Summary: Once the Ferncliff Hotel and resort was abandoned in the 1940's, nature began to return. Today, the peninsula is a National Natural Landmark, a northern outpost for southern species. But rododendron tangles line much of the trail.
You begin heading south along the rocky shoreline. Just down from the Low Bridge, look for the fossilized imprints of the 300 million year old Lepidodendron tree. An ancestor of the club moss, the scale tree imprint looks like a fossilized mountain bike track.
You then get to the falls. It was here in 1754 that George Washington abandoned his hope for a water passage to the "Forks of the Ohio" at what is now Pittsburgh. The Youghiogheny River dropps 100 feet in it's 1 mile bend around Ferncliff Peninsula.
After the falls the trail climbs higher and then around the entire peninsula. There are a number of other trails that cross the peninsula, including the Fernwood Trail which will take you past the foundations of the Ferncliff Hotel.
Trailhead: From the Donegal exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, turn left onto Rt 31. Travel 2 miles and turn right onto Routes 711 & 381 South at Santelli's Market. Proceed 10 miles to Normalville turn left at the T-intersection onto Route 381 South for 11 miles to Ohiopyle State Park. The parking area is on the right just after the railroad crossing and before the bridge.
There are no facilities at the trailhead but supplies and a rest room is available across the road at Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitter Shop.
This is also a trailhead for the Youghiogheny River Trail, a rail-trail conversion that extends north to McKeesport and south to Confluence. (Lat:39.87199 Lon:-79.4939)
Trail Guides for Ohiopyle S.P.-Ferncliff Trail:
50 Hikes in Western Pennsylvania
by Tom Thwaites (Backcountry Guides)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Ohiopyle State Park 724-329-8591
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.
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Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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