Pretty Views in You Don’t Have To Hike To Near Ohiopyle

Waterfalls and scenic views in Western PA are plenty, but if you want to get away from the city, many of these destinations require some hiking and even trailblazing to find. Let’s face it; sometimes, you’re just feeling lazy but need some inspiration for your Instagram account, or Grandma is in town and you want to show around. You know a trip to the Laurel Highlands is in store! Plus – add 10 brownie points if the visit is in October because of the spectacular reds, golds and oranges of Pennsylvania’s foliage.

THE SUMMIT OVERLOOK | Route 40 East, Hopwood

Take in the ultimate in scenic viewing without really moving. Drive on up “the mountain” and pull off to the right at the Scenic View signage. Roll down the window, take in the sunset ahead and listen to the semi-trucks behind. 


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Other Ways To See It: Find this view again without much effort at Laurel Caverns. Or, if a hike is on your mind, pull off the road sooner at Lick Hollow and hike Pine Knob Trail 2 miles uphill. 

OHIOPYLE FALLS | Ohiopyle State Park
  1. Park 2. Walk 3. See. This PA state park gem is in the bag for “Best Day Ever,” especially if you likes ice cream from nearby Falls Market. Even better, relax with a craft beer from Falls City Pub around the corner.

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Other Ways to See It: Use the easy Ferncliff Trails to hike around the peninsula and end up on the other side of the falls. The end of this hike will take you alongside the river and winds through river rocks and the water pools.

Cucumber Falls | Ohiopyle State Park

This is a FAN FAVORITE. I repeat, this is a fan favorite. A beautiful waterfall that is easy to access, but plan this view accordingly: you will encounter major crowds in the summer or icy steps in the winter (falling on your ass is worth it).


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Baughman Rock | Ohiopyle State Park

This view is also an Ohiopyle fan favorite but no one will be standing in front of yout spectacular view! Think “Pennsylvania gorge,” but not quite “Grand Canyon” and make note to come back to this spot in autumn, too.

Other Ways To See It: As with most mountain views, hike up. Parking – take a right past Falls Market in Ohiopyle there will be a lot alongside the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. Baughman trail is marked at the end of the lot. Go straight once you enter the trailhead. Taking a right will take you on another path.

Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob | Mill Run & Chalkhill, PA

Last but certainly not least in this area, these two homes were designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Fallingwater is the most popular, with the gorgeous house built over a waterfall, but Kentuck has views of the Laurel Highlands countryside and a river gorge (which the original owners covered up with trees) that is quite fantastic.

Other scenes nearby

At 3,200 feet, Mount Davis the highest mountain in Pennsylvania, and a lookout tower allows you to climb even higher. Other options allow you to head further southeast past Ohiopyle to Swallow Falls in Maryland or about an hour into West Virginia to Blackwater Falls. Both have scenic vistas and falls you can get to easily, or hike around if you prefer. Want more? Check out the UncoveringPA Blog for more scenic views across the state of Pennsylvania that you don’t have to hike to.

Western PA Hideaway – Lick Hollow

On your way to Ohiopyle, stop here for a quiet hike or picnic under mountaintops before arriving to the summer crowds at the popular state park.

  • Park: Lick Hollow in Forbes State Forest
  • Location: Along Route 40 East, incline headed up to the summit.
  • Trail Type: Out & Back, 4 Miles

Pine Knob Trail & Overlook

As for trails in the area, there are 4. We chose Pine Knob Trail, a 2 mile hike to an all-natural overlook over the Laurel Highlands. The beginning of the trail was covered in ferns and gnats but quickly moved into the traditional rocky style hike that Pennyslvania loves to present. We hiked through one switchback and eventually ended at a fork in the road where we chose to walk left and ended walking onto what looked like a quad or snowmobile trail with a few other entrances to other paths. We easily found the right way to hike (straight through to continue along the path) after backtracking a few feet. Duh. Soon after, we arrived at a rocky ledge with a view that resembles that of the pull-off along the summit and route 40, but of course, the journey and the arrival experience here is much better.

Lick Hollow in Forbes State Forest, Fayette County

“Just 2 miles long, and stretches from the picnic area to the Pine Knob overlook. The trail parallels Lick Run for parts of its length, but it is a rugged trail for the most part. Trail elevation changes roughly 700 feet from the lowest 1,440 feet above sea level at the picnic area, to approximately 2,130 feet at Pine Knob Overlook. However, nothing to worry about as it’s only Pennsylvania. Prepare for a 4 hour roundtrip. Pack plenty of liquids during the summer and warm clothes in the winter.” – Trail Map (View Here)

Hike to another area of Forbes State Forest, Quebec Run Wild Area, start here with Whitetail Trail. A 9.5 mile journey will get you to the top of the mountain into Farmington, PA. Farmington is full of history, and offers tourist sites such as Fort Necessity National Battlefield and Braddock’s Grave. #GeorgeWashingtonWasHere

This area is a great spot if you’re a local looking to get away into the woods minus the Ohiopyle crowds or a visitor that wants a beautiful aerial view of western PA with a nice hike to boot.

Hiking in Forbes State Forest

Cole Run Trail, Forbes State Forest
Length: 3 Mile Loop (take the road to finish)
Sights: Cole Run Falls, Blue Hole
Level: Moderate Hiking Trail

I had heard so much about the legendary Blue Hole that I just needed to see it. Little did I know that I had spent an obscene amount of time just 15-minutes away from it through out the summer months a few years back. Well, things happen for a reason, and I finally discovered Blue Hole and the lovely Cole Run Trail this weekend.

First up, I ran straight into Cole Run Falls, as it’s set right beyond the first trailhead. It’s definitely gorgeous and needs to be placed higher up on my Top 10 List, now that I’ve visited.

Cole Run 1

Cole Run 2

Daisy set off on the rest of the hike, and found it surprisingly empty for a sunny Saturday, late morning. I saw 2 couples in 3 miles. Driving through Ohiopyle was completely overcrowded, so this was a nice surprise. Well, halfway through, I had no idea where Blue Hole was once I got to the turn in the hike.

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I retraced my steps a couple times, to no avail. The map was not helping… and thankfully my new Blue Sube, on E (my forgetful self didn’t even look at the gas tank as I drove out there) still had 60 miles before it died. I’d drive to Blue Hole later.

To make this a loop, I walked Cole Run Road for less than a quarter of a mile back. Along the way, I was informed that walking the loop from the front was worse, and it was easier to do it the way of the trail head I just climbed out of (it was a lot of rocks, on a nice incline for a long while). Duly noted, lady!

Well, after I hopped in the Sube there was just enough service to GPS my sorry self to Blue Hole. Aaand I took a bunch of snaps of the thing and went home. Making a mental note to document before I jump in later.