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Ellen Matis

The Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania continues to be one of my favorite places to visit — it’s secluded, while still having plenty to do; it’s absolutely beautiful (I mean, the waterfalls!); and it’s a perfect place to add into a trip to Pittsburgh or Morgantown, West Virginia.

If you’ve been reading Recreation News a while, you know that copy editor Sean and I are camping lovers. During a trip to the Laurel Highlands, we camped in the Kentuck Campground in Ohiopyle — which is a part of Pennsylvania’s state parks camping system. Camping in a Pennsylvania state park has a lot of perks, and at Kentuck those include: A bath house, hot showers, a playground for kids, picnic tables and fire rings at each site and firewood available for purchase.


Ellen Matis

Pro tip: Kentuck is a popular campground and reservations fill up early. Other camping and cabin rental opportunities are available for reservations.

Ohiopyle, a small town in the Laurel Highland mountains, is an outdoor adventurists’ paradise, offering everything from hiking and biking, to camping, to whitewater rafting and more. It’s a stop along the 135 mile Great Allegheny Passage.

Some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Pennsylvania are in this region. During this particular weekend trip, we hiked the Jonathan Run Trail to Upper and Lower Jonathan Run Falls. After a rainy start to the trip, the waterfalls were flowing stronger than usual and they were beautiful to watch.


Ellen Matis

We drove up to Baughman Rock Overlook, where the view of the valley below was gorgeous as we watched the fog rise from an afternoon shower. You can hike to the overlook, but note that the trail is marked as difficult.

You can’t forget making a stop over at Cucumber Falls, probably one of the most photographed spots in the Laurel Highlands region — as it’s one of the parks most easily-accessible waterfalls.

For the more adventurous, Ohiopyle is a hub for zip lining, white water rafting and a ton of other activities.


Ellen Matis


No trip to the Laurel Highlands region is complete without a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Called “one of the 12 landmarks that will change the way you see the world” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, Fallingwater was designed in 1935 by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Today, the public can visit and tour this iconic symbol of people living in harmony with nature, according to the Fallingwater website.

Reservations are required for all tours of Fallingwater. A variety of tour types, including some unique brunch tours or sunset tours, can be arranged on the home’s website:


Ellen Matis

Top things to do in the Laurel Highlands region:

  1. whitewater raft
  2. kayak or canoe
  3. bike the Great Allegheny Passage
  4. go mountain biking
  5. hike
  6. camp
  7. go rock climbing
  8. try stand up paddleboarding
  9. explore the charming town of Ohiopyle
  10. see great waterfalls

List from the GO Laurel Highlands visitors’ bureau.

For more information:

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