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Wildlife Watching at Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle State Park is a designated Important Mammal Area as well as an Important Bird Area. Visitors to Ohiopyle may be lucky enough to see:

  • White-tailed deer
  • Black bear
  • Bobcats
  • Fishers
  • River otters

Ohiopyle is excellent for bird watching, with a variety of habitats. Visitors can hear the eastern towhee call “drink your tea” in the summer or spot the brilliant red flash of a northern cardinal. The Youghiogheny River provides habitat perfect for water-loving birds such as:

  • Osprey
  • Mergansers
  • Kingfishers
  • Occasional bald eagle

Visitors should also be on the lookout for a variety of snakes including copperheads and timber rattlesnakes.

Ferncliff Peninsula National Natural Landmark

Created by a meander in the Youghiogheny River, this 100-acre peninsula is a unique habitat that contains many rare and interesting plants. The Youghiogheny River flows north, picking up seeds in Maryland and West Virginia and depositing them at Ferncliff, north of their usual growing range.

The deep gorge is slightly warmer than the surrounding area, which allows these southern refugees to survive.

Recognized for its botanical diversity for over a century, the 100-acre peninsula was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1973. In 1992, Ferncliff Peninsula was declared a State Park Natural Area which will protect it in its natural state.

The Trail of Geology 7 - Ohiopyle State Park Guide (PDF) contains detailed information about the geology of the park. 

Waterfalls and Scenic Water Attractions


This beautiful woodland waterfall in Meadow Run is near the park office. The cool, clean waters of this stream make it a favorite haunt of anglers.

Cucumber Falls

This 30-foot bridal veil waterfall on Cucumber Run is easily reached from Meadow Run Trail and has parking on SR 2019.

Jonathan Run Falls

Several small waterfalls can be seen from Jonathan Run Trail. Just before the trail meets the Great Allegheny Passage, the largest waterfall tumbles over rocks between rhododendron-lined banks.

Meadow Run Waterslides

The cascading beauty of this unique geologic formation attracts photographers, geologists, and recreation enthusiasts. Explore Meadow Run’s ancient stream bed to find ripples carved in stone and potholes scoured by spinning rocks and powerful currents.

This activity or structure is ADA accessible. An ADA accessible observation deck is easily reached from the parking area.

Ohiopyle Falls

The power and beauty of this 20-foot waterfall make it a central attraction to the park. The best viewing is from the observation deck in the Falls Day Use Area, in the heart of Ohiopyle.

This activity or structure is ADA accessible.

Driving Tours of the Laurel Highlands

Discover Fall -- Scenic Driving Tour

Welcome to the beautiful Laurel Highlands, filled with scenic byways, picturesque overlooks, and unique, quaint communities. This area spans a four county region including Westmoreland, Fayette, Cambria, and Somerset counties. Beginning in October, the ridges and valleys come to life with color, with the peak near mid October.

The Discover Fall tour provides two distinct driving routes through the Laurel Highlands linking state forest and state park lands, small town community events, and programs with scenic drives of fall color.

Southern Loop

This approximately 70-mile loop offers meandering drives through the valleys between the ridges of the highlands. Highlights include stops within three state parks (Laurel Hill, Laurel Ridge, and Ohiopyle) and views of the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania from both on top of the ridge and from the Youghiogheny River. Allow a minimum of two and-a-half hours to complete the tour.

Scenic Driving Tour - Southern Loop Fact Sheet (PDF)

Discover Birds and Blossoms

The return of our feathered friends coupled with the bloom of spring flowers provides the perfect opportunity to explore the Laurel Highlands. This tour will guide you to some of our area’s best birding spots from a mountaintop bog to the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania. The tour visits Laurel Hill, Linn Run, and Ohiopyle State Parks.

Discover Birds and Blooms Scenic Driving Tour Fact Sheet (PDF)

Discover Rocks, Ridges, and Ravines

Experience Pennsylvania’s geologic extremes. Visit PA’s deepest gorge, longest cave, highest point, and some of the hardest rocks while you visit our state’s highest vineyard, one of its most famous houses, and largest state park.

Rocks, Ridges, and Rines Scenic Driving Tour Fact Sheet (PDF)