Laurel Highlands

Outdoor Recreation Mecca in Southwestern Pennsylvania

The Laurel Highlands are located in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, covering parts of Fayette, Westmoreland, and Somerset counties. These rocky, sprawling highlands lay between the Chestnut Ridge and the Laurel Ridge of the Appalachians. (This area gets its name from the Mountain Laurel that thrives at the higher elevations throughout the region.) Public lands, state parks, state game lands, state forests and private nature preserves make up more than 100,000 contiguous acres available for outdoor recreation in the Laurel Highlands.  An easy, one-hour drive south of Pittsburgh and bordered by two interstates (I-70/ -76 to the north and I-68 to the south), this is an accessible ‘wilderness’ destination.


Ohiopyle State Park is the focal point of outdoor recreation in the area, but there is much more to explore. Make sure to visit the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau for a more complete listing of the area highlights.


Laurel Highlands Top Six Outdoor Activities
  1. Ohiopyle Rafting
  2. Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail
  3. Laurel Highlands Road Biking
  4. Ohiopyle Mountain Biking Trails
  5. Ohiopyle Kayaking
  6. Laurel Highlands Rock Climbing


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater World Famous and only 3 minutes from your whitewater rafting check in location at Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle, PA. If you are in the area – it is a must see!


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob Not quite as famous as Fallingwater, but equally as spectacular and only minutes away as well. Another must do on your list.


Flight 93 National Memorial Shanksville, PA


Fort Ligionier 40 Minutes from Ohiopyle State Park


Fort Necessity National Battlefield Only 10 minutes from Ohiopyle State Park.


Nemacolin (Bowman) Castle 30 minutes from Ohiopyle in Brownsville


Scenic Byway (Routes 711/381) 68 miles of beauty! A beautiful leaf-looking drive in the fall.


The Great Allegheny Passage Ride a bike, take a hike, create your own adventure on 132 miles of a world-class, nearly flat trail, now connected to the C&O Canal Towpath to for a total of 318 miles. Enjoy a 6 day guided bike tour riding the entire GAP from Pittsburgh to Washington DC.


Forbes State Forest Nearly 60,000 acres of land from 14 separate tracts in Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties. Much of the forest lies along Laurel Ridge. Six state parks and three state forest picnic areas have been developed in and around the forest. The highest point in Pennsylvania, Mt. Davis, is located in Forbes and is a short hike from the parking area.


Laurel Ridge State Park Stretches along the Laurel Mountain from the picturesque Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle to the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown. Hike over 70 miles on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. Seasoned hikers will enjoy the rugged areas of the trail, while the more casual hiker will find level and pleasant sections. Cross-country skiing is popular in the winter.


Youghiogheny River Lake Confluence, PA 814-395-3242. 2,840-acre lake with power boating and water skiing. Walleye and smallmouth bass fishing, year-round trout fishing in the outflow. Camping, hiking and beach swimming.