Ohiopyle State Park
Ohiopyle is one of many gorgeous state parks in Pennsylvania. What makes Ohiopyle a phenomenal location for an outdoor getaway is that it is truly massive. Located only a short drive from the greater Morgantown area, over 20,000 acres of adventure await you and yours. Ohiopyle is an outdoor lover’s paradise with rafting, kayaking, climbing, hiking, biking, paddle boarding, and more! Ohiopyle boasts so many activities that it would be physically impossible to indulge in everything they have to offer you in less than a week. And while this can make planning your vacation overwhelming, this blog is here to help guide you through what Ohiopyle has to offer and help you plan your next trip to the gorgeous Laurel Highlands.
This to See
One of the most photographed waterfalls in Ohiopyle, Cucumber Falls is a 30-foot waterfall that is as graceful as it is easy to access. Enjoy the waterfall as you relax in the basin or soak your feet in the water as it mists around you. Beyond the falls are several trails worth meandering through for a nice mid-day stroll.
Baughman Rock Overlook
The Baughman Rock Vista Overlook is truly a must-see attraction during your trip to Ohiopyle. Located right off State Road 26116, it’s only a short jaunt to an overlook that is breathtaking! Take caution, as the rocks are angled, and the drop-off is quite steep.This is the perfect spot to spice up your Instagram feed and wow your friends and family with this extraordinary landscape!
Right next to the Ohiopyle Visitors’ Center is the 20-foot Ohiopyle Falls. These waterfalls are a mesmerizing sight, and the observation decks located by the visitors’ center are perfectly suited to gaze to your heart’s content. As you view the falls from one of three vantage points, also take in the dense, full treeline of Ferncliff Peninsula directly behind the falls.
Have you ever ridden a natural waterslide? Chances are, you haven’t even seen one. Well, now’s your chance! Meadow Run is an area of Ohiopyle that boasts this incredibly rare recreational rock feature. Chiseled out of sandstone, this is a fast-moving, curving waterslide leading to a deep pool of water. There is a staircase leading back to the top of the waterslide, ensuring safe passage for riders of all ages. It is worth noting that, during the winter and spring months, the currents are likely too strong for most to attempt to slide, but summer and fall are usually ideal conditions to mark this off your bucket list!
Things to Do
Ohiopyle’s main claim to fame is spectacular rafting. The very name Ohiopyle is derived from the Lenape Native American phrase “ahi opihəle,”“, meaning “white frothy water.”. Home to the fastest-flowing whitewater of the Youghiogheny River, you’re guaranteed an exhilarating experience. Ohiopyle has rapids from Class I (easy) to V (very difficult). Whether you’re a seasoned rafter or a complete newbie, Ohiopyle has a water adventure for you.
The Youghiogheny River
The Youghiogheny (Yoka-Gainy) River, sometimes called the Yough (Yohk) for short, is a tributary of the Monongahela and takes its name from a Lenape word meaning “stream flowing in a contrary direction.” The area was originally settled around 1,000 years ago by the Monongahela people. The area then saw purpose as hunting grounds for the Shawnee, Seneca, and Delaware tribes. A young upstart named George Washington even boated the Yough as a British Colonel, attempting to retake a fort in present-day Pittsburgh during the French and Indian War. For more information on the history of the Youghiogheny River and Ohiopyle, check out https://ohiopyle.co/pages/history.
The river itself is divided into three sections: the upper, middle, and lower Yough. The upper Yough is wild, consisting primarily of Class IV-V whitewater. The upper Yough is a wild stretch of water for adrenaline junkies and rafting aficionados. The middle Yough is a more approachable Class IIwhitewater– a great place to start your rafting journey or visit for a more mellow water adventure. The lower Yough is a great stretch for intermediate rafters or kayakers, consisting of Class III whitewater.
Beyond just rafting, the Yough also presents opportunities for some of the best kayaking around. Courses for learning the essentials of whitewater kayaking safety can be booked at Wilderness Voyageurs, which offers beginner to advanced whitewater kayaking courses. Book your kayaking course at https://wilderness-voyageurs.com/kayaking/.
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
In the past decade, stand-up paddle boarding has become increasingly more popular. For the unfamiliar, this water activity involves standing on a large surfboard and using a long canoe paddle to propel yourself across the water. Paddle boarding is easy to pick up, and hard to put down! Ohiopyle is your destination to get in on the paddle-boarding craze. A variety of local outfitters offer paddle-boarding lessons and guided paddle board tours along the Yough as well as board rentals.
Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail
This challenging 11.2-mile trail takes you from the heart of Ohiopyle to the small, nearby city of Bidwell. If you intend to hike the entirety of the trail, expect to be on foot for six hours! After a long day of sightseeing, return to the trailhead to find Falls City Pub and reward yourself with a pint.
