Caution must be used at all times as natural hazards exist in the wilderness. Please play wisely at Ohiopyle State Park.
Ohiopyle State Park is located about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, not too far from the Maryland border. The park is a gateway to the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
The park is known for its scenic waterfalls, whitewater rafting, natural water slides, and of course, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater is nearby.
The park offers over 20,000 acres of hiking trails, campsites, picnicking spots, and much more.
This state park is very popular, and on the weekends the visitor’s center parking lot (and all parking lots near the main attractions) fill up quickly.
The visitor’s center building is relativity new and features a nice display area on the bottom floor, with large windows to take in the scene of the falls along the Youghiogheny River.
There is an information desk in the visitor’s center where you can ask all kinds of questions from which hiking trails are open, to where the best place is to picnic.
This is a great place to learning about the area, pick up a map, and of course use the restroom before heading out on a hike.
Natural Water Slides
One area of the park, Meadow Run, is home to a natural waterslide. It’s possible to walk to the natural water slides from the visitor’s center, and there is a well marked path with signs to lead you there.
The walk does take you along a road, which is somewhat busy, so we kept a close watch on the kids.
After crossing the road, there is a small parking lot right by the slides, however it may be full. From the parking lot, the natural water slides are a very short walk, which leads out into the water with tons of flat, slippery rocks.
The rocks are difficult to walk on, but perfect for water slides. Water shoes are a must. Keep in mind that the water level when you visit will determine how safe it is to use the natural slides. On the day we visited, the water was pretty low, which made for a great ride.
The rocks can beat you up a bit as you go down, so exercise caution and travel down the slides at your own risk.
Another great area of the park to visit is Cucumber Falls. The falls are close to the road, and there are steps made from stones to get to the bottom of the waterfall.
Actually climbing to get under the falls is somewhat difficult, so again exercise caution and only do what you think your kids can handle.
The water levels can vary greatly here as well, and the water was quite low on the day we visited. We could tell that areas were dry that are usually covered with water. The falls are even beautiful from a distance, so enjoy the view!
Picnicking / Food
Ohiopyle’s picnicking arrangement is somewhat unique, in that there is a long pathway and every so often there is a clearing on a side of the road with space to park, a picnic table, and most picnic areas have a place to play in the creek.
It’s a nice place to relax and eat after hiking or playing in the water. There are also restrooms along the trail, but we didn’t venture into them. They seemed a bit rustic, as you would expect in the middle of the woods.
There are also several places to eat along the main road that borders the state park. There are a couple of sandwich shops with outdoor seating, along with some sweet treats.
Baughman Rock Overlook
Baughman Rock Overlook is a short drive from the visitors center. A parking lot is available just about 25 yards from the overlook, though the walk is a somewhat steep, uphill walk.
The uphill walk has a wonderful reward at the top, with this scenic view. There’s much more to explore in Ohiopyle State Park. Check out more information about the park here.
Looking for some more fun in the outdoors?
There are many amazing state parks in both Maryland and Pennsylvania. Check out these State Parks in the mid-Atlantic area:
Disclaimer: Caution must be used at all times as natural hazards exist in the wilderness. Please play wisely!