Summary: The yellow-blazed Laurel Highland Hiking Trail covers 70 miles from Ohiopyle State Park north to Seward. This review covers the 7 mile section between the PA Turnpike Shelter Area and US Route 30.
This section has plenty of cross trails so be careful as the LHHT might make a sudden turn while going straight will take you onto a branch trail. The number of branch trails mean you can park almost anywhere along Laurel Summit Road and build a day hike.
Just south of Rt. 30, there is a short rock maze with thin bedded limestone piled quite high but the real impressive stone is Beam Rocks near Mile 41. Be sure to take the side trail around to the back side and the "easy" way up to the overlook.
Trailhead: There is no parking available at the Turnpike Shelters but there is a parking area a short way up the trail at the Avalanche Pavillion at Lick Run State Park. (N40 6.970 W79 10.576). Access by taking Laurel Summit Rd. South from Rt. 30. The picnic area has a water spigot, rest rooms and grills. Parking at the pavillion is really only suitable for day hikes but one could possibly park longer at the PW&S RR lot.
The Rt. 30 Parking Area is about half a mile East of Laurel Hill Summit. (N40 10.454, W79 7.343). It has a water pump. Don't forget to register at the sign-in box so that rangers know you are on the trail.
The Route 30 Shelter area is a little over half a mile North along the trail. As with all shelter areas it has 5 Adirondac-style shelters, rest rooms and a water pump. Overnight registration is $6/night/person.
Trail Guides for LHHT-Turnpike Shelters to Rt. 30:
A Hikers Guide to the Laurel Highlands Trail
by Sierra Club PA Chapter (Western Pennsylvania Conservancy)
Pennsylvania Hiking Trails (12th edition)
by Barbara Wiemann (Keystone Trails Association)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Laurel Ridge State Park Office 724-455-3744
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kevin Geiselman, who has posted 96 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Phil on 5/23/2007
I just recently hiked from Rt. 30 to Rt.31 and stayed at the Turnpike Shelter for the night. (5/5-6/07) The rocks and the cliffs at Beam Rocks are great! Plan on spending a little time there climbing and exploring. The view from the top makes the break worthwhile! The shelters were all taken the night I came in, but there were open camping sites. I ended up sleeping under the stars, no need for a tent on that night! There were lots of downed trees on the trail, but none bad enough to cause problems. I would imagine that they have been cleared up by now...This is a great trail!
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Keys: Pennsylvania Hiking, Pennsylvania Trails, Pennsylvania Hikes, Westmoreland County Hiking, Westmoreland County Trails, Westmoreland County Hikes