Laurel Hill State Park Trails

Looking to explore the trails of Laurel Hill State Park? Keep for my guide to the great hikes in this amazing state park!

Laurel Hill Creek at Laurel Hill State Park is beautiful in winter!

Laurel Hill State Park, an over 4000-acre state park located in the Laurel Highlands region of western Pennsylvania, is an amazing park for hikers. The park has 15 miles of trails that cross through the park’s vast forested area. Laurel Hill is located on the edge of Forbes State Forest, making it a great jumping off point for other adventures in the region.

Read on for more information on hiking trails in Laurel Hill State Park!

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.

Trails in Laurel Hill State Park

Laurel Hill State Park has a ton of different trails to offer hikers of all abilities and skill. The hikes cover the park’s vast highlights from the majestic Hemlock Grove, to views of the Laurel Hill Lake, to the manmade but scenic Jones Mill Run Dam. This park is an amazing place to visit.

Below I’ve listed out the trails of Laurel Hill State park, with information about each trail’s description, distance, and difficulty.

Hemlock Trail

Length: 1.6 miles

DIfficulty: Moderate – elevation gain and sheer cliffs

Description: Don’t let the length fool you – this hike packs some elevation gain into a short amount of mileage. However, the hemlock grove is incredible and absolutely worth a visit. I really liked this hike in winter but it’s beautiful all year round.

After a hill climb, hikers are rewarded with the Hemlock Natural Area

Insider Tip: Like the video says, save this hike for stick season when you REALLY miss seeing greenery. The evergreen hemlocks are amazing, especially when covered with a light sprinkling of snow. However, if there is too much snow (anything over an inch) and the uneven ground is hard to navigate!

Looking for more great hikes in the Laurel Highlands area? Check out my guide to the Best Hikes in the Laurel Highlands!

Pumphouse Track Loop

Length: 5.3 Miles (AllTrails Map)

Difficulty: Moderate

Hike Description: This awesome hike in Laurel Hill shows off all the sites of one of the largest parks in the Laurel Highlands. It is great to visit in the summer (but will likely be crowded) or fall when the foliage is popping. I visited in winter and we had it all to ourselves! This loop combines multiple park trails, so I’d recommend downloading the AllTrails map linked above or stopping by the park office to get a map.

Insider Tip: Jones Mill Dam, created by the Civilian Conservation Corp, is one of the highlights of this trail so I recommend doing the loop counterclockwise from the parking lot. This way you hit the dam on the back half of your hike!

Jones Mill Run Dam in winter 2022, my husband for scale

Copper Kettle Trail

Length: 1.25 miles (2.5 miles out and back)

Difficulty: Easy

Description: This flat trail takes visitors along the Laurel Hill Lake to the beach area. This is a bike friendly trail that would also be good for visitors with strollers. Visitors can park at the trailhead closest to the park entrance and then walk along the lake to connect with the Hemlock Trail to visit the Hemlock Grove or connect with the Lake Trail for a full loop around the lake.

Insider Tip: This trail is my go-to when visiting Laurel Hill when snow is over an inch, as it’s easy to navigate in deeper snow.

Views of the Laurel Hill Lake from Copper Kettle trail in Feb 2024
Looking to visit more state parks in the Laurel Highlands? Check out my guides to these Laurel Highlands parks below!
- Kooser
- Ohiopyle
- Laurel Ridge
- Linn Run

Lake Trail

Length: 1.75 miles point to point

Difficulty: Moderate – steep elevation gain, with exposed roots and a narrow path

Description: This trail is a great one for getting a taste of why the park is called Laurel HILL. The Lake Trail loops around the east side of the lake on a single-track trail that packs a decent elevation gain into not a lot of miles. Hikers will get nice views of the lake in the winter. Connect this trail with the Copper Kettle Trail for a full approximately three-mile loop around the lake.

Insider Tip: Keep an eye on weather conditions when hiking this trail – any sort of precipitation will make the trail very slippery and potentially not a good choice.

Six inches of snow is too deep to attempt the Lake Trail, as I learned the hard way in Feb 2024

Scenic View at Laurel Hill

Length: 0.4 miles out and back

Difficulty: Easy

Description: In my opinion, the scenic view at Laurel Hill is one of the best views in Pennsylvania. This short hike leads to an overlook tower that has sweeping views of the surrounding highlands. This is a great hike for families as the tower is great for games of pretend for the kids and offers wonderful views for adults. According to the Laurel Hill DCNR map, the parking for the overlook is located at the following GPS coordinates: 39.97710, -79.237959

Insider Tip: This viewpoint has a separate parking area that feels like it’s outside of the park. It can be crowded on nice weekend days, so go early if you want the view to yourself!

Laurel Hill Overlook on a bluebird day in winter 2023

Laurel Hill is a great park to visit for hiking! The park has trails for visitors of all abilities. Which trail are you adding to your bucket list first? Let me know in the comments!

Updated February 22, 2024

Leave a Comment