THE BOROUGH OF OHIOPYLE
In the middle of the state parks sits the small, charming town of Ohiopyle. Here, you can grab a bite to eat, snag an ice cream cone, enjoy a cold brewski, buy a souvenir, tour the Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center, play a round of mini golf, try zip lining, rent bikes and rafts from outfitters and more. A stroll through the town is just as exciting as the outdoor adventure beyond!
Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water (A World Heritage Site)
Perched above a mountain cataract on a rocky hillside deep in the rugged forest of Southwestern Pennsylvania, some 5 minutes from Ohiopyle, is America’s most famous house. The commission for Fallingwater was a personal milestone for the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, since it clearly marked a turning point in his career. After this late-career triumph, the sixty-seven year old would go on to create a series of highly original designs that would validate his claim as “The world’s greatest architect.”
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S KENTUCK KNOB
In 1953, Bernardine and I.N. Hagan purchased eighty acres in the mountains above Uniontown in Western Pennsylvania where their families had lived for generations. After falling in love with the home of their friends the Kaufmanns, Fallingwater, they telephoned Frank Lloyd Wright and asked if he would design a house for them. His answer was: “Of course. Come on out.”
At eighty-six, and hard at work on the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and about twelve residential homes, Wright said he could “shake it (Kentuck Knob) out of his sleeve at will” never even setting foot on the site, except for a short visit during the construction phase. This would be one of the last homes completed by Wright.
As summer thrives at Ohiopyle State Park, Ferncliff Peninsula, a 100-acre botanical reserve comes to life with lush vegetation and its own ecosystem. Since it is surrounded by water, the peninsula is home to flora that you will not see anywhere else in the region. Four trails wind through the natural area, with the Ferncliff Trail circling the peninsula and offering excellent views of the Ohiopyle Falls and whitewater rapids of the Youghiogheny River.
One of the most photographed waterfalls in Pennsylvania, Cucumber Falls is a 30-foot bridal veil waterfall that is a must-see during your visit to Ohiopyle. The waterfall is an easily accessible landmark. Park at the Cucumber Falls trailhead located off Chalk Hill Road and you will find steps leading you from the parking lot to a lookout spot, where you get a great view of the falls without a hike. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can trek further to ground level, get up close to the waterfall and even walk behind it. This is a great spot for photo opportunities and a picnic.
BAUGHMAN ROCK OVERLOOK
Baughman Rock Overlook offers one of the most jaw-dropping panoramic vistas of the Youghiogheny River Gorge, and the view doesn't require a hike! Take a short drive from Main Street in Ohiopyle to the parking area, just a few yards from the rocky overlook. Or you can choose to hike the steep, difficult mile-and-a-half trail if you're looking for an adventure!
In the heart of Ohiopyle, the Ohiopyle Falls stretches the width of the Youghiogheny River. Admire the power of the 20-foot drop and be sure to read some of the interpretive signage about the history of whitewater and the falls, including the story of George Washington’s run-in with the river.
Cool off and have a blast in Ohiopyle's natural water park, Meadow Run. Sit in the creek bed and ride the water down the natural waterslides. While Meadow Run is widely known for the waterslides, be sure to continue hiking upstream! You will find areas for rock climbing, extraordinary rock outcroppings, and Flat Rock, a great place to picnic with your feet in the river. Another secret stop is the Cascades, a large waterfall with multiple ledges that you can directly hike to.