Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail - Ohiopyle to mile marker 4.5
TRAIL DISTANCE - 9 miles
TYPE - Day Hike
This was our first footsteps on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, and it won't be our last. We definitely will hike the entire trail one day, hopefully as a thru hike. This is a 70 mile long trail that runs along Laurel Ridge between Ohiopyle and Seward in southwestern Pennsylvania. We decided the section that we would do today was to park at Ohiopyle and hike for a while and turn around and make the return trek back to our car. This is supposedly the tougher section of trail so we weren't sure how far we would hike today, we were just playing it by ear.
There are a few interesting things to know
about this trail. First off, there are mileage
markers all along the way. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't carry
a map, but it is nice to know that you always know exactly where you are
on the trail. And if you do get lost, be prepared to possibly have to
pay to be rescued. It says the following on the kiosk
at the trailhead (in bold red colors)
"Using cell phones to
place calls for assistance by park personnel is for emergencies only.
Non-emergency rescues will result in a fee being charged."
We were excited to get on the trail this chilly December morning. There was a little bit of snow on the ground as we reached higher elevation and most of the wooden bridges were very slick covered with snow and ice. Although it was quite cold, it didn't take us too long to strip a layer of clothing off because of the climbing. There is an overlook about 2.5 miles into the hike. It was nice but it would have been better had there not been early morning fog engulfing the area.
We were hoping to reach the Ohiopyle Shelters before turning around, which are located 6.3 miles from the Ohiopyle trailhead. We wanted to see what the living conditions would be like for when we finally spend the night in the woods on this trail. But after 4.5 miles, we decided it was time to turn around and head back. We were both getting a little tired and knew that we still had to hike back. The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a very busy trail, yet we only saw one other hiker. I would imagine this hike in October Leaf Peeping Season would not have the same result.
This is a very nice yet somewhat difficult
trail. We look forward to seeing more of it someday, hopefully soon.