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.

Top 10 Waterfalls in Ohiopyle & (A Bit) Beyond

Let me start off by saying there are SO. MANY. WATERFALLS. in southwestern Pennsylvania! So much so that I initially ended my top 10 list with 16 falls (after an estimated 25 not making the cut) and realized I needed to take the driving radius down a notch. So yes, I know I have left out many. Please leave your favorites that I have forgotten in the comments for others to see (and for me to find out)!

Ohiopyle State Park

Obviously my favorite State Park gets its own section. You can probably get them all in, in one day if you like to speed hike and avoid stopping for a beer or two at the Pub.

1. Cucumber Falls ✓ – Ohiopyle State Park, PA – Meadow Run Trail

One of Ohiopyle’s main attractions, 30′ Cucumber Falls is the perfect spot for those that want the beauty of waterfall watching without the hike to go with it. Just park and climb down some well maintained steps to the base.

2. Cascades ✓ – Ohiopyle State Park, PA – Meadow Run Trail

The Cascades are located along my favorite trail, Meadow Run. It’s about a 3-mile point to point trail of easy to moderate hiking. You can get to Cucumber Falls this way as well, and you’ll pass the slides on your way. I do, however, enjoy the loop trail for after-work fun.

3. Ohiopyle Falls ✓ – Ohiopyle State Park, PA – Town of Ohiopyle

The big-kahuna focal point of Ohiopyle State Park. If you’ve never seen it, you will immediately if you’re entering town via 381 South from Route 40. Grab some ice cream from Falls Market and go enjoy the view. Oh, kayakers take on this massive waterfall, too.

4. Jonathan Run Falls ✓ – Ohiopyle State Park, PA – Jonathan Run Trail

The upper and lower falls along Jonathan Run Trail are hands down my favorite, and in my opinion the prettiest. Both are off trail. Getting to the upper falls (pictured first) is the easiest to access while the lower waterfall is a bit daunting. There are two more separate falls near Jonathan Run, in which you can see them all in 1 hike [Learn More].

5. Sugar Run Falls ✓ – Great Allegheny Passage

Waterfall | Christina Skis | Instagram

One of those waterfalls is just past mile marker 75 on the Great Allegheny Passage. On your left going towards Connellsville, there will be a sign and trail head for Mitchell Field. Go a few feet up that and you’ll arrive at Sugar Run Falls. Not to be mistaken with the assumption that it’s on Sugar Run Trail, I tried that move last year – it’s not. If you’re going by Jonathan Run way, hike through to the end and make a left onto the GAP trail, the trail head will come quickly on your left.

(A Little Bit) Beyond

I’ll admit, I’ve been to only 2 sites of the last five falls on the list, but my hype was so real while doing research, I just had to add them. Putting them on my bucket list for this summer.

6. Blackwater Falls ✓ – Blackwater Falls State Park, WV

We came here in the fall, hoping to be in the middle of peak leaf-peeping season, but were just a bit too late. Even so, the place was beautiful, Blackwater Falls was big and there’s plenty of hiking, water features and views of the gorge.  I’ll be back with better timing. Bonus:  View of Elakala Falls. You won’t be disappointed in Canaan Valley, WV.

7. Tolliver Falls ✓ – Swallow Falls State Park, MD

Canyon Loop Trail is a classic 1.5 mile loop hike that takes you pretty much immediately to the 53′ Muddy Creek Falls (not pictured), the tallest in Maryland. Swallow Falls comes next as a fun hike guides you through the park. The pretty Tolliver Falls is smaller and out of the way, but just as picturesque, along this trail. I would recommend going in the early morning, as this is one of the most crowded trails I’ve ever hiked. Well worth it, though!

8. Cole Run Falls & Blue Hole – Forbes State Forest, PA – Cole Run Trail
I have heard of the mysterious “Blue Hole” for so long that I am determined to find it. Are there two different “Blue Holes?” I found info for 2 different locations. I’ll let you know. I know some of you have been there and are probably laughing at my ignorance… Off-Trail Bonus:  Cave Falls & Barronvale Covered Bridge [Learn More]

9. Buttermilk Falls – Buttermilk Falls Natural Area, New Florence, PA
Never heard of this until I decided to write this post. Why haven’t I been here before? I have no comment for myself. Fun Fact: this 45′ waterfall is the tallest in western PA. See you soon, Buttermilk! [Learn More]

10. Jackson Falls – Roaring Run, Apollo, PA – Rock Furnace Trail
This is not mapped. Only Flat Run Falls is located on Roaring Run Natural Area’s Map. Trying to find this is going to be the most questionable for me because it is the least popular – definitely not going to be a solo trip, but it makes me want to find it even more. Has anyone been here and found these off-trail falls? [Learn More]

New falls and already experienced sites, I love every second exploring the beauty that nature has given us. Who doesn’t love a waterfall? Go out and find some.