Just an hour south of Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania lies the Laurel Highlands, an area that is home to eight state parks, two state forests, and a multitude of hiking trails. One of these trails is the 70 mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, which can be found in the 13,625 acre Laurel Ridge State Park, offering up a pawriffic walk that many would agree is one of the finest in all of Pennsylvania.
The trail itself follows along Laurel Ridge, and will take you and Fido through some wonderfully diverse terrain. From hardwood forests and hemlock groves, to mountain streams and wildflower meadows, this trail really showcases the region's natural beauty.
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is open throughout the year, and is an easy one to follow no matter the season. The trail is blazed every 100 feet, with connector trails to road crossings, parking lots or shelters being blazed in a different color. There are also mileage monuments placed at one mile intervals along the trail, making it easy for you and Fido to track your progress.
One of the most popular features of this trail are the eight dog-friendly overnight shelter areas that are placed every 6 to 12 miles along the route. These areas boast five shelters with fireplaces, two toilets and enough room for 30 tents. Keep in mind that you will need to pay a nightly fee for camping along the trail, and are only allowed to stay at each shelter for one night.
If you and Fido would like an even longer hike, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is actually a part of the larger Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, a trail system that runs between the Allegheny Highlands and the mouth of the Potomac River. Whether you choose to turn your long-distance walk into an even longer one or not, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is one that you and your pooch will definitely enjoy.