Guide to Laurel Ridge State Park

Looking to visit the beautiful Laurel Ridge State Park in Western Pennsylvania? Check out my guide below!

laurel highlands overlook
Overlook off the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Laurel Ridge
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.

About Laurel Ridge State Park

Laurel Ridge is 14,704-acres and spans from the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle to the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown. The park touches four PA counties: Cambria, Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland. Laurel Ridge is named for the ridge created over 250 million years ago.

Laurel Ridge State Park is most known for the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. This trail is the main feature of the park, however it does offer some other amenities!

Planning a day hike in the Laurel Highlands and not sure what to bring? Check out my post on the Ten Essentials for Day Hiking!

Park Amenities at Laurel Ridge

Hiking

The Laurel Highlands Hiking trail runs for 70 miles through the entire park. This is one of the main backpacking trails in Pennsylvania and is great for both beginners and more experienced overnight hikers. For my guide to the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail with suggested itineraries for everyone from beginners to hikers looking to complete the entire trail, click here!

LHHT is blazed yellow at frequent intervals
Trying to figure out what to pack for backpacking? Check out my list of Must Haves for Every Backpacking Trip or my Backpacking Clothing Guide!

Cross Country Skiing at Laurel Ridge State Park

Laurel Ridge is also a great place to visit in the winter. The parking lot off of 653 has a cross country ski concession that connects users to over 20 miles of cross country ski trails. The concession has a wood stove and bathrooms.

If you’re new to XC skiing, the park also offers very reasonably priced rentals. When I went in January 2023, the rentals were $20 for adults. A trail fee is required to assist with keeping the trails groomed ($15 for adults). If you’re local or plan to ski a lot, there is a season pass available for $175. For more about my cross country skiing experience at Laurel Ridge, check out my post on Cross Country Skiing in the Laurel Highlands!

xc ski, laurel ridge, winter xc ski
Cross Country skiing at Laurel Ridge

Other Activities at Laurel Ridge

The park also has snowmobile trails that connect with the snowmobile trails in Forbes State Forest. The snowmobile trails are open after deer hunting season in December.

The park is open for hunting during hunting season, so make sure to wear orange and stay safe if you’re hiking or skiing at that time!

Love Pennsylvania State Parks? Check out these my guide to all the Pennsylvania State Parks or skip to some of my favorites!
- Cook Forest State Park
- McConnell's Mill State Park
- Kinzua Bridge State Park

Frequently Asked Questions about Laurel Ridge

Where is Laurel Ridge State Park?

Laurel Ridge spans four different counties in Western Pennsylvania. It is located about ninety minutes south east of Pittsburgh, three and a half hours from DC, and less than three hours from Harrisburg. This makes it the perfect distance for a weekend backpacking trip from any of these cities!

Can you camp at Laurel Ridge State Park?

Yes, there is camping available at Laurel Ridge off of the Laurel Highlands Trail. All camping areas offer either tent camping or Adirondack style shelters. All campsites must be reserved in advance (and the rangers check!)

One of the shelters at Grindle Ridge
How do I reserve my campground?

Visit the PA State Parks Reserve America site to reserve your campsite in the park.

Where can I find a map of Hiking Trails at Laurel Ridge State Park?

Visit the PA DCNR website for the official recreation guide to Laurel Ridge, click here.

Can I rent cross country skis at Laurel Ridge?

Yes! The ski concession has rentals. Even if you own your own skis, you will need to pay the trail maintenance fee ($15 for adults and $10 for kids under 12).

Are dogs allowed at Laurel Ridge State Park?

Yes, dogs are allowed but must be on leash and controlled the entire time.

What other state parks are near Laurel Ridge?

Laurel Ridge is the northernmost park in a cluster of six located in western Pennsylvania. From north to south, Laurel Ridge is close to the following parks:

Additionally, the following parks are less than thirty miles from Laurel Ridge:

  • Yellow Creek
  • Blue Knob
  • Keystone
  • Ohiopyle
Traveling from Pittsburgh and looking for more state parks nearby? Check out my post on the Best State Parks Near Pittsburgh!

Updated January 11, 2023

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