Ohiopyle is kind of in the middle of nowhere when you look at it on a map. But, and this is huge, it is a watersports paradise for adventure junkies, from kayaks to big rubber boats running the rapids. And then there is the Great Allegany Passage (GAP) from Pittsburgh to Washington, full of bikers of all levels. When I drove through on a Sunday, the town was wall-to-wall people and traffic. Never would I imagine this peaceful sight from my first experience of the place!
One day later, the town was deserted when I drove in from the campsite. Like really empty. I found a parking place right on the main drag and walked across the GAP bridge over the river without meeting another soul. From there, I had a lovely hike around the Ferncliff Peninsula that is surrounded on three sides by the Youghiogheny River. Again, few people out and the trail was mostly a solitude experience in forest bathing.
At one point, the ferns captivated me, growing as far as the eye could see. There’s something about a forest full of ferns that just makes me want to take all the pictures I can of it.
On the western side of the peninsula are the rapids where kayakers and rafters take their chances. I stood off to the side watching them shoot through narrow passages between huge boulders and realized I would never, ever want to do that.
The big draw on the peninsula is this view of the Ohiopyle Falls. It did require patience in scrambling across muddy bits and boulders but it was worth it. I had a rock ledge all to myself to enjoy the grandeur and the sound of the waterfall. If you look closely at the top left, you can see a viewing platform. Yes, you *can* park on Main Street and just walk to that as a way to see the falls. But, you wouldn’t get the experience of hiking down the riverside and you definitely wouldn’t be alone when admiring the view.
The other reason to go to Ohiopyle is that it’s a 15-20 minute drive to Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house and it’s five minutes to Kentuck Knob, the “other” FLW house in the area. For architecture fans like me, having two such beautiful places to visit so close to each other was irresistable. The waterfalls and the hiking were a close second, though.
OHIOPYLE STATE PARK (PA STATE PARKS)
- Several small loops, some with power, some without. One pet loop, so pay attention when reserving if you travel with pets. Reserve at Pennsylvania State Parks.
- Services: electric only, 30 amp, 30/50 amp, dry. Potable water only at the dump station or at water fountains at bath houses. Each loop has a bath house with showers.
- Decent Verizon and ATT, no T-Mobile.
- Groceries: Nothing very close, so stock up before you come. Gas is a 20-minute drive south, so plan accordingly.
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.