Our next travel adventure in Pennsylvania, while in New Stanton, took us to Ohiopyle State Park. When Bill was a senior in High School, some friends asked him one day if he wanted to skip school and go to the rapids to ride a raft. He was always game to skip school – so off they went – with a rubber raft. A cheap rubber raft. I’ve heard this story for years – how he almost drowned! Now I get to see where he almost met his waterloo. Here he is looking at the place they jumped in with their rubber raft:
Do you think we liked it here? You betcha! There are so many trails, we wanted to try them all! Click here to see a list of the trails – to take a longer hike, it was easy to link the trails. We had to return. So we came back two more times. It was about a 45 minute drive there, otherwise we would have went more. We did see several campgrounds close to this state park, but the roads were not big rig friendly in Bill’s opinion! We’d sure love to camp closer and spend more time here. We’ll just have to settle for the long drive (in our opinion).
After reviewing the above website with the list of trails, we settled on this one, knowing we had to see the Cucumber Falls:
Great Gorge Trail: 2.6 miles, more difficult hiking, green blazes. This trail begins at the Cucumber Picnic Area and crosses several bridges and roads. The trail follows Cucumber Run and passes an area known for its spring wildflowers. The next trail section follows an old tramway used to transport coal to the railroad. A spur of this trail leads up a steep incline to the Kentuck Campground.
Rather I should say, we attempted to hike the Great Gorge Trail to the Cucumber Falls. Unfortunately, the water was too high for us to cross over on the trail to complete the hike to the Falls. We made a good effort but it took us nearly an hour to realize we just couldn’t hike to the falls from this location. We hopped in the car and drove a few miles to this parking area and to see the Falls:
From here, we went on to finish hiking the Great Gorge Trail from the Falls.We knew it was somewhere near the falls. We crossed over this bridge and eventually found the sign, if you turn to the the right from here:
The trail was fabulous as it wound up to the top of the mountain. We never really “saw” the Great Gorge but we enjoyed the trail!
We were able to hike up to the campground so we could check it out – maybe camp in this park one day? That would be great, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to in our 40′ motor home. But we still checked it out. We didn’t take any pictures of it as we knew we wouldn’t stay here. Mainly because it was an electric only campground and the long winding road up to the top of the mountain was undesirable. This shows the route and the climb we took up:
After we completed this hike, Bill wanted to go see one more childhood memory on our way home: the Youghiogheny Dam or the official name, the Youghiogheny River Lake. We discovered there was another campground here, a US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) park. Click herefor details. Maybe we’d stay here one day?
We extended our stay for a few more days. Everyone kept asking where we were going next – but Bill hadn’t figured it out yet! It really takes him time to make our itinerary. There were just so many options. He needed to plan our next stops with an exit strategy in mind – back to Virginia by the end of June. Since we didn’t know where we were going, we decided to go back to Ohiopyle one more time.
When we came back, we again parked in the same place from our previous hike. We looked at the options and it looked like the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail would be our best option. We had to cross the street and look for the trail head. The signage wasn’t the best, but Bill followed his gut instinct and got us to the trail head – it turned out to be well over a mile there. And up we went to see what, we didn’t know!
Where to next? Bill finally narrowed our next two weeks down. He gave me the options and asked me to make the final decision. Now I had to do some research. He just couldn’t decide which way to go.
We started in the Pennsylvania Dutch – Amish Country Region. Then we were in the lower Allegheny Mountains and Valleys Region. And here we are in our third Region, Pittsburgh – Laurel Highlands Region. Bill had hopes of making it to the Great Lakes and Erie Region and to the Pennsylvania Wilds. But looking at the typography, it wasn’t looking like this summer we would see it all. But Bill learned the state roads are sufficient for him to drive the motor home. We’ve really enjoyed what we have seen so far, but little do we suspect how much more we are going to like it! Stay tuned for where we spent our two final weeks in Pennsylvania.
In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. Psalm 95:4