Jonathan Run Falls

Looking for an amazing waterfall hike in the Laurel Highlands? Check out Jonathan Run Falls trail in Ohiopyle!

Upper Jonathan Run Falls on a warm day in Feb 2022

If you’re visiting Ohiopyle, the first waterfalls people always recommend are Cucumber Falls or Ohiopyle Falls (which definitely are worth a visit too!). However, Jonathan Run Falls is a lesser known waterfall that is absolutely worth adding to any Ohiopyle State Park visit!

Read on to learn more about the Jonathan Run Falls!

As always, follow the principles of leave no trace when you're out exploring! Pack out all trash, leave wildlife alone, and generally leave it better than you found it - for more information visit the Leave No Trace Center.

Visiting Jonathan Run Falls

Jonathan Run Falls is a scenic waterfall trail located in Ohiopyle State Park in western Pennsylvania. The round trip hike to Jonathan Run Falls is ~3.6 miles, depending on what side trips you add on. I would budget around two to three hours for this trip, as the hiking can be challenging (and you’ll want to spend some time at each waterfall!)

There are three waterfalls on this trail – Fetcher Run Falls, Upper Jonathan Run Falls, and Lower Jonathan Run Falls. The waterfalls are easier to see in the winter when the leaves are off the trees. However, fall foliage is absolutely insane in Ohiopyle and is probably the best time to visit the park.

Despite the hike’s relatively short mileage, this is not a hike for beginners. There is a decent amount of elevation and scrambling to reach each waterfall. This trail can be very muddy during certain times of year. Wear proper footwear and be aware of trail conditions. If there has been a ton of rain, consider another trail such as Meadow Run or Ferncliff to hike on more durable surfaces and limit trail erosion.  

Looking for more great hikes in Ohiopyle? Check out my guide to Best Hikes in Ohiopyle!

Fetcher Run Falls

The first hike of the trail is Fetcher Run Falls. This waterfall is a two-tiered beauty that is incredible after a good rain. To reach this waterfall, take the fork labelled Sugar Run Falls. After the first footbridge, there is a small trail on the right that looked like it led to the waterfall.

Despite AllTrails saying that there is a trail to the falls, we struggled to find a maintained trail beyond the first ten feet. It could be that the trail has just not been cleared since the fall but we reached a point where we could not tell where a trail could have been and had to turn around. (It could also be a user created trail, which we do not condone).

Love waterfall hikes? Check out the best waterfalls close to Pittsburgh!

Upper Jonathan Run Falls

Upper Jonathan Run Falls is the second great waterfall on this hike! To visit the falls, you’ll have to take some less maintained trails off of the main trail. These paths are well worn, but are steep and require some careful maneuvering to stay upright. Remember, if it’s muddy, please assess your abilities and trail conditions carefully!

This waterfall is multi-tiered and is amazing. Because of its more secluded nature, I recommend visiting this one in the winter when you can see the falls without the leaves blocking your view.

These falls are not labelled on the park trail map, however, they are pretty loud and are not that difficult to spot.

Upper Falls, December 2023

Lower Jonathan Run Falls

This is the best waterfall of the whole hike. These falls are amazing, especially after a strong rain. They are hard to see from the trail, however, easier to see when the trees have lost their leaves.

To see the final waterfall, hikers must repel down a cliffside via a permanent rope. When the trail is muddy, icy, or if you have small children use extreme caution in deciding to head down to the final falls. If you have any doubt about your abilities – do not descend! Both times I’ve visited, I have chosen not to make this trek – the first time it was very muddy and the second time I had my dog with me.

View of the Falls from the trail (behind me)
Love the Laurel Highlands? Check out my roundup of the best hikes in the Laurel Highlands!

If you’d like to extend your hike after seeing the lower falls, continue 0.2 miles along the trail until it intersects with the GAP (Great Allegheny Passage) trail.

Directions to Jonathan Run Falls Trailhead Parking

To get to the Falls from the Ohiopyle visitor center, turn right out of the parking lot towards the natural waterslides. Instead of turning right into the Meadow Run Parking Lot, turn right onto Ohiopyle Road, which turns into Holland Hill Road. Follow the road until you see a sign on your right for the Jonathan Run Falls Trailhead.

Coordinates for the parking lot are 39.891847, -79.507867.

Local tip: This parking lot is very small so if you’re visiting in busy season, get there early! Parking on the road is not allowed. However, this trail is usually one of the less crowded hikes in Ohiopyle as visitors will normally stick to Meadow Run or Ferncliff.

Enjoy your visit to one of my favorite waterfalls in Western Pennsylvania!

Updated February 27, 2024

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