Ohiopyle State Park
✍️ • 🕑 • Series: Attractions of Pennsylvania • Tags: rivers • rapids • waterfalls • Western Pennsylvania • Places: Ohiopyle State Park
I'm really behind the eight ball in getting my "Attractions of Pennsylvania" written up about, but hopefully you enjoy this one from November of last year!
A few years ago, a close friend invited me to dinner at his parents' house, in suburbs east of Pittsburgh. We floated a few ideas for different activities near the area, including a visit to Ohiopyle, but due to time constraints and other reasons, just ended up hanging out at the Greensburg Mall.
Sans automobile, I didn't have an easy way to go to Ohiopyle myself, and so I never went.
A few years later, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I made arrangements to meet another friend in Ohiopyle, back in November. I drove five minutes away from Fallingwater, pulled into the visitor's center parking lot, and was immediately blown away.
And, also, I was quite miffed that it had taken me so many years to visit this amazing place.
Believe me, the mall cannot compare.
Ohiopyle State Park is situated in the Youghiogheny River Gorge. It offers opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, rafting, hunting, fishing, and so on. The eponymous borough is packed to the gills with infrastructure for visitors, such as family-friendly campgrounds (including ones with Yogi Bear marketeering), old-timey kitchy-kitch general stores with ice cream, and souvenirs.
With all of these amenities and more, Ohiopyle is quite a popular place. Throughout the pandemic, it has been towards the top of the most-accessed Pennsylvania State Park websites, and there have been specific advisories given for prospective visitors to consider visiting a different recreation area due to the dangerous level of crowdedness.
My friend and I visited on an unseasonably warm Friday in November, which cut down considerably on the crowd, though there were still plenty of folks out hiking, fishing, biking, and rafting.
With just a few hours to visit Ohiopyle, and a long drive home ahead of myself, it was almost overwhelming how many opportunities there were to see and do things. Having gotten the lay of the land, I would really like to spend more time in the area, and do more dedicated camping and hiking.
Among its most accessible and beautiful sights are the 20ft high Ohiopyle Falls, which can be viewed from right near the Visitor Center.
Some kayakers were enjoying paddling at their base.
Off of Meadow Run, there are "natural water slides" -- ridges and potholes that formed in the rock after years of being subject to the harsh pressures of rapidly moving water.
Visitors are actually permitted to swim / slide around here, but unsurprisingly no one was going for a dip on this November day.
Near where Meadow Run joins the Youghiogheny, there is also a nice scenic area with lots of accessible shoreline & fishermen.
Ferncliff & Town
There is a lot more of the park to see than what I have seen.
I'll be waiting for the next warm November Friday to return!
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