Laurel Ridge State Park stretches across four counties in Pennsylvania: Cambria, Fayette, Westmoreland, and Somerset counties. The over 13,000-acre park contains a massive forested area and the beautiful Laurel Highlands hiking trail.
The park is open every day of the year, from sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. During winter months, the park is open for skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Whenever you choose to visit the park, always come prepared for wetter, colder weather, make sure to bring plenty of water and food, and always let someone else know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
Laurel Highlands hiking trail runs 70 miles long and is a perfect opportunity for visitors to backpack overnight or hike during the day. The trail is a beautiful natural landscape rife with wildflowers like mountain laurel and rhododendron. Fall colors in the park are also stunning in October. There are overnight shelters spaced approximately every six to twelve miles along the trail. If you plan to stay overnight on the trail, reservations must be made in advance through the park’s website or by calling the park office directly. You can make reservations up to eleven months in advance. The rates for group backpacking parties varies by the number of persons and by the state of residency; Pennsylvania residents receive lower rates and fees than non-residents.
Dogs are permitted in most areas of the park provided they are on a leash no longer than six feet or under other physical control, such as in a crate. Pets are prohibited in all swimming areas, inside buildings, or areas where no pets signs are posted.
The park also hosts occasional events and educational programs, such as an introduction to hiking and backpacking for women. As with any other state park or public recreation area, make sure to always come prepared with waste bags if you bring your dog. Always clean up after yourself and your pet and be respectful of other visitors.