OHIOPYLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County attracts more than one million visitors each year.
“Ohiopyle is actually the largest state park in Pennsylvania land acreage-wise. It is 20,500 acres, which is about 32 square miles,” park operations manager Kenneth Bisbee said. “This is also one of the deepest gorges in Pennsylvania, so it creates spectacular waterfalls and views.”
One of the great views is Ohiopyle Falls, which can be found on the Youghiogheny River. The river runs through the center of the park.
“The name of the river is derived from an old Indian term which means ‘river that runs in a contrary direction.’ The Youghiogheny River flows from Maryland north, which is a unique thing,” Bisbee said.
Cucumber Falls is another favorite spot and can be found on Cucumber Run, a tributary to the Youghiogheny River. Cucumber Falls is a short walk from the visitor center and is unique in that visitors can walk behind the waterfall.
“Cucumber Falls is one of the most photographed spots in the park,” assistant park manager Ben Monk said.
The park also features natural waterslides in Meadow Run. Depending on the water level, the slides can be a fast ride or a slow glide.
The park has 300 miles of trails. Some offer great views, like Baughman Trail. The hike is difficult but has a great overlook of the gorge at Baughman Rock.
Ohiopyle is also a favorite of bike enthusiasts. The Great Allegheny Passage has 27 miles of trail in the park and connects Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Maryland.
“In Cumberland, Maryland, it ties on with the C&O Canal Trail run by the National Park Service, so you can get all the way to Washington, D.C.,” Bisbee said.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, you can go whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny River.
“This is where whitewater rafting was founded on the East Coast of the United States,” said Joel Means, president and CEO of Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours.
The Ohiopyle Trading Post takes thousands of people down the Youghiogheny River every year.
“We run three different sections of the Youghiogheny; the upper, the middle, and the lower,” Means said. “The upper is a Class 5 section that is actually south of us in Maryland. In Pennsylvania, we run the middle Youghiogheny which is a nine-mile flat float scenic section and the lower Youghiogheny which is Class 3 intermediate whitewater section.”
The Ohiopyle Trading Post provides all of the equipment and safety training. You just have to show up and be ready to paddle.
“It makes for an exciting fun day, ideal for families,” said Means.
Adventure PA Checklist
Ohiopyle is 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh off State Route 381; about a three-hour drive from Harrisburg.
Rustic camping, cottages, and yurts with electricity
Modern bathhouses are available
The park does not have full hookups for RVs, but there are nearby campgrounds that do.
All day-use areas and parking are free.
Camping rates are very reasonable.
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Ohiopyle State Park