Glorious mountain terrain, a beautiful lake, and thousands of acres of pristine forests are waiting for you and your RV when you enter Laurel Hill State Park. Situated in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, Laurel Hill State Park is an RV destination for outdoor lovers looking to explore the best that Pennsylvania has to offer.
There are many activities you can do at the lake to get adventurous or kick back and relax. The lake is the most popular recreation spot with 30 mooring sites and several boat ramps. Don't stress if you did not bring a boat; rentals are also available during the summertime.
Hiking is another popular pastime at the park, with 10 trails totaling 15 miles. The trail system is superb and runs all the way through the park so you can enjoy the flora and the fauna of the area. If you like to hunt, you will be excited to know that there are 2,200 acres available to hunt on. Most of Laurel Hill Lake is also open to goose and waterfowl hunting, which is a real plus for bird hunters.
The campground is well equipped to handle you and your RV, with 155 electric sites available that have connections ranging from 20 to 50 amps. There are also 12 full hookup sites available that include room for up to 40-foot RVs. The park is open year-round, with the peak season beginning in April and ending in November.
Located in southwest Pennsylvania near Somerset, Laurel Hill State Park is just an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, two hours from Harrisburg to the east, and about four hours from Philadelphia. Being so close to I-68, I-70, and I-76, the park is easy to access from wherever you may be coming from. However, there are some crazy twists and turns coming off I-76 onto PA-31, so you better take it easy or take a detour around that area. You could take US-219 to Piedmont Road instead.
You’ll run into some more curvy and mountainous roads once you get closer to the park, where it is good to slow down and keep an eye out for wild critters that tend to cross the streets here. With such stunning scenery to look at on your way, it is best to go slow anyway. You may even want to pull over on a turnout or at a rest stop along the way to take some photos.
Once in the park, you’ll need to be careful and watch out for visitors who are out enjoying the area. The roads are mostly paved and well-cared for so you should not have any problems getting to your campsite. However, it is best to park your RV and walk or ride bikes to wherever you may be headed during your stay rather than trying to maneuver the big rig on those narrow roads.
There are four main loops at the Laurel Hill State Park Campgrounds, with 155 modern electric and 12 full hookup sites available year-round. The park can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length, with pull-through sites available in some of the loops. Each site has its own campfire ring with a grill to cook on and a large picnic table that seats eight. If you aren't staying at a full hook up site, there are two dump stations with potable water available at both. The facilities at the campground are impressive, with restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and plenty of extra parking. Fun can be found all over the place with volleyball courts, an amphitheater, Visitor Center, and a playground. If you are traveling with pets, there is a specific pet loop available that even has a pet walking trail. Reservations are the best way to book your stay, and they can be made up to 11 months in advance. However, the park also accepts walk-ins. If you are traveling with a medium-sized RV and want to be near the facilities, choose sites 44 or 45.
While most of the sites are available for reservations, first-come, first-served campers should note that any spaces not reserved are available for walk-up reservations. Before heading to the park, call ahead to see what might be available when you are ready to camp.
Once it starts to get cold, snowmobiling is a popular option for a winter recreational activity in the park. There is a 10-mile snowmobile trail in Laurel Hill State Park that connects with the Forbes State Forest, where you can find more than 120 miles of trails to explore. To use the snowmobile trails, you must be a registered snowmobiler with the park. The trails are open daily until January except for deer season, when they are closed. You can find trail maps and more information at the Visitor Center, so make sure you stop by before your adventure begins.
During the hunting season, there are more than 2,200 acres in Laurel Hill State Park that you can hunt, trap, and even train your dogs on. Common hunting species in the park are squirrel, rabbit, grouse, deer, black bear, turkey, and raccoon. Most of the lake is also open to goose and waterfowl hunting, as well. If you are looking around the area to do more hunting, you are also permitted to hunt in Forbes State Forest, which is adjacent to Laurel Hill State Park.
Laurel Hill State Park has some of the best hiking trails in Pennsylvania. With over a dozen miles of trails to choose from, you have many different options as to where you can hike. Most of the paths are well-groomed and easy to follow, marked with a bright yellow blaze. The Hemlock Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park. Stretching over a mile, the Hemlock Trail runs near some steep embankments, so you need to be alert. This trail loops through the six-acre natural area and meanders along the bank of the creek. It's a great trail if you are looking for some adventure but not looking to walk too far.
When is the last time you went sledding? Maybe when you were just a kid? Well, you will find that it is just as fun when you are an adult. In fact, with all of the new sleds and other kinds of sledding devices, you will be amazed at how much fun you can have. Gather the kids in the RV and head to Laurel Hill State Park for a sledding adventure today. You’ll find some awesome sledding opportunities near the pet-friendly campground where they keep the hill lit up until 9 PM for sledders during the winter season.
If you are thinking of visiting the park during the winter, pack your ice fishing gear in the RV so you can get in on the best fishing that Pennsylvania has to offer. These fish are hungry during the winter, so when you punch that hole in the ice and drop in your line, fish are going to be lining up to take a bite. Make sure you check the depth of the ice first as you need to have at least four inches of ice to be safe out there.
Be sure to bring along your bikes because there are some fantastic bike trails at the park. The half-mile Shay Trail is a nice short and easy ride along the creek. Ridge Trail is 1.5 miles and is a bit more complicated than the rest as it has quite a few ups and downs. The 1.7-mile Tram Road Trail is also challenging as it follows the logging railroad trail from the 1900s. The 0.6-mile Water Line Trail is tough as well, but lets you experience the fossils that are commonly found here.
Laurel Hill Lake has the luxury of being home to both warm and cold-water fish, making it a must-fish spot for RV anglers all year long. A great feature of the park is the ADA access for fishing, with a pier located close to the bridge on Laurel Hill Creek. Fish species found in the lake include trout, catfish, bluegill, perch, crappie, and sunfish. If you are over the age of 16, you must have a Pennsylvania license to fish in the lake. Be sure to come prepared by purchasing one before you get to the park because the park does not sell them onsite.
The lake is a perfect location for boating. With two boat launches and a separate launch for small unpowered boats, you’ll have plenty of access to the water. If you want to explore, this ramp is a great place to launch a kayak or canoe, as it is the beginning of a water trail that ends near Kings Covered Bridge. During the summer rowboats, paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, and even hydro bikes are available to rent from the beach area.
During the summertime, there is a 1200-foot beach on the banks of Laurel Hill Lake. The beach is quite shallow, with a maximum depth of five feet. Lifeguards are on duty at the beach from 11 AM to 7 PM daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless otherwise posted. And if you work up a hunger while you swim, visit the snack bar, which is located a short distance from the beach. Swimming is only allowed within the designated buoy areas.
You have a plethora of choices for a picnic or BBQ at Laurel Hill State Park. The park offers five picnic pavilions that you can reserve for large groups, or you can just grab a picnic table near the beach or one of the other picnic areas around the park. Sugar Maple, White Oak, and Willis Pavilions have room for 80 people each. Trent Pavilion can accommodate 64 guests, and Lake View has room for up to 50. All of the pavilions are pet-friendly and have water and electricity.