If 11 miles is outside of your comfort zone, the Ferncliff Trail is a much more approachable two-mile loop around the Ferncliff Peninsula. You’ll encounter pristine waterfalls and dense greenery trailing along the Yough as it bends around the peninsula. This hike will only take you around 45 minutes, but the scenery makes it ideal for a mid-day picnic.
Sugarloaf Trail System
The Sugarloaf Trail begins near Sugarloaf Knob and extends almost five miles out, connecting many other trails included on this list to each other. The sugarloaf trail is a steep monster, so expect to see grades up to 18%, and several steep and rocky sections. This is not for the faint of heart or spirit, but it is an incredibly rewarding hike and a gateway to some of the best views in the entire park. If you’re looking to get ambitious, this is your trail.
The Jonathan Run trail is a 3.4-mile out-and-back hike alongside the beautiful Jonathon Run Creek. This is an incredibly peaceful hike as the sounds of the shimmering creek and the brush of the trees are sure to remind you of the natural beauty of the outdoors. Hiking Jonathan Run is a great way to cap off a day of intense routes, or a phenomenal way to ease into your outdoor journey for the day.
Park at the Sugarloaf Sledding Hill parking lot and pick up the trail heading down the mountain alongside Sugarloaf road. Eventually, the trail will cross Sugarloaf road and continue on the opposite side, there are then mild uphills eventually arriving at the Baughman Rock Overlook. After resting at the overlook, you can head back the way you came.
McCune Trail is a 3.7-mile looping trail, just a few hundred feet east of Sugarloaf Knob. This trail is very approachable, with minimal elevation gain. There is a gorgeous overlook present around one-and-a-half miles in, with a bench to stop and relax before you undertake the remaining two miles. A great hike for those looking to get into longer hikes but not comfortable with an uphill climb.
A fantastic resource for your hiking adventures in Ohiopyle is AllTrails, an extensive trail map database and hiking social network. Use the app to find trails near you and stay up to date on the conditions on your favorite trails. Find AllTrails on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store today and start planning your next outdoor excursion!
Ohiopyle currently offers 25.2 miles of trails for mountain biking. These trails are the Sugarloaf trail system, the Pressley Ridge trail, the McCune trail, the Baughman trail, the Jonathan Run trail, the Sugar Run trail, and the Canyon Edge trail. There has never been a better time to start mountain biking at Ohiopyle. Starting this year, Ohiopyle Biking Club is beginning construction on 12 miles of professionally designed mountain biking trails in the Clay Strips area. If you’d like to donate to the Clay Strips Construction Fund, you can find more information on the Ohiopyle Biking Club website.
Host to 226 campsites, including electric and non-electric options as well as cottages, yurts, and group tenting sites, the Kentuck Campground. is your camping solution at Ohiopyle. Located close to the heart of the park, you will be able to access any of the park’s trails and attractions from the campground! Further information and booking details can be found at the link above
Ohiopyle is the southernmost point of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. This trail stretches 70 miles into Johnstown, PA. This trail is open year round for hiking and backpacking and has overnight shelter areas every 8-10 miles along the route. Enjoy scenic views and challenging hiking as you embark on a journey you won’t soon forget!
There are many cabin rental agencies specializing in Ohiopyle properties. Vacation Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Vacation Rentals, and Paddler’s Lane Retreat are a few that have a myriad of 1-4-bedroom cabins available within 20 minutes of downtown Ohiopyle.
Whether you’re a free-solo-sending madman or a complete beginner, Ohiopyle is home to a diverse range of rock-climbing and bouldering opportunities. Take a guided climbing tour with Wilderness Voyageurs https://wilderness-voyageurs.com/adventures/rock-climbing/ to learn the basics of climbing safety. If you’re already a seasoned climber, use the climbing app theCrag to find any one of 96 unique rock-climbing routes in Ohiopyle State Park! Once you’ve honed your climbing finesse and mastered the cruxes of Ohiopyle’s routes, you can take your skills to the nearby climbing wonderland – Cooper’s Rock! Did you know Cooper’s Rock is home to no less than 360 climbing routes? Get outdoors, and get climbing because Cooper’s Rock has routes that will challenge even world-class climbers. Check out our Cooper’s Rock guide for more information!
Nightlife near Ohiopyle
After your wilderness trip, drive to Morgantown to unwind and bask in some of the most extensive nightlife in the region! If you’re looking for a nice night out with some drinks, there’s a spot for you in Morgantown. Craft beer appreciators should head to The Apothecary, Morgantown’s premier beer destination that specializes in Belgian, German, and West Virginia locally brewed ales. Wine lovers should head to The Wine Bar at Vintner Valley for a tasting of one of their over 150 bottles! For cocktails, make your way to Anvil + Ax, located inside the historic Hotel Morgan. Enjoy artisan cocktails prepared in a warm and intimate setting by their bartenders. If you’d rather skip the beverages, Morgantown is home to several live music venues with regular events such as 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown Art Bar, and Morgantown Art Party. For more information on events in Morgantown as well as Monongalia, Preston, and Taylor counties in West Virginia, check out our full events calendar!