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Tree stump and wooden fence in front of a wooded tree line with a green field of grass in Lauren Hill State Park in Pennsylvania

Laurel Hill State Park is one of several fabulous Pennsylvania state parks located in the Laurel Highlands.

Spanning over 4,000 acres, its bosky forest and shimmering lake provide outdoor enthusiasts with a popular year-round destination to escape into nature.

Visitors can enjoy a range of activities, from hiking and biking to fishing and boating. In addition, during the winter months, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, offering opportunities for skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.

As it is located just over an hour from Pittsburgh, the park is a popular spot for nature lovers to head to on day trips. However, for those who want to spend a bit longer connecting with the environment, there is also a huge campground available, providing various options to suit all camping preferences.

Activities

The park is a spectacular place to enjoy a wide range of recreational pursuits and activities.

Presented below is a summary of some of the main activities you can partake in during your visit to Laurel Hill State Park.

Boating at Laurel Hill State Park

One of the main features of the park is its 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake which is a very popular spot for kayaking, SUP, canoeing and boating.

If you did not bring these vehicles with you, you can hire them out from the park’s concession stand.

Boaters can also explore the lake’s shoreline and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains in a unique and relaxing way.

Swimming at Laurel Hill State Park

During the summer months, the park offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a refreshing swim in its lake.

The cool and clear water makes it an ideal spot for a dip and there is a designated swimming area available for visitors.

Lifeguards are on duty during certain times of the day for the safety of swimmers. The roped off area is located well away from the boating area to provide those who do go into the water with further protection.

Fishing at Laurel Hill State Park

The man-made lake is also a fabulous spot for fishing with anglers regularly coming from Pittsburgh and all over the state to cast a line in its scenic setting.

Teeming with bass, trout, catfish, crappie, and bluegill, you can choose to fish at the lake from the shore or boat.

The park also has fishing piers and a handicapped accessible fishing area for visitors with disabilities to throw in a reel.

If you are over the age of 16 you will need a valid Pennsylvania fishing license in order to fish at the park.

Hiking at Laurel Hill State Park

Laurel Hill State Park is a hiker’s paradise with more than 13 miles of trails winding through lush forests, past pristine streams and over rolling hills.

From the easy 0.4-mile Hemlock Trail to the challenging 4.7-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, there’s a hike suitable for all skill levels.

The highlight of the park’s trail system is the 1.3-mile Laurel Hill Lake Trail, which loops around the park’s centerpiece, Laurel Hill Lake. The trail conveys spectacular views of the lake and its surrounding forest and is a popular spot for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.

For those looking for a more challenging adventure, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail connects with several other trails in the park and can be extended for a multi-day backpacking trip.

Whichever trail(s) you decide to attempt, always make sure you have plenty of water and energy snacks with you. It is also advisable to wear a good pair of hiking boots and a hat, as well as sunscreen and mosquito spray. A GPS device is also useful to assist you if you get lost.

Winter Activities at Laurel Hill State Park

Laurel Hill State Park is not just a terrific place to visit in the summer months. When the snow comes in winter it also offers several other cold-weather related activities for visitors to enjoy.

This includes cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through its trails, as well as snowmobiling and sledding tubes.

Ice fishing also takes place on the lake and if it is more than about six inches thick, many people choose to ice skate on it as well.

Pets

Laurel Hill State Park is a lovely place for pet owners to explore the outdoors with their furry friends.

While the park regards itself as pet friendly, it does impose certain restrictions on their presence through its pet policy.

This policy requires them to be well behaved at all times and restrained on a leash that does not exceed six feet.

Pet owners should also be aware that their pooch is not allowed on swimming beaches and in certain other areas of the park.

To find out more about this pet policy it is worth contacting the main office for clarification.

Camping

The park offers a serene camping experience amidst the natural beauty of the Laurel Highlands for those who want to stay for a few days.

Overall, the park has two campgrounds, Laurel Hill and Hemlock, which provide a total of 262 campsites. Of these, 149 sites come with hookups for electricity, with some of them having full connections for sewer and water as well.

Each of the campsites features their own picnic tables and fire rings, while restrooms and shower facilities are also available.

For those wanting a more upscale accommodation offering, there are several cottages and lodges available which provide guests with home comforts like fully equipped kitchens and private bathrooms.

Park Location

Laurel Hill State Park
1454 Laurel Hill Park Rd
Somerset, PA 15501
Phone: 814.445.7725

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Laurel Hill State Park: