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This major 70 mile hiking and backpacking trail from Ohiopyle to near Johnstown is the main feature of the park. The trail traverses state parks, state forests, state game lands, other public lands and private lands.

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is open year round and is blazed approximately every 100 feet with 2" and 5" yellow blazes. Side trails are marked with blue blazes. Mileage monuments are every mile.

Large wooden signs mark trail access points at every major highway crossing. Six 30-car parking areas provide starting points. In addition, voluntary day-use registration booths are located at each of the parking areas and the trail user is encouraged to fill out information cards for vital park attendance data and for use in the event of an emergency. For overnight use of the trail see Special Regulation 15. Overnight reservations are mandatory. A fee is required for overnight camping
There are eight overnight shelter areas along the trail. Each area contains 5 adirondack-type shelters with fireplaces, 2 non-flush toilets, a water supply and spaces for 30 tents.

Mile 0 - Ohiopyle Trailhead Parking Lot - No water
Mile 6.3 - Ohiopyle Shelter Area
Mile 11.2 - Maple Summit Road - No water
Mile 18.5 - PA Rt. 653 Shelter Area
Mile 18.8 - PA Rt. 653 Parking Lot - Water
Mile 24.0 - Grindle Ridge Shelter Area
Mile 30.6 - PA Rt. 31 Parking Lot - Water
Mile 32.5 - PA Rt. 31 Shelter Area
Mile 38.2 - PA Turnpike Shelter Area
Mile 45.8 - U.S. Rt. 30 Parking Lot - Water
Mile 46.5 - U.S. Rt. 30 Shelter Area
Mile 56.9 - PA Rt. 271 Parking Lot - Water
Mile 64.9 - PA Rt. 56 Decker Ave. Shelter Area
Mile 70.0 - PA Rt. 56 Seward Parking Lot - No Water - Northern end of trail

Due to heavy use, the following regulations have been established to protect the trail.
1. One responsible adult (18 years of age or older) is required to accompany each ten campers.
2. Groups of six or more may only use one shelter.
3. Fires are only permitted in camp stoves, fireplaces, or in designated locations. They must be extinguished when unattended.
4. Standing timber and shrubs shall not be cut. Damaging, defacing, destroying or removing any state-owned property, sign, structure, equipment or other material is prohibited.
5. All garbage must be placed in refuse containers provided. Refuse containers shall not be removed from designated "pickup" stations. Burying garbage is prohibited.
6. All excavations for wet weather tent drainage must be filled into the original grade before departure.
7. All campers are required to clean and remove litter daily from toilets, pump platforms and surrounding areas, parking area and campsites.
8. No horses, bicycles or motorized vehicles are permitted on the hiking trail or in shelter areas. Pets are prohibited in shelter areas.
9. Camping is permitted in shelter areas only.
10. Overnight stays are limited to one night at each shelter area.
11. Dispose of dishwater in latrines. In no instance will it be disposed of on a campsite or the adjacent area. This causes unsanitary conditions for the camper and next user of the site, and becomes a breeding place for flies and mosquitoes, and attracts ants and skunks. Do not use sinks for personal hygiene.
12. Keep off of the roofs of all building, this prevents water leaks and deterioration of the shelters.
13. All ashes are to remain in the fireplaces. Do not rake them on the ground for in wet weather ashes are brought into the shelters on the shoes of hikers.
14. Horseplay is prohibited. It can lead to serious or fatal accidents especially when backpacking and hikers are many hours from medical attention.
15. Overnight registration / reservation information:
a. One (1) responsible adult for each hiking party must write or phone the park office prior to starting an overnight trail hike. Call: 724-455-3744.
b. Reservations can be made up to thirty (30) days in advance, but will not be accepted more than 30 days in advance.
c. Registration will be on a first come first served basis. This applies to tent sites and shelters for your entire trip.
d. You are encouraged to call during the park office hours, however, registrations by phone can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our telephone answering recorder. Park personnel will return your call the next business day if you leave the necessary information.
e. Park rangers may verify your reservation each night at all shelter and tent areas.
f. You must dress appropriately for all weather conditions and extremes.

The park office hours:
Summer Season - Memorial Day to Labor Day Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Off season Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and Holidays Closed.

Information requested:
1. Date, entry point and destination
2. Name
3. Address
4. Phone Number
5. Number of hikers in party

More information about this trail is available:
A Hiker's Guide to the Laurel Highlands Trail is available from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club, P.O. Box 8241, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. The guide describes the trail and aids in planning outings. Included in the guide are detailed topographic maps plus information on geology, climate, plants and wildlife.

Directions: From Rockwood, PA, Take SR 653 west approximately 8 - 10 miles to reach Laurel Ridge State Park. The trail actually covers five counties beginning in Ohiopyle State Park. There are access points all along the trail.

Elevation: 2,700 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,950 feet

Distance: 70 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Laurel Ridge State Park, Pennsylvania

Visitor Information

The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.