(Last Updated On: )
One tree grows from the rotting stump of another at Laurel Ridge State Park

One tree grows from the rotting stump of another at Laurel Ridge State Park. Photo: Chris Collins from Pittsburgh, PA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Laurel Highlands are home to several fabulous Pennsylvania state parks and one of the best of them is Laurel Ridge State Park.

Comprising over 13,000 acres of forested hills, meandering streams, and stunning vistas, this park offers a multitude of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

The centerpiece is the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70-mile trail that runs from Ohiopyle State Park to near Johnstown. But hiking is not the only activity that draws visitors to this park; there is something for everyone here.

In the summer, visitors can enjoy picnicking, fishing, and boating at the beautiful Laurel Hill Lake. The lake is stocked with trout, making it a popular destination for anglers.

The park also offers several miles of mountain biking trails that challenge riders with steep climbs and thrilling descents. Likewise, in the winter, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the park’s many trails.

Laurel Ridge State Park is also home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, making it a popular destination for nature lovers. Visitors can spot black bears, white-tailed deer, and a variety of birds while exploring the park’s many trails.

Unfortunately, there is no camping accommodation available at the park. However, there are several campgrounds in the surrounding area which you can use as a base to explore this must-visit destination.

Activities

One of the park’s best features is that it provides guests with several opportunities to immerse themselves within the beauty of its nature.

Outlined below is a small selection of some of the more popular activities you can see and do during your time at Laurel Ridge State Park.

Hiking at Laurel Ridge State Park

Laurel Ridge State Park offers a variety of hiking trails that are sure to satisfy any level of hiker. The park has over 30 miles of trails that wind through the beautiful Laurel Highlands, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Hikers can explore the park’s natural beauty on trails that range from easy to strenuous, with varying elevations and terrains to challenge their skills.

One of the most popular trails in the park is the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70-mile backpacking trail that runs from Ohiopyle State Park to the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown. The trail passes through Laurel Ridge State Park and offers spectacular views of the surrounding forests, streams, and valleys. The trail is well marked and maintained, so it is easy to follow.

For those seeking a shorter hike, there are several other trails to choose from, such as the Spruce Flats Bog Trail, which leads hikers through a unique ecosystem of sphagnum bogs and spruce forests.

The Wolf Rocks Trail is another popular option you might want to attempt, offering a moderate hike to a rocky outcrop with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Picnicking at Laurel Ridge State Park

The serene atmosphere and beautiful surroundings of the park make it a prime spot for picnicking.

Overall, there are several picnic areas that are perfect for a day out in the open, enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding forests and mountains.

The most popular picnic area in the park is the Laurel Summit Picnic Area, which is located at the highest point in the park and offers breathtaking views of the Laurel Highlands.

This area is equipped with picnic tables, charcoal grills, restrooms, and plenty of space for kids to run and play.

Hunting at Laurel Ridge State Park

The park permits hunting for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, grouse, and squirrel in designated areas within specific seasons.

To partake in this activity, hunters must have a valid Pennsylvania hunting license, and all hunting regulations set by the Pennsylvania Game Commission must be followed.

The park staff provides information on the designated hunting areas, safety guidelines, and the specific hunting seasons.

Winter Activities at Laurel Ridge State Park

When the snow arrives, Laurel Ridge State Park transforms into a winter playground, with opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling abounding.

The park’s extensive trail system provides many miles of groomed and ungroomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with varying difficulty levels. Visitors can bring their own equipment or rent equipment from local outfitters. The park’s snowmobile trails are also popular with winter enthusiasts, and a designated snowmobile parking lot is available for easy access to the trails.

In addition to these activities, the park also offers ice fishing at Laurel Hill Lake, which is stocked with trout and other fish species. Ice skating and ice hockey can also take place on it if the weather conditions and ice thickness are appropriate.

Pets

Laurel Ridge State Park welcomes pets to its trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas. However, visitors are reminded that pets must be leashed and under control at all times.

Owners are also responsible for cleaning up after their pets, so please bring bags to dispose of waste properly. Dogs are also not permitted in certain areas in the park, unless they are service animals.

For a full rundown of the park’s pet policy it is worth getting in touch with the staff at the main office.

Camping

Unfortunately there are no camping facilities available at the park.

However, within easy driving distance of it there are several campgrounds you can use as a base for exploring it.

These include the Laurel Highlands Camplands LLC, the Laurel Hill State Park Camp Ground and the Lost Mountain Campground.

Between them they offer a range of campsites for RVs and tents, many of which are pull-through sites. These sites range from those that have full connections for water, electricity and sewer to those which are primitive and require you to pack in and pack out everything you need.

Depending on where you stay amenities may include flush toilets, hot showers, a dump station, children’s playground and a concession store.

Park Location

Laurel Ridge State Park
Rockwood, PA 15557
Phone: 724.455.3744

Park Website

Map