Bikers Guide to the Laurel Highlands

The Laurel Highlands, home to Pennsylvania’s highest point and deepest gorge, features diverse terrain that cyclists of all types will enjoy. Home to eight state parks, two state forests, and five national park sites, this region is a recreation mecca. From bike packing trips to a downhill course built for speed, miles of roads and trails will keep you entertained for days.

Head to Ohiopyle State Park for a variety of singletrack, cross country, and rugged mountain biking trails. Beginners and experts alike will have fun playing on the big climbs and downhills while taking in the stunning landscape. Take a short hike to visit Ohiopyle and Cucumber Falls, boulder at one of the several climbing areas hop on the natural waterslides in Meadow Run, and run the Youghiogheny River with a whitewater rafting or float trip.

Technical riders will appreciate Laurel Mountain’s extensive trail network and unique rock garden features. Connect with miles of gravel roads through Forbes State Forest to make the most out of your day in the saddle. Choose from several routes varying in length for great views, swimming holes, and blooming mountain laurel in June.

Check out the recently opened, machine-built Quenahoning Trails which offers flowy single-track rides around a mountain reservoir. Pedal the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile rail trail for multiple days of riding through the countryside. Connect with other trails, like the C&O Canal Towpath, to extend your ride from the Laurel Highlands to Washington, D.C.

Stop by Seven Springs Mountain Resort for the only downhill rated course in the region. Test your skills on black diamonds, rock gardens, table tops, and everything in between. Two high-speed chair lifts will take you back to the top to do it all over again. Rent a bike and protective gear or take a lesson to get started on the trails.

While in town, the folks at Wilderness Voyageurs can hook you up with rentals, maintenance services, and shuttles for a full day of riding in Ohiopyle. At Route 31 Bike, Board, and Ski, you’ll find the top brands the industry has to offer. Confluence Cyclery and West Newton Bicycle Shop are conveniently located along the Great Allegheny Passage for riders in need of repairs, rentals, or parts. Demo a bike or join a group ride with Flat Tire Co.

Stay Awhile

Round out your trip to Laurel Highlands with a mixture of outdoor adventures, culture, food, and drinks.

Standup paddle board on Laurel Hill Lake or Youghiogheny Lake. If you’re looking for a long-distance excursion, hike 70 miles on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail that runs along the ridge.

Cool off at Idlewild & SoakZone, named the “Best Children’s Park” in the world, featuring classic amusement park rides and a giant outdoor waterpark. Spend all day ziplining, horseback riding, and swimming at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

The area is home to five national park sites, including the Flight 93 National Memorial and Fort Necessity National Battlefield, and four Frank Lloyd Wright houses, including Fallingwater which was recently named an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After a long day of playing, fuel up with food and drinks at one of the many hot spots in the area. Falls City Pub and Restaurant is the place to go in Ohiopyle State Park, featuring an extensive beer menu and live music. Hop off the Great Allegheny Passage for a drink, or two, from Bloom Brew. If you’re riding in the state forest, take your pick of libations from Helltown Brewing, Christian W. Klay Winery, and Ridge Runner Distillery.

There’s always something to do when you visit Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Places to Go, Things to See: