Ohiopyle State Park: Green Nature, White Water, Attractions Nearby
Ohiopyle State Park, southeast of Pittsburgh, is wild and scenic. In the 1800s the area drew city dwellers who’d come just to stroll and enjoy the beauties of nature. That pastime is still popular, along with more energetic activities today—notably, white water boating on the Youghiogheny River, which snakes through valleys and gorges here. Within the parkland, two stretches of river offer different experiences. The so-called Middle Yough, from upstream into the town of Ohiopyle, is the gentler ride: a mix of fast-moving flat water and moderate (“Class I and II”) rapids. Kayakers, canoers, and standup paddleboarders who first have mastered steering on calm water often use this stretch to learn the game of zipping through chutes and dips without mucho upsets. The Lower Yough, from Ohiopyle down, has the bigger, bouncier rapids. Expert kayakers love it, as do visitors who take the guided raft trips, paddling in (relatively) stable soft rafts with guides who know the way. Major outfitters operating this summer, alphabetically, are: Laurel Highlands River Tours, Ohiopyle Trading Post, and Wilderness Voyageurs.
Other attractions include tours of two nearby Frank Lloyd Wright houses, Fallingwater (for outdoor “exterior” tours only this summer) and Kentuck Knob … plus good mountain bike trails right in the state park, the Great Allegheny Passage trail for hybrid and road bikers, and the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. The state park office is at 124 Main St., Ohiopyle.