Beauty In My Backyard: A Day Hike Near Pittsburgh

I grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and although I don’t live there any longer, I spend a lot of time visiting Western Pennsylvania.  I’m always looking for something active to do in and around the city, there are lots of activities to explore but the best day hike near Pittsburgh has to be Ohio Pyle State Park.  Here is what you need to know to make the most of your day trip to Ohiopyle.

A Laurel Highlands Day Hike

With over 20,000 acres in the park, the 70 miles of trails allows for some beautiful day hikes or a multi-day backpacking trip.  The state park and trails are open all year round so you can enjoy it any time of year.  About every 10 miles there are overnight areas that provide shelter for multi-day treks.

If you aren’t planning on the full 70 mile jaunt there are nicely marked sections of trails that rank from easy for the family to more challenging hikes.

The Baughman trail is listed as difficult but I’d classify it as moderate.  A section of the trail is accessible by car and there is a famous look out point that offers stunning views of the park, at the Baughman Rock Overlook.  It’s one of the highlight views on the trail so even if you decide not to take the 8 mile loop you can still enjoy the scenery.

Sugarloaf Trail is one of the longer day treks, lots of uphill sections but has stunning views of the valley.  Make sure you check the MAP to see trailheads, the routes you are looking to take and all of the marked hiking opportunities in the area.

An easy route to take is one along the river and it leads to Cucumber falls, a rest area with a big beautiful waterfall.  There is a car park right near the entry way to the falls so you can set up from here for a short walk through the woods, drive over for a picnic lunch or swim.  I swung by on my way out of the park after I was done with my hike and walked a little along the Great Gorge Trail.

Go Whitewater Rafting

There are several companies offering white water rafting trips along the Youghiogehny River.  The Yough (pronounced “Yok”) is a 7 mile section of rapids class III – IV and a great place for beginners or more advanced rafters.  The upper, lower and middle sections of the river have different classifications so it is perfect for anyone.  In addition to rafting there are many people that rent or bring their own kayaks for a calmer but just as fun river experience.

Where to Sleep & Eat

Nemacolin Woodlands or Seven Springs are two higher end options for a weekend getaway.  Both resorts have golfing, spa & restaurants and Seven Springs has skiing in the winter.

Camping is one of the more fun, cost effective and you can check out more information HERE.

The Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe has the best sandwiches with delicious fresh homemade breads.  There is also the Falls Market Restaurant & General Store is in the middle of town, offering a quick spot to grab a snack, pick up some supplies before your trip or sit down and have a meal post hike.  Afterwards, grab an ice cream from The Kickstand and sit down by the water to enjoy dessert.

Learning Architecture

Kentuck Nob and Falling Water are two Frank Lloyd Wright houses that you can tour during your stay.  It’s a great way to balance outdoor activities with education, touring these iconic homes will give you a chance to get indoors if you encounter a rainy day.  A famous American architect, Wrights two homes in this region are famous examples of his unique works.

Outdoors or in, Ohiopyle has something for everyone.  It’s conveniently located from the city so you can escape for the day and enjoy all that Laurel Highlands has to offer.

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