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Laurel Highlands Trail Facts & Links

Total distance: 70 miles

Western terminus: Youghiogheny River Gorge, Ohiopyle State Park

Eastern terminus: Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown, PA

Blaze color: yellow

A Permit is required for overnight camping.
Call (412) 455-3744 for reservations.

A guide book and maps of the trail are available from the Sierra Club of Pittsburgh. Send $6.00, plus $1.50 postage (and 7% tax for PA residents) to:

Bob Roth
80 Rose Leaf Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Checks should be made out to Allegheny Group, Sierra Club.

Trail brochures are also available by contacting:

Laurel Ridge State Park
RD #3, Box 246
Rockwood, PA 15557
(412) 455-3744

For more information, visit the
Laurel Highlands National Scenic Trail
official website.

Ramkitten's Gear Reviews

Ramkitten's Packing-for-Backpacking Checklist



My Journal: Laurel Highlands Trail

Pre-hike entry #1
February 28, 2003

I'm a little out of practice when it comes to journal-writing. Not only have I not kept one since finishing the A.T. in September, 2000, but I haven't done much backpacking either. I've spent a lot more time sitting on my butt, writing fiction, than I have walking trails. The sedentary effort finally paid off in a publishing contract, but cost me that nice firm, post-thru-hike heiney.

Well, now it's time to get it back and maintain a better balance between hiking and writing. My husband, Steve, and I were doing three to five miles a day earlier this winter, but then the snow reached knee-height and we slacked off, opting for warm blankies, hot cocoa, and indoor activities rather than freezing our buns off. We won't have the snow and cold excuse next winter though; we're moving to the Arizona desert in April. We found a new property caretaking job, which will give us more time to concentrate on our creative endeavors and more time to hike. So far, my other backpacking plans for the year include the Superior Trail beginning May 24th and a seven-day Grand Canyon hike in June.

But first things first....

Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands Trail. This 70-mile footpath extends from the Youghiogheny River Gorge at Ohiopyle State Park east of Uniontown to the one thousand foot-deep Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown. There are eight overnight areas, each with five shelters, tent pads, bathrooms and potable water. Camping is permitted only at these areas, which are located eight to ten miles apart. The terrain is generally moderate, and a number of road crossings provide ample opportunities for both out-and-back and one-directional day-hiking. Markers at all mile-points takes the guesswork out of gauging distance traveled.

My two (male, probably in great shape) hiking partners, who I met through Backpacker.com's Hiking Partner forum, will be meeting me here at the farm on March 25th. They'll leave their vehicles by the barn, and Steve will drive the three of us down the road and over Sugarloaf Mountain to the trailhead at Ohiopyle. He'll pick us up in Johnstown on the 31st.

So that's the scoopage, folks. I'll try my best to make this interesting for you. I don't know, maybe I'll tell juicy secrets about my hiking buddies or complain about how my sports bra doesn't fit right or something. So if you feel like tagging along with this flabby hiker on her little jaunt through the forest -- which may also be through the snow if March is anything like the local meteorologists are forecasting -- I'll be back in a bit with my boots and probably much too heavy pack on.

Ramkitten

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