Ohiopyle was the first state park I visited, and it’s the one that I know best. It is absolutely magnificent in fall, but it can get quite chilly, so you will definitely need to dress in layers. Nearby, is the famous landmark Fallingwater, home of the Kaufmann estate on Bear Run, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. If you get started early in the day, it is possible to cram both places in one visit, although you will not have time to explore Ohiopyle fully.
Ohiopyle State Park was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its Bureau of Parks as one of “Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks”. It is also the 2nd largest state park in Pennsylvania.
Ohiopyle is situated where the slopes of Laurel Ridge clash with the Youghiogheny River. This clash has resulted in waterfalls, whitewater rapids, scenic overlooks, rock outcroppings, and a steep mountainous landscape. Ohiopyle is derived from the Native American word “ohiopehhle” which translates to “white, frothy water”.
Pulling into the park, visitors can park in the large parking lot that is next to the best known landmark of Ohiopyle, the Ohiopyle Falls, which span to a height of 20 feet. Every year, these falls draw thousands of visitors who flock to the area and its waters, which are also famous for white water rafting.
Near the falls, is the Youghiogheny River Trail, which leads to the Youghiogheny River Trail Bridge.
This trail takes you past a very scenic gorge, where you can see the autumn treetops in their splendor.
In this area, there are many trails that branch off from one another and you should be very careful to stay on your designated trail. Once, my husband and I unknowingly began hiking the Great Allegheny Passage, which is 27-miles long! Although the trails are well-marked, some are quite lengthy, so research and a trail map of the park is essential.
The Great Allegheny Passage Trail would be perfect for mountain bikers looking for a scenic ride.
Near the park office, is the Meadow Run Trail from which you can view both the Meadow Run Waterslides and Cascades. I recommend stopping at the Cascades to enjoy a picnic lunch. There are some giant rocks above the falls to sit and take in the surroundings.
These photos were taken along the Meadow Run Trail:
Located off SR2019 and the Meadow Run Trail are Cucumber Falls. The trail can get a little slippery, but it offers a great view of the 30-foot bridal veil waterfall. You can get as close to the waterfall as you dare, many people find it a refreshing spot in the summer heat.
Ohiopyle has over 79 miles of hiking trails, and what I’ve done so far is barely a dent in the surface, but I think I managed to capture the major attractions. There are two more waterfalls located off the Jonathan Run Trail. Photographing Sugar Run and Jonathan Run Falls is a challenge I hope to soon complete.
My husband and I are in the process of ordering our first mountain bikes, and we can’t wait to hit the 25+ miles of trails offered by this park!
Perhaps one day we’ll even go white water rafting!