whitewater rafting, you can rock climb and ride horses on select Ohiopyle trails and locations!
Things to Do Nearby Ohiopyle
Fort Necessity National Battlefield
If you’re looking to get your historic fix in while visiting Ohiopyle, considering spending a few hours at Fort Necessity. This British Fort, commanded by George Washington, stayed here during the early months of the French and Indian War. The Battle of Fort Necessity was a French and Indian victory over the British, mostly because of the poor location along the treeline.
At Fort Necessity, you can see the battlefield, walk along trails, and enjoy a museum inside the visitor’s center. If you’re visiting Fort Necessity, plan for about 2 hours to see everything. And Fort Necessity is also good for families and kids, as there is a very nice educational playground.
In addition to visiting the Battlefield, you can visit Braddock’s Gravesite a the Mount Washinton Tavern. The Mount Washington Tavern was a stagecoach stop along the National Road. The National Road, which spans from Baltimore into Illinois, was the first highway and gateway to the west.
Christian Klay Winery
The Christian Klay Winery is a great place to stop by if you happen to have a rainy day at Ohiopyle. This family-owned winery features local wines and offers free wine tastings. During the summer, music and events are held at the winery and you can enjoy a bottle on the back porch
Explore the Works of Frank Lloyd Wright
The famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright designed and constructed two home near Ohiopyle, Fallingwater, and Kentuck Knob. You can tour these beautiful, one of a kind homes during a visit to Ohiopyle. And these tours make for a great rainy day Ohiopyle activity! Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes stand out because of his careful and quite genius interior design details, including geometry, emotion, and atmosphere. These homes, in particular, are highly connected to nature. Fallingwater is literally built over a stream! His works are an engineering and architectural masterpiece.
Where to Eat at Ohiopyle
Original Sandwich Shoppe and Bakery
If you’re looking for a great place to grab lunch, stop at the Original Sandwich Shoppe and Bakery in downtown Ohiopyle. Here you can grab a sandwich and some snacks for your full day of adventuring. The sandwich side combo for $10 is worth it because of the quality of food! The bread was incredibly fresh and the potato and macaroni salads were delicious!
Braddock’s Tavern is a homestyle family restaurant is a great place to have a nice dinner, breakfast, or lunch during your day trip or weekend getaway to Ohiopyle! On weekends, a breakfast buffet is offered. During our weekend getaway to Ohiopyle, we stopped for breakfast and it was great!
Where to Stay at Ohiopyle
Stone House Inn and Restaurant
Looking to stay somewhere historic at Ohiopyle? Consider spending the night in one of the few unique Rooms at the Stone House Inn. Stone House has been in operation since 1822! This stop along the National Road, the nation’s first highway, has served the original stagecoach to the modern automobile travelers! Each of the rooms at Stone House is decorated with the historic charm you would expect to find in a luxurious 19th-century inn.
We stayed in the Titlow Room, which was the room of one of the original owners! Bear in mind, the Stone House Inn is a historic building and has historic charm, so don’t expect the modern luxuries that major hotel chains have. The decor is vintage and antique. The floors creak, there is no air-conditioning, and a few of the rooms have shared bathrooms. Compared to modern hotels, the rooms are small. However, the rooms are clean, maintained and comfortable. But please go in with historic expectations. We find it upsetting seeing quite critical reviews on travel websites that essentially critique the historic part of “historic building.” Of course, it’s going to look “dated” or as some might say, “run down,” but in our opinion, those comments miss the whole point of staying in a historic building!
In addition to staying at Stone House, there is a fine casual dining restaurant and bar on the first floor. Our food was absolutely delicious and our service was excellent!