Tucked in the southwestern portion of Pennsylvania known as the Laurel Highlands, Ohiopyle State Park offers over 20,000 acres for RVers to explore. You can enjoy a whole array of activities, from hiking to biking to whitewater rafting and rock climbing. 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.
The state park sits out in the middle of seemingly nowhere, although it is only about 68 miles to the southeast of Pittsburgh. You are also less than 30 miles from two other state parks if you have time to visit them. Kooser State Park and Laurel Hill State Park are both about a half-hour to the northeast. In the other direction, just 29 miles to the southwest, Coopers Rock State Forest holds all sorts of fun things to do such as geocaching, fishing, hiking, biking, and camping.
Right off of PA-381, this is 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 alternate route such as taking 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.
Connellsville, PA is located between the whitewater action at Youghiogheny River and the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. Visit Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Fallingwater at Mill Run or explore Laurel Caverns National Park. The Uniontown KOA offers sites for rigs up to 80 feet. Choose between a riverside gravel patio site or riverview deluxe patio site with patio furniture, propane grill, and fire ring. All sites offer full hookups and up to 50-amp service. Other amenities include Wi-Fi, cable TV, a snack bar, a pool, and a dog park. Propane and firewood are available on-site.
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 electricity. 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. The length limits range from 10 to 50 feet. Otherwise, the surroundings are idyllic, and sites sit only a short distance from popular trailheads. You can bring your furbaby too as long as you keep them on a leash or otherwise restrained while at the park.
Are you looking for a change? Try staying a night or two in one of the park’s six cottages. Located along the eastern edge of the campground. Cottages 196-198 are at the end of Ivy Road and 235-237 are on Hickory Road. Those on Hickory allow pets so you can bring your furbaby in with you. However, make sure you keep Fluffy restrained and supervised at all times. Cottages 197 and 198 are ADA accessible.
You and up to four others can sleep comfortably in one of the cottages with padded bunk beds. You’ll also have electricity, lights, and heat as well as a small dining room set to sit together as a group when you eat. You can cook inside with an electric camp stove or outdoors on the provided fire ring. You will have a large picnic table outside as well. Reservations are required and can be made up to 11 months in advance.
If you have never camped in a yurt, Ohiopyle State Park is a great place to try it. A yurt is a round wooden structure covered in thick canvas that looks similar to a small circus tent. The park has four large yurts in the middle of the campground conveniently located on Cherry Road by the showers, restrooms, and water access. There are also two playgrounds that the kids will love. Yurt 31 is ADA-accessible as is the shower house across the road.
Each yurt can sleep five adults comfortably and has electricity as well as a full kitchen with a stove, refrigerator, and microwave. A table and chairs seat five so you can all eat together as a family. Like the cottages, there are also picnic tables and fire rings outside. All of the yurts also have large wooden decks with seating so you can enjoy the peacefulness of the Pennsylvania wilderness. Reservations are needed and can be made up to 11 months in advance. Sorry, pets are not allowed.
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.
There are more trails to trek at Ohiopyle State Park than fingers on your hands. With a combined 79 miles, these trails range in terrain and difficulty levels. The astounding scenery of the Laurel Highlands is an inspiring landscape that is sure to leave you feeling great after a day out hiking. For an easy trail, check out the 1.7-mile Jonathan Run Trail, which meanders along the Holland Hill Road to the Jonathan Run waterfall. For more of a challenge, the 2.6-mile Great Gorge Trail is part of an old tramway and is known for its vibrant wildflowers in the spring and summer.
Don’t forget to pack your fishing gear in the motorhome before heading to the park. The Youghiogheny River runs through the heart of Ohiopyle State Park and is a provider of some top-notch trout fishing. Fingerling trout are a popular catch in this river. 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, so make sure you have your fishing license and trout tags up to date and carry them with you while fishing.
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 Lower Yough is a must section for whitewater rafters. If you don't want to bog down your camping trailer with heavy gear, rentals for whitewater rafting equipment is available in the nearby town of Ohiopyle. If you want to take the whole family on an incredible journey, you can book a guided rafting adventure. Only experienced boaters should take on class III and IV rapids, and inexperienced rafters can run the section on a guided trip.
There are all sorts of climbing opportunities boasted at the park. Ohiopyle State Park's most popular sections include the four walls of the Lower Youghiogheny, an area known as Bruner Run Climbing Area, and the Meadow Run Climbing Area. Some of the best times to do these climbs are from April until November. You can take your bike or hike from the Great Allegheny Passage to get there, which is a beautiful section of Pennsylvania not to be ignored. You can also begin from the Visitor’s Center or Old Train Station.
The Ferncliff 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.
Deep snow and optimal winter conditions help create the perfect routes for the almost 16 miles of trails available for snowmobiling. Both Pressley Ridge and Sugarloaf Trails are open to snowmobiles throughout the off-season of the park. The Sugarloaf snowmobile area even has a parking lot with an unloading ramp. Make sure to dress in layers and wear proper safety equipment at all times.
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. The list of local residents includes the white-tailed deer, bobcats, river otters, kingfishers, and osprey. 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.
This state park sports 33.9 miles of trails that are perfect for 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 snow 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 to keep your trip both safe and enjoyable.
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. Sledding is just one activity on this list. In fact, this excursion is so popular that there is a hill available just for sledding at the Sugarloaf snowmobile area. Be sure to dress warmly and check reports for ice and snow depth information.
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. The best place to ride at Ohiopyle State Park is the Sugarloaf Trail, which offers just over 10 miles of rugged climbs and descents. Although it is considered to be most difficult for hiking, it is much easier and more scenic to ride atop your horse on this one. A designated horse trailer parking area can be found on Grover Road, with a fenced paddock and water nearby.