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Laurel Highland Tail - Ohiopyle out 8 and back
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daniel B
(dbogey) - F - M

Locale: East Coast
Laurel Highland Tail - Ohiopyle out 8 and back on 10/31/2011 11:22:36 MDT Print View

First trip report on BPL. Thanks to all the members for great gear ideas and general backpacking knowledge. I'm trying to get "lightweight" but its taking some time and adjustments to my current setup.

I'm lucky enough to live in Western Pa where we not only have great football but awesome hiking also.

I decided to drive down to Ohiopyle which is about 45 minutes from my home. Upon waking I tried to rouse my son up at 5:30 to see if he wanted to take a "quick" hike with dad, but to no avail he didn't want to leave his comfortable bed and I don't blame him.

Ohiopyle is the southern terminus of the 70 mile Laurel Highlands Trail. The Laurel Highlands Trail provides shelters approx every 6 miles but I decided to make this a day hike and not utilize the shelters today. I was introduced to this portion of the trail by an REI employee who told me that the initial ascent is a steep one but not to bad. I found out the hard way that it wasn't the case. It was the multitude of ascents and descents in such a small area that had me wondering why I chose this section to start my hike. I should of looked at the elevation profile before hand, plus the trail is 80% rocks.
Here is an image of 8 miles out and 8 miles back.
Out 8 and Back 8

10 minutes on the trail and this is what I ran into. There was a bear nearby, well not at the moment but he did stop by here.

The Laurel Highlands trail is marked every mile with concrete markersMile 5
I tried to keep my 2 mile and hour pace and figured I was doing ok. 5 miles in in 2hrs and 23 mins.

Once I made it to the top of the first ascent I was rewarded with a spectacular view of hills and valleys below with the Youghiogheny River flowing below me.
Yough River
Overhang Rock - Got that funny feeling standing on this and looking over the edge

Some of the "Rocks" you encounter on the trail.Big Rock

bigger rock

During the day I encountered probably 15 people while out hiking. I didn't photo any of the people out there on the trail but I did run accross one group of 8 or people in the middle of the woods with 2 babies. One woman was actually cradling of the baby in her arms walking through the woods. I was lucky enough to have trekking poles!! I have no clue as to how they where not falling whilst carrying a baby ??

A beautiful stream crossing
stream crossing

Self Portrait with valley below.
Self Portrait

Being ex military I tend to push myself and when I first started the hike I was only planning on doing 8 or 9 miles that day. After seeing how much ground I could cover I decided to go out to the 8 mile mark and back.
Finally time to turn around:)
time to head back

Sometimes you become so consumed with the hike you really do not pay attention to your surroundings. I cannot even remember this strand of trees on the way out.Strand of trees

About 1/2 mile left after this sign. My feet needed some TLC

I plan on completing the entire 70 mile in sections within the next year. I can say that I'm glad this section is finished. Too many ups and downs and although the vistas were beautiful and the scenery was at times festive with the fall colors this portion of the Laurel Highlands Trail is finished and I'm tucking it away for memories only.

My next trip (next week) is supposed to be the Pa Grand Canyon (west rim trail) A beautiful 30+ mile hike in North Central Pa.

Alex Belding
(pinnhead4) - F

Locale: Michigan
Awesome! on 10/31/2011 11:26:47 MDT Print View

Awesome! Looks like a beautiful place.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Laurel Highland Tail - Ohiopyle out 8 and back on 10/31/2011 17:32:54 MDT Print View

Nice report, we don't get many reports from western PA. I'm from around New Castle, PA. While I've done the Yough, I've never hiked this trail.

I'm doing a 2-nighter on the Black Forest Trail in a few weeks, but have done the Grand Canyon and think that you'll enjoy it also.

Have fun,

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
LHT - Out and Back on 11/01/2011 05:56:38 MDT Print View

Nice report - Thanks. I haven't done the LHT because of the need to reserve a shelter (no tenting is allowed if I remember correctly) and thus pre-define your daily distances.

You'll enjoy the West Rim Trail. I've hiked it four times (with different people each time) and have always started at the northern trailhead and hiked south. Please PM me if you have any questions about the trail or want a little additional pre-trip planning info.

daniel B
(dbogey) - F - M

Locale: East Coast
Western Hiking on 11/01/2011 07:23:10 MDT Print View

I really started hiking this year (did it in the army but it wasn't called hiking rather humping a ruck) and living in Western Pa was amazed at how many trails are available to those people in this area. Its said that Pa has the most trails miles of any state.

I'm an Information Tech guy and came across the site and found links to all their maps of Pa with trail on them. Here is an example

What I did then was take the actual pdf, D_000877.pdf and use this as a search on google. all you have to to from there is tweak the numbers e.g. d_000990.pdf and you'll get another map. Still trying to find their index of all maps.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I'm always looking for new places to go so if any members in the area are wanting to hike and would like to go with another member of BPL send me PM or email me at dannyb at pitt dot edu

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 11/01/2011 11:53:09 MDT Print View

Daniel, I do a lot of hiking in Western PA myself. Mostly in the National Forest, and sometimes closer to the center of the state. I do a lot of solo trips so I'm always looking for a partner. I have one other friend who backpacks, but he's not really into UL or putting in miles.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Great PA hike on 11/19/2011 05:59:24 MST Print View

I did that segment! Well, plus some. When I was in Pittsburgh visiting my parents a year and a half ago I figured I'd try hiking the LHHT from SR653 to Ohiopyle- about 19 miles. I figured I'd make an over-nighter of it, so I had breakfast with Mom before the drive out from the city, hit Falling Water since I'd never been there, and I finally kicked off around 11:00. Well, I had thought that I was taking my time but I ended up strolling into town around 20:00, even stopping for a leisurely lunch and doing a lot of gunking around the rocks. I'm sure that it helped that it was a significant net-downhill.

It was quite a pleasant late-summer day, no bugs, I only saw one other human being on the trail, and it's an area that I love for quite nostalgic reasons. I used to poke around Ohiopyle a lot as a kid and nearly killed myself rafting it on several occasions long before the outfitters swarmed the place.

The next time I'm back visiting the parents I think I'll take a couple of days to circumnavigate Black Moshannon park.

(By the way, I'm a Pitt alum, too...)

Edited by acrosome on 11/19/2011 06:01:59 MST.