Five Must Visit Waterfalls in Ohiopyle State Park
As the popular TLC lyric goes, “don’t go chasing waterfalls.” Well no offense TLC, but we’re going to have to disagree with you. Hiking offers many benefits such as being a fun way to exercise, an escape from the rest of the world, an opportunity to see wildlife, the list goes on. However, one of the absolute best things about hiking is taking in the breathtaking view of a waterfall! At Ohiopyle, you are sure to see some of these gorgeous views no matter your hiking skill level. We have rounded up our top 5 favorite waterfalls to include in your next hike.
1. Cucumber Falls
If you’ve ever heard about a waterfall at Ohiopyle, it was likely this one. Cucumber Falls is by far the most popular waterfall in the Ohiopyle area. This singular waterfall towers over those below at 30 feet high.
There are two ways to view this waterfall, one from above at a distance and one from right beneath. If you aren’t in the mood for too strenuous of an adventure, but still want to soak in the views, park in the lot nearby Cucumber Falls and it will only be about a 2-minute walk to the higher viewpoint. Just follow the signs and you will be led to the correct destination. From the higher viewpoint, there will be many steps that take you down to the viewpoint at the bottom. In this area, you can dip your toes in the water and take in the views no matter what time of year!
If you’re more of the adventurous type, hike to Cucumber Falls from the Great Gorge Trail. This is an easy to moderate hike depending on the weather conditions, but for the most part, the trail flattens out after you reach Cucumber Falls. The trail is approximately 5 miles long.
2. Ohiopyle Falls
As you may have guessed, this waterfall is quite well-known as it has the same name as the state park. These waterfalls span the width of the Youghiogheny River. While they are wide falls, they still have a 20-foot drop where the river flows over. You can access Ohiopyle Falls from the Ferncliff Trail. Parking is available in the lot at the start of Ferncliff along the Youghiogheny River.
Similar to Cucumber Falls, there are a few vantage points to take in the views of the falls. For some simple views that are accessible to all, visit the Laurel Highlands Visitor Center. This is great for those who aren’t able to walk the trails or those who want to stay guarded against the elements. If you want to get up close and personal with the falls, head down the Ferncliff trail for a little less than a half-mile. You will be placed right at the picturesque rocks for views, pics, or fishing. This hike is only 2 miles and is an easy difficulty.
3. Ohiopyle Falls
The Meadow Run Cascades is formed by, as you may have guessed, Meadow Run, a stream that flows through Ohiopyle State Park. The waterfall is actually a series of smaller cascades and pools that stretch for about a quarter of a mile along the stream. The water flows over a series of rocks and boulders, creating a mesmerizing sight that is both calming and exhilarating.
To access the Meadow Run Cascades, visitors can take the Meadow Run Trail, which is a moderate 1.5-mile hike that takes about an hour to complete. The trail is well-marked and takes you through a beautiful forested area, with stunning views of Ohiopyle and the surrounding mountains. Along the way, you'll encounter a variety of wildlife and native plants, such as the mountain laurel and trillium.
Once you reach the Meadow Run Cascades, you can take in the beauty of the falls from a number of different viewpoints. There are several rock overlooks that provide stunning views of the waterfall, as well as a few small pools where you can wade in the cool, refreshing water. Eventually, the water will make its way to the Youghiogheny River.
4. Jonathan Run Falls
Jonathan Run Falls is similar to Cascade Falls because it also has 2 separate falls, Upper Jonathan Falls and Lower Jonathan Falls. These falls aren’t as easy to access as Ohiopyle Falls or Cucumber Falls, but are equally as stunning if you’re up for the adventure! Follow the signs to park in the Jonathan Run Falls lot off of Holland Hill Road. You will hike Jonathan Run Trail for almost 1.5 miles (be sure to take the forks that lead towards Jonathan Run Falls) to reach the waterfalls.
You will first reach Upper Jonathan Falls, which is the easiest to reach of the two tiers. Lower Jonathan Falls is a bit of a challenge. You will return to the main trail and head about .25 miles further down. There isn’t an official trail that leads down to the lower end, however, hikers have made a makeshift path to reach it. Depending on the weather, the ground can be muddy/slippery and you will need to use extra caution. This waterfall is perfect for multiple photo ops because you get two waterfalls in one short hike!
5. Sugar Run Falls
Sugar Run Falls is a beautiful sight year-round. This waterfall is what a lot of people imagine when they think of the picturesque natural waterfall. This fall is accessed by hiking a section of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) / Mitchell Field Trail.
You will park at the same lot as you would for Jonathan Run Falls and follow the Jonathan Run Trail approximately 1.75 miles down, go past the Lower Jonathan Run Falls, and keep your eyes open for the fork in the road with the option to head on the GAP. You will hang a left on the GAP and less than a quarter-mile later, you will begin to spot Sugar Run Falls. Depending on the time of year and the tree/plant growth you can grab a nice view from here. For a more up close and personal view of this waterfall, head down Mitchell Field Trail to the base of the falls.
Save this post for reference when heading on your waterfall hike! It has all of the information you need to locate these stunning falls.