I love finding a little diamond in the rough and that is exactly what Ohiopyle State Park area is. We were looking for something to do in the Midwest area to go and adventure at but we were coming up short on ideas. It seemed anything worth going to was a long distance away or we had already done it. None of us were up for a long drive and we only had a short amount of time for the trip. I vaguely remembered someone mentioning an area called Ohiopyle to me a NOLS First Aid class I took with Rachel and decided to look it up. As we quickly read over the area and the things we could do we were quite intrigued and we decided on the whim to go.
Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania is a small little town with some quaint shops, little eatery spots, bike rental locations and white water rafting trips. (and a lot more!) We did not have time to walk the town and window shop due to time constraints but we will go back sometime to do that. We did visit the Ohiopyle Visitor Center, which I would recommend you do first if you can. It gets your feet wet about the area, things to do and the history of Ohiopyle. We enjoyed viewing the falls and the wild flowers on the grounds at the center and you can spend 45-60 minutes at the visitor center as you contemplate what you would want to do for your adventurous day.
We only had 2 half days and one night in the area and we packed as much as we could in with our limited time.
Day 1: We always love to fit in some history of an area we are visiting and what a treat to find Fort Necessity National Battlefield. We are National Park junkies and we can NEVER get enough of what they have to offer. Did you know George Washington was part of this little fort? That route 40 began here? That the stage was being set for the Revolutionary War? If you answered No, your not alone, we did not either! There are 3 areas here that you can see, the main museum and fort area, Mount Washington Tavern and Braddocks Grave site. It took us a good 2 hours to do everything because we hiked a small hill from the fort area to Mount Washington Inn.
After the National Battlefield, we went to the natural slide area in Ohiopyle State Park for the rest of the day. When evening was coming we honestly did not want to leave the slides but it was dinner time and the type one diabetic had run out of snacks. This area is WAY AWESOME and we HIGHLY recommend you make it here sometime in your life. (BUCKETLIST IT!) There is NOTHING like riding nature made rock water slides and enjoying the outdoors at the same time!
Lodging in the area of Ohiopyle is at a premium and since we were last minute visitors we ended up in a little town called Uniontown, PA. It was quite nice with lots of local joints to eat and hotels to stay at. We chose the Hilton Garden Inn which was conveniently located off of the highway. There were ample restaurants nearby and a mall for evening entertainment. (We were to exhausted after playing in nature to go out.) The rooms were very nice and clean, great pool area and continental breakfast that was included with an option to add hot items for a $$. We were so tired after our afternoon of adventure we went to Panera Bread for dinner since it was fast and yummy.
We knew we wanted to be home before 9:00 pm so we were up and moving pretty quickly. After breakfast we hopped into the car and headed to Braddocks grave site. This was an interesting area and it was sobering to see where the road came through and how difficult the move west was for many who have gone before us. Roads seem to common now but imagining what these people encountered before us was thought provoking.
We honestly did not know what we wanted to do next because there was soooo much to choose from. We love hiking and the peninsula was calling but we had a diabetes issue we were dealing with so we needed something less strenuous. This health thing also made it so we could not go white water rafting with the family, much to the kids dismay.
We chose to go biking on the Great Allegheny Passage. This is a well maintained trail that is level and easily used by a family. As a family, decide how far you want to go out and then remember you have to turn around and head back to Ohiopyle. We went about 4 miles out and 4 miles back. We intentionally went over both low and high bridges which offer amazing views of the area.
How do you find a reputable bike rental place? Adventure hub? White Water Rafting guides? We did not have much time to research and I had been given a coupon book from PA Welcome Center when we were on US 70, so we looked there. The rate I found was $10.00 for the whole day with a company called Wilderness-Voyagers. These guys are a little hard to find but we really enjoyed using them as our outfitter. The employees were helpful and gave us the best rates possible.
Wilderness-Voyagers stood out because they have plenty of parking, their own bath house and a gear me out kind of store with lots of goodies! I spoke with Tracy while I was there and she said that at their location, “They are more about quality than quantity” and we could see that as well. I have looked for discount codes online for them and have not seen any (emailed them about it too) BUT if you stop by the visitor center outside of Ohiopyle you can ask for a coupon for bike rental.
I would also suggest getting a Laurel Highlands Visitor Guide because it will give you some great ideas about the area and important information. It’s a must have for ready travel ideas and tips for your trip to the Laurel Highlands. You can check out the link or contact them at 800-333-5661 for more information.
Sadly, our time in Ohiopyle had to come to an end, but we look forward to returning there very soon and finishing out what they have to offer, backcountry hiking, rafting and so much more! #bucketlist of things to do there!
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