corgi playing in the water

The highlight of our trip to Pennsylvania was our day of hiking and exploring the local town in Ohiopyle State Park.  With over 20,000 acres of land, a large variety of habitats from rapids, to streams to mountains to meadows, there is a lot to see and explore here.  We narrowed our exploring to a very small section of the park around the quaint town of Ohiopyle.  A beautiful town with a local park, shops to explore and ice cream you must stop and try.  Here are some of the highlights of visiting Ohiopyle State Park.

Where do you park?: We drove to town and despite the popularity of the town there is a decent amount of parking available (always best to get there a bit early just in case).  Parking is available in town off 381.  There is also parking in a gravel parking lot labeled “Backpacking Trailhead” and “Overnight Parking” on the Ohiopyle State Park map.  This is where we parked.  Link available here (be sure to look at the enlargement at the bottom left of the image):

What hike did we do?: We hiked in the Ferncliff Natural Area (see the map above and the enlargement).  This area is almost entirely surrounded by the Youghiogheny River, a hot spot for white water rafting and overall stunning scenery.  The hike we did was the Ferncliff Trail.

From Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources:

Ferncliff Peninsula Trails, All trails have black blazes.  Ferncliff Trail: 1.7 miles, easiest hiking

All other Ferncliff Peninsula trails branch off of this loop trail which circles the peninsula. The trailhead is near the Ferncliff Parking Lot. (we parked in the Backpacking Trailhead gravel parking lot off of 381).

Descriptions of other hikes:

*Sylvie on the rock outcroppings where we ate our lunch*

Is there water access?  Yes!!  Use extreme caution when approaching rivers and wading into water.  It can be misleading how deep water is and how fast it is moving in rivers.  Rivers that are known for their white water rafting should be an initial indicator this river can have fast moving water.

We accessed the water in a safe place but no swimming is allowed (that we could see).  There is a buoy line near the “Low Bridge” and we did see people in the water near the shore by the bridge.  This doesn’t mean that swimming is permitted.  There are some shallow pools where the water splits off from the main rapids that you can walk down to.  The trail actually takes you along the rocks near these pools (there are many access points) so it’s a perfect place to let your dog take a dip.  Above the buoy line, which likely marks the cut off from slow moving water to rapids (since rapids start right below it) is shallow water along the shore and slow moving, great for corgi wading!

*Sylvie eating water that dad is splashing at her*

Mosquitoes and ticks?: We didn’t encounter too many mosquitoes (since there aren’t many spots of standing water) and we also didn’t find any ticks on us (always a good sign).  Sylvie is up to date on all of her shots and is on heartworm prevention and flea, tick and mosquito prevention.

Spots to stop along the hike:  There are some nice vantage points along the eastern side of the Ferncliff Trail where you can sit on some safe rock outcroppings (they’re far back from where the cliff falls off) and watch, through the trees, the rafters going by.  There is a viewpoint off of the Buffalo Nut Trail on the southeast corner of the Ferncliff Natural Area.  Be sure to spend some time along the river’s edge at safe access points and explore the rocks.

*One of the views along the Ferncliff Trail.  Notice all the people across the river?  That is the park near the town*

Visiting the town of Ohiopyle:  We didn’t spend much time here but you can walk across the foot bridge (see the dotted red line over the “Low Bridge” on the map).  There is a yummy ice cream shop and a convenience store.  Sylvie was happy to get few licks of berry ice cream.  The park looked nice, a lot of green grass, but a bit pretty busy.  Here’s a website to explore more of the fun activities and restaurants in Ohiopyle:

*The trail walks right next to these rocks so it’s a great place to stop*

Sylvie’s hiking review? A solid 5/5 paws! 

Keep your dogs on a leash (it’s a state park and you should anyway), bring poop backs (there is a dumpster in the parking lot) and have your pet updated on their heartworm and tick treatment is a good idea.  Have fun friends!

If you missed it, be sure to check out parts 1 and 2 of Sylvie goes camping in the blog link found here: