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Laurel Highlands Trail

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, one of the finest natural trails in Pennsylvania, extends for over 70 miles from Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown to the rugged and picturesque Youghiogheny River Gorge at Ohiopyle State Park. The northern terminus is a few miles east of Seward off PA 56, and the southern terminus now connects with the Great Allegheny Passage at Ohiopyle. Most of the trail is on Laurel Mountain, but there are some sections where it drops to the valley floor.

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is blazed with 2-by-5-inch yellow markings. Large signs indicate access points, and markers appear at every mile. There are eight overnight shelter areas along the trail, situated 8 to 10 miles apart. Each contains five shelters with tent pads, two comfort stations, a fireplace, and water sources. These overnight areas are not directly on the trail, but are set back somewhat to retain a wilderness atmosphere. Overnight stays, which require a reservation, are limited to one night at each shelter area.

The Charles Lewis Natural Area, though not a part of the LHHT, is located just across the Conemaugh River at the northern terminus of the trail. This area is a great place for a day hike and also offers views of the Conemaugh Gorge.

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The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail extends seventy miles from Ohiopyle State Park to Seward, just north of Johnstown. The trail traverses state parks, state forests, state game lands, other public lands and private lands. The trail is open year round and marked with 2" x 5" yellow blazes. Trails that lead to and from parking areas and shelters are marked with blue blazes. Mile markers are placed every mile along the trail, starting at the southern terminus at the Ohiopyle State Park. Overnight camping along the trail can only take place at designated areas and require reservations with DCNR. I've wanted to do an overnight backpacking trip on the Laurel Highlands Trail but never got around to coordinating a trip. So I figured I'd do the next best thing and do a day hike to see some of the great views into the Conemaugh Gorge found along the northern end of the trail.