Last Updated on September 25, 2020 by Jeremy
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Ohiopyle is a 19,000 acre state park located in southwestern Pennsylvania, about an hour and a half south of Pittsburgh.
It is often considered to be one of the star attractions of the region as the park offers numerous hiking trails, historical landmarks, and so much more- making it impossible to see it all in any single visit.
During a recent trip we tried the hike from Cucumber Falls to the Cascade Falls and quickly found out why it is one of the best trails to experience in the park (and the perfect hike for a day trip from the city)!
What to See at Ohiopyle State Park
We have to be upfront in this article and reiterate that Ohiopyle State Park is huge. At nearly 20,000 acres it is one of the largest parks in southwestern Pennsylvania, and as such it is impossible to see it all in a single visit (or, if we’re being honest, get anywhere close to seeing it all).
The section of Ohiopyle State Park we visited was a three hour hike on one of the park's most popular treks, the ~4 mile round trip journey from Cucumber Falls to the Cascade Falls.
The trail begins at the 30 foot tall Cucumber Falls, passes down along the Youghiogheny River (where you can see rafters and kayakers in warmer months), along Meadow Run creek which includes natural water slides (best left to children if my scrapes and bruises count for anything), and ends at the aptly named Cascade Falls which have a much smaller drop but covers a longer run.
This hike is about as perfect as they come because the landscape changes progressively as the hike goes on, and every mile or so there is another highlight to see.
Most visitors to this section of the park will drive and park at each highlight (plus adding on Ohiopyle Falls as well), so you should expect a bit of a crowd at each (the cascades had the fewest by far, however).
Those who opt for the full hike are almost certain to be out alone in nature after just a few minutes walking away from the highlights- just as it should be.
Hiking at Ohiopyle State Park
For those looking to make the entire hike from Cucumber Falls to the cascades, we are happy to report that the trail is fairly straightforward.
If you arrive at Cucumber Falls follow the path down to the river with the small waterfall fed stream on your left. Once you reach the river you will find a path going off to your right with yellow blazes. These blazes are painted on many trees along the path, so it is pretty easy to follow them as you go.
From time to time we ended up getting off of the path and noted very quickly that we lost the yellow blazes and missed a turn. In these cases all we had to do was backtrack a few hundred feet to find where we deviated. This happened to a few other groups we saw as well, so you should make note of the blazes as you go as a precaution.
Once you pass the natural waterslides, the trip down to the cascades becomes a loop (rather than just a straight out and back), and both directions are again marked with the yellow blazes and periodic signage- making for an easy return trip.
Overall, Ohiopyle State Park is one of those places you will only begin scratching the surface of after several visits. This means that we have much more of the park to see and will be planning many return trips soon. But if you are looking for a good introduction to this beautiful state park, the hike from Cucumber Falls to Cascade Falls should be exactly what you seek.
Cucumber Falls inside Ohiopyle State Park is located about an hour and a half south of Pittsburgh. We visited Cucumber Falls in our quest to visit every hiking trail in 60 Miles in 60 Hikes: Pittsburgh. If you're looking for a good guidebook for some amazing local trails, we highly recommend it! Cucumber Falls is featured in the guidebook Waterfalls of Pennsylvania as well- one of over 180 in the state!
Looking for accommodations in the Laurel Highlands? Check out some great options on Airbnb!
Looking for more things to do once you're at Ohiopyle? Why not head over to Christian Klay Winery for a glass of wine or visit Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob for a great house tour. Or, if you have more time, make sure to take a white water rafting trip in the Laurel Highlands as well!