Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail

HARD 34 reviews

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a 27.9 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Normalville, Pennsylvania that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and cross country skiing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
27.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
6269 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

hiking

trail running

cross country skiing

views

wildlife

snow

Directions from Rockwood, PA: Take SR 653 west approximately 8 - 10 miles to reach Laurel Ridge State Park. The trail actually covers five counties beginning in Ohiopyle State Park. There are access points all along the trail.

hiking
7 days ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked the whole 70 miles, started in ohiopyle. The first 7 miles were pretty tough, mile 6 to 7 in particular. Views were great. Then it was flat ground mainly till mile 21 which passed through some forest type settings. Everything after wasn't nearly as tough. I'd say only do the first 7 miles the first night, then you could tackle up to the shelter at 21 from there the next day. and take 2 or 3 more to hike the rest. Done in 5 days 4 nights. Great hike

hiking
2 months ago

Travelled from Route 653 to Grindle Ridge. I was fascinated by both great views, and the rock outcroppings in this particular six mile stretch. I'd note most of this stretch of trail was rather "level" and I'd rank that part moderate. Today, Michelle and I walked from Grindle Ridge to the Route 31 parking lot. There were several slopes to climb and "unclimb." We particularly liked the attractions like the lake at the top of Seven Springs, the views, and "surviving" the trip :).

2 months ago

Very enjoyable hike. We spent two nights on the trail. You get to see a little bit of everything - small streams with waterfalls, scenic views over the river and the laurels of course if you go in the Spring. Some strenuous parts mixed with nice flatter sections. I'd highly recommend going toward Ohiopyle rather than away from it because of elevation changes. The campsites with cabins make for great sleeping if you can snag one.

2 months ago

backpacking
3 months ago

best trail I have ever went on and has lots of sites

backpacking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

backpacking
5 months ago

6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

8 months ago

Challenging but worth the views!

backpacking
8 months ago

9 months ago

Did the 12 mile stretch from rt 271 to the rt 30 shelters then back the next morning. The best thing I can say about this section is you are totally off grid the entire hike. You just cross a few access roads and that's it. It's really beautiful. For me this was my longest hike so far and I have to say it was pretty tough. I would only pack what you need and yes bring enough water. The shelters are very nice and wood was available. Many thanks to the folks that maintain this great piece of land.

10 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

I hiked 28 miles of this trail from State Game Lands 111 to the parking area at Route 31. A map would tell you that this route would entail 21 miles, but the GPS don't lie. I hiked with my friend Chris and the first night we stayed at the Route 653 shelters. The second night was spent at Grindle Ridge shelter area. We began our hike on Friday, April 29 and finished on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

I would rate the overall experience as a FIVE STAR, but there were some disappointments along the way. My first bitch would have to be with the firewood situation at the shelters. When a place is promoted as having firewood available, one would expect firewood to be available. I based my assumption on my experiences at the shelters at Oil Creek State Park where there is ALWAYS firewood AND it is relatively dry. Not so on this hike. The firewood at both shelter sites was wet and had just been thrown in a heap. It had not been stacked to allow drying or given any protection from the elements. When I called at Laurel Hill State Park after the hike to voice my opinion on this, I was told, "Well..... it is the off season. We were busy we other stuff." I'm sorry, but if you have a time frame that is considered "off season", perhaps that information should be conveyed in your promotional material. Personally, I wouldn't consider late April/early May to be "off season" either.

Also, the shelter we had at the Grindle Ridge location had a major issue with the fireplace. It seemed upon inspection that the mortar joints in the chimney were deteriorated to the point that the stones in the fireplace were crushing the firebox. That, coupled with a breeze, was making for a situation where more smoke was being emitted into the shelter than what was going up the chimney. However, from my understanding from being on the trail's Facebook page, that issue was addressed over the summer. Be advised that the Grindle Ridge shelter area is 3/4 of a mile back a connector trail and their use will add 1.5 miles to your overall hike.

Other than the fact that I was fighting bronchitis and damn near died on a few climbs, the hike was beautiful. There is a vista at about Mile 21 that is a must see. It was pretty foggy/hazy when we were there but they say that on a clear day, you can see the skyline of the city of Pittsburgh, which is about 35 miles away.

I tried to get some good photos, but between huffing and puffing from being sick and the fact that it was so early in the spring, my pictures are somewhat drab in my opinion. I will post some of them to the gallery a little later.

hiking
11 months ago

I have done about 50 miles of the the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail and can't wait to go back in the fall. It's very beautiful but can get tough at times. I averaged about 12 miles a day. Shelters are nice. I used a tent as well. Keep your food in a tree. Mice were everywhere. Be sure to navigate correctly. The signage is not hiker friendly at times and you may go in the wrong direction easily if your not careful.