12 Jun 2019 Top 10 Things to do in Ohiopyle
Why is Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania the Perfect Place for Family Adventures?
For starters, Ohiopyle State Park is the largest state park in Pennsylvania, providing 20,000+ acres of outdoor playground to explore, experience and discover. The park covers a diverse landscape, from the river bottom of the Youghiogheny River to the ridgetops of the Laurel Ridge.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Ohiopyle, PA for your list – with both free and value-packed outdoor recreation options.
- Cool off in natural water slides – Meadow Run is an Ohiopyle favorite!
- Enjoy comfortable, flat bicycle cruising on Pennsylvania’s most popular rail trail – the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) rail trail right next to the river.
- Hiking trails galore in Ohiopyle State Park (Pennsylvania’s largest and most popular state park!), including the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail – a great introduction to multi-day backpacking!
- Experience incredibly fun whitewater rafting on multiple sections of the Yough for ages 5+. No experience needed.
- Explore the family-friendly Ferncliff Peninsula, a 100-acre Botanical Reserve in Ohiopyle State Park only a short walk over the GAP bridge – a great fossil hunting area!
- Go waterfall hunting! Check out Ohiopyle Falls, Cucumber Falls and 10 more spots to see cascading water.
- Hike up to the Laurel Highlands Trail overlook for a unique view of the Youghiogheny River Valley.
- Shred the excellent network of singletrack mountain bike trails in Ohiopyle State Park.
- Take a stand-up paddle (SUP) tour of the Middle Yough, or cruise around Yough Lake on a SUP board.
- Watch a sunset from Firetower Overlook.
Ohiopyle State Park is Pennsylvania’s Largest State Park – and packed with area fun for all ages.
1. Ohiopyle is Known for Outstanding Natural Water Slides – Cool Off in Meadow Run
On a hot day, you can cool off and have some fun in Ohiopyle’s nature-made water park. In the summertime at a normal summer water level, you can slide down two natural waterslides in Meadow Run. Sit in the creek bed (wearing an old pair of shorts!) and slide to your heart’s content. If you’re concerned about the flow of the creek, you can call the State Park to make sure the creek is safe for sliding. Free adventure!!
2. Bike or Hike in Ohiopyle State Park on the Great Allegheny Passage
Hop on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), a 150-mile nearly-level rail-trail, that extends from Pittsburgh, Pa. to Cumberland, Md. Eighteen (18) miles of the trail are located within Ohiopyle State Park following the Youghiogheny River through the middle of town . The surface of the GAP is crushed limestone which makes for easy pedaling and appropriate for a wide range of bikes and tire sizes. Pedal east from Ohiopyle, along the banks of the Youghiogheny River, for a scenic 11-mile ride to Confluence, another charming trail town. Bring your own bike or rent one, Wilderness Voyageurs has over 100 bikes available for rent, including kids bikes and tow behind carts.
Combine two of Ohiopyle’s most popular activities, rafting on the Middle Yough and biking on the Great Allegheny Passage, with our Pedal and Paddle package. Start in Ohiopyle for some easy pedaling along the nine-mile section of the trail that parallels the Yough River. You will end your biking trip at the Middle Yough put-in to exchange your bikes for your watercraft before you paddle back to Ohiopyle!
3. Hike the Famous Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail from Ohiopyle to Seward, PA
The 70-mile hiking trail stretches along Laurel Ridge from the picturesque Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park to the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown. Casual hikers can enjoy areas that are reasonably level and pleasant for walking! It’s a great introduction to multi-day backpacking, with frequent shelters along the trail and shuttles available from Wilderness Voyageurs for thru- and section-hikers. (Pro-tip: the southern terminus of the trail is at the front door of Falls City Pub)
4. Ohiopyle Family Rafting Adventures: Choose from 2 Classic River trips for ages 5 to 95.
Lower Yough Rafting – Ages 12+
Are your friends feeling adventurous (and your kids are over 12), take on some of the best whitewater rafting in the east. Take your family on a Lower Yough Rafting Trip. Guide-assisted rafting tours are available on the Lower Yough’s 7.5 miles of Class III to III + waters, a fun and memorable adventure, this day trip packs in scenery and fun.
Middle Yough Float Trips – Ages 5+
But river trips don’t have to be so full of adrenaline. If you have younger kids (ages 5 and up) or less daring family members, take a family-friendly river trip on the Middle Yough. This stretch of the river is 9 miles long, with gentle rapids that offer a wonderfully relaxing day on the water. Ramp up the fun by upgrading to a duckie (inflatable kayak) instead of a raft. These Class I and II rapids are ideal for novice kayakers, families with young children, multi-generation families and those looking for an awesome summer chill out experience.
5. Family-Friendly Hiking on Ferncliff Peninsula
As we head into summertime in Ohiopyle State Park, Ferncliff Peninsula, a 100-acre botanical reserve comes to life. This small, lush piece of forest has a unique habitat with rare and unusual Pennsylvania plants like the lady slipper and the mountain laurel, our state flower. Keen observers will even find 300-million-year-old fossils embedded in the rocks along the river! In 1973, this special peninsula was designated a National Natural Historical Landmark.
A small network of trails wind through the natural area, which is fun to explore with kids. The 1.7-mile Ferncliff Trail circles the peninsula, with great views of Ohiopyle Falls and whitewater rapids on the Youghiogheny River.
6. Waterfall Hunting in Ohiopyle
In the center of Ohiopyle, the Ohiopyle Falls stretch across the entire Youghiogheny River. This 20-foot drop is right next to the Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center, which you can explore after taking in the views. The Visitor Center is just above the put-in for Lower Yough whitewater rafting. Expert kayakers will sometimes paddle the falls – get your cameras out because that’s high adventure at its finest!
Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park is an easily accessible “bridal veil” waterfall, probably one of the most photographed waterfalls in the state! Starting from the Ferncliff parking area, you can hike down the Great Allegheny Passage and take the 1.5-mile Great Gorge Trail to the waterfall. Or just park at the Cucumber Falls Trail Head (located off the Ohiopyle/Chalk Hill Road) and take a short path to the falls. It’s a perfect photo op!
Sugar Run Falls is hidden from view, but only a short walk off the Great Allegheny Passage trail. While biking on the GAP, you’ll see a small trail marker for Mitchell Fields Trail. Walk up the trail a short distance (careful if it’s wet!) and you’ll come to Sugar Run Falls, a beautiful cascade amongst rhododendron bushes.
7. Hike to the Laurel Highlands Trail overlook
Start hiking from Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle, and walk about 2 miles up (it’s pretty steep!) to a gorgeous overlook of the Youghiogheny River. A large flat topped rock formation serves as the perch from which to enjoy one of the finest views in western Pennsylvania, your reward for having climbed up a thousand feet from the Youghiogheny River that is now far below you. Here before you is a giant schism in Laurel Ridge where the river rounds a wide peninsula known as the Flats and leaving considerable distance between you and the opposite walls of the Youghiogheny River Gorge.
8. Shred the Ohiopyle Mountain Bike Trails
Recognized as a world class destination for whitewater recreation, Ohiopyle State Park, is not (yet!) known as a high quality resource for mountain biking. But that is changing.
The new Ohiopyle Biking Club (OBC) is dedicated to converting this vast potential for “Destination-worthy” single track into a reality for all to enjoy! OBC’s vision includes a mountain biking “hub” at Sugarloaf parking/pavilion area with enough miles of quality single track that a weekend visit to Ohiopyle might mean never biking the same trail mile twice. Multiple loops, as well as trail connectivity between the Falls area and Sugarloaf and the summit of Laurel Ridge are in various stages of construction and planning. The club currently maintains over 10 miles of single track!
In Ohiopyle State Park, there are currently 25.2 miles of trails open to mountain bikes. Get after it!
9. SUP on Yough Lake or the Middle Yough
Stand-up Paddle (SUP) boarding is quickly becoming an incredibly popular way to enjoy the water. Take a stable surfboard, add a large canoe paddle, and you end up with a recreational watercraft that can be used in oceans, lakes or rivers. With more physical freedom, less gear and a fast learning curve, it’s easy to see why the sport has such high appeal.
Wilderness Voyageurs is your Ohiopyle and Youghiogheny source for Paddleboard rentals and lessons. We offer river-specific paddleboards to learn the basics and get you up and paddling. There are three different options for your SUP experience:
10. Watch the Sunset from Firetower Road
Follow Sugarloaf Road south out of Ohiopyle, this will take you to literally the top of the park, Sugarloaf Knob, the second highest point in Pennsylvania. At the very top of the mountain, there is a small road to your left (while heading south towards Confluence), this is Firetower Road, turn here. There is a small field in about 100 yards, that provides an amazing view to the west looking at Chestnut Ridge. You are facing due west, and there is nothing to obstruct your view of the end of another great day in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. ** remember the park closes at dark
Other: Where to Camp and Eat in Ohiopyle
Take the tribe for a campout at Kentuck Campground in Ohiopyle. This campground has over 200 sites – some with electric hookups, and all with access to flush toilets and hot showers. There are also 27 walk-in sites secluded in the forest, as well as rustic cottages and yurts. From the campground, you can take a scenic hike on Kentuck Trail to a sweeping overlook of the river and town.
Take the crew out to eat at Falls City Pub. Falls City Pub is the heart of Ohiopyle. Located at the north entrance to town (just off Route 381 on Garrett Street) and down the street from the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail’s terminus, the pub is easy to access and always a fun time. It’s got great food (with lots of smaller plates and options for kids), extensive beer list, and mellow, live music every Sunday afternoon.
All Wilderness Voyageurs bicycle tours are fully supported with a SAG vehicle and include beautiful routes through stunning landscapes, excellent food and accommodations, top rate equipment, dedicated and enthusiastic guides.
Give our helpful reservation staff a call to plan your next adventure vacation. (800) 272 – 4141