Tucked in the southwestern portion of Pennsylvania lies a community that welcomes all sorts of visitors throughout the year. Summer is a popular season for Ohiopyle State Park, and with all its unique attractions, it's no surprise. The park is situated fairly close to major metropolitan areas yet feels worlds away. While here, visitors can enjoy a whole array of activities, from hiking to biking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and more.
Striking right through the park's core, the passing waters of the Youghiogheny River are the highlight of the park. These rapids are frequented by rafting enthusiasts who like to take on the water on a whole other level. The rapid flow of the Youghiogheny provides some of the best whitewater adventures on the East Coast. The scenery surrounding this raging river is just as awe-inspiring and worth exploring.
You certainly won't run out of things to do here, and with a fairly tight campground, you may want to get out more than stay in. It's a good thing Ohiopyle provides such a wonderful setting to stretch those legs. In fact, a portion of the Great Allegheny Passage runs through the park as well. This passage connects Pittsburgh, PA all the way through to Cumberland, MD, and 27 miles of it runs through here. Get parked, get out, and get an escape from the city.
RV Rentals in Ohiopyle State Park
Transportation in Ohiopyle State Park
The state park sits out in the middle of seemingly nowhere. It's a nice, leisurely drive with minor bumps along the way. A word of caution to travelers with larger RVs: SR-2019 is rather steep and should be avoided. An alternated route (PA-40 to SR-2010, Chalk Hill-Ohiopyle Road) is a much better alternative. Follow this road for about eight miles, through a stop sign, and straight on through to the campground.
A number of parking areas throughout the park give access to attractions and trailheads. Parking your rig for camping here may be a bit tricky, as sites are packed pretty close together. Some visitors have reported issues with campers even under 30 feet. However, to get the most out of your stay, it's advised to call the park ahead of time when making reservations so that you can be sure the spot you pick to park is going to be fully accommodating.
Campgrounds and parking in Ohiopyle State Park
Campsites in Ohiopyle State Park
Ohiopyle State Park's main place for visitors to stay is at Kentuck Campground. The grounds host about 200 sites, with over 170 accessible to RVs and trailers. While the park is open all year long, the camp is only available to guests from April until about mid-December. All sites include a picnic table, fire ring, and many come with hookups for electric. RVers will also find a dump station located on site and all guests are welcome to use the shower houses. Showers are typically nice and warm, there are flush toilets available, and most amenities are made fully accessible.
This campground fills up quite quickly during the peak season, and reservations are required to ensure campsites are available during the time you wish to stay. Be prepared to get cozy, as sites are rather tight here. If you're traveling with a larger rig, you may want to contact the park ahead of time to ensure you park in a spot that will be as accommodating as needed. Some areas feel tight, even for campers under 30 feet. Otherwise, the surroundings are idyllic, and sites sit only a short distance from popular trail heads.
There are all sorts of options when you choose to stay at Ohiopyle State Park. If you haven't brought your home-away-from-home with you, consider other overnight stays available at the park. Backpacking campers and tenting guests have access to 27 walk-in sites within the campground. Other guests may choose to stay within the park's cozy camping cottages or yurts.
For the more daring, adventurous visitor, overnight backpacking can be exercised here along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. There are overnight shelters posted every 10 miles. Here, you can stay in style - even without the wheels.
Seasonal activities in Ohiopyle State Park
The peninsula offers a destination that has transformed over hundreds of years and now rests as a natural area. Here, you can walk along the trail and enjoy a self-guided tour through the interpretive exhibits. These signs tell stories of the rise and fall of the great resorts. As you continue, and walk along the river, you may just see some fossils. Get nearer to the falls and see how many you can spot in the sandstone. After you've exhausted your search efforts, circle the peninsula to get a phenomenal view of the rapids.
There are all sorts of climbing opportunities boasted at the park. Ohiopyle State Park's most popular sections include the Meadow Run climbing area, Bruner Run climbing area, and a four-wall series along the Lower Youghiogheny section of the Great Allegheny Passage. The wall series combines the ability to perform top-roping and sport routes, so climbers of all abilities can have a go. Trail entrances blazed in blue will lead to rock faces. For visitors who are inexperienced with climbing, but have always wanted to try it out, consider a guided trip with an Ohiopyle outfitter.
When you're looking for a thrilling, unique experience, you don't have to go much farther than the rapids of the Youghiogheny River. The river, which flows through the very heart of the park, features exciting whitewater boating for novice and advanced river explorers. The famous Lower Yough begins just after the Ohiopyle Falls and then flows seven miles downstream to the Bruner Run Take Out. This is easily the busiest section of whitewater on the East. Only experienced boaters should take on class III and IV rapids, and inexperienced boaters can run the section on a guided trip.
There are more than 11 miles of trails designated for use by equestrian enthusiasts. In fact, during peak seasons, it's not unusual for overnight guests to share trails with hoofed companions. Trails open to horseback riding are the Sugarloaf Trail System as well as the Pressley Ridge Trail. A designated horse trailer parking area can be found on Grover Road, with a fenced paddock and water nearby.
The Youghiogheny River runs through the heart of Ohiopyle State Park and is a provider of some top-notch trout fishing. Fingerling trout are stocked throughout the entire section of river in the park. Meadow Run is another area that supplies smaller stream fishing. With all fishing excursions, Pennsylvania's Fish and Boat Commission laws and regulations always apply.
The park is open all year round, including when the campground is closed for visitors. While camping is a major motivator for other activities in the park, the winter months bring guests who are looking for a little something different from summer's whitewater. Another kind of white entices guests to get out and have fun. Sledding is just one activity on this list. In fact, this excursion is so popular that a hill is maintained in the Sugarloaf snowmobile and mountain bike area just for sleds. Be sure to dress warmly and check reports for ice and snow depth information.
This state park sports 33.9 miles of combined trails that are recommended by visitors who enjoy cross-country skiing. In fact, guests may be happy to know that the Sproul Trails and parts of the Kentuck Trail were created solely for skiing. When Pennsylvania sees a lot of the white stuff, the Great Allegheny Passage also becomes a great location to take part in this activity. Ohiopyle State Park is beautiful in the winter, but cold. Be sure to always dress appropriately and follow all trail signs and marking to keep your trip both safe and enjoyable.
The park is a designated Important Mammal Area and Important Bird Area, meaning nature is prolific and protected. With a variety of habitats hosted here, guests can be sure to spy all sorts of critters. On the list of local residents are the white-tailed deer, black bear, bobcats, river otters, kingfishers, osprey, rattlesnakes, and more. The park offers a perfect opportunity to snap a few photos of the area wildlife, or simply marvel in the splendor of sharing the earth with such creatures. Always maintain a safe distance from wildlife and be sure to bring your binoculars.
In the winter, Pennsylvania folk certainly aren't without plenty to keep them with the white stuff. Deep snow and optimal winter conditions help create the perfect routes for the almost 16 miles of trails available for snowmobiling. The Sugarloaf Trail System and Pressley Ridge Trail are both open to snowmobiles throughout the offseason of the park. The Sugarloaf snowmobile area even has a parking area with an unloading ramp.
There are more trails to trek at the state park than fingers on your hands. With a combined 79 miles, these trails range in all sorts of terrain and difficulty levels. The varying trails of Ohiopyle show off the superb scenery of the Laurel Highlands. The inspiring landscape and feel-good spirit from working your way through the forests is sure to leave you feeling great after a day out hiking.