Meadow Run

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Ohiopyle State Park, PA contains many geologic wonders as it located where the Youghiogheny River cut its way through the heights of Laurel Ridge, resulting in a steep sided gorge up to 1500 feet deep in places. The extreme difference in elevation has resulted in waterfalls, white water rapids, scenic overlooks, and rock outcroppings that have made Ohiopyle State Park, PA a draw of regional tourists for several generations and likely the most scenic park in Pennsylvania.

Ohiopyle State Park, PA's centerpiece is the twenty-five foot fall of the Youghiogheny River, known as the Ohiopyle Falls. The park's main visitor day use area features several observation platforms to give visitors a close vantage point of the roaring cataract. Just below the waterfall begins the most popular whitewater rafting route in the eastern United States. Numerous class III and IV rapids begin here and last eight miles, which makes Ohiopyle State Park, PA renowned for its whitewater recreation.

Several streams (Meadow Run, Cucumber Run, Sugar Run, Rock Spring Run, and Jonathan Run) enter the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park, PA and have carved their own gorges into the surrounding highlands, many of these feature waterfalls. The park's most scenic delight is Cucumber Falls, but the Meadow Run Natural Waterslide rivals it in popularity on a hot summer day.

Ohiopyle State Park, PA can boast having two of the best scenic overlooks in Western Pennsylvania: Tharp Knob Overlook with its sweeping view of the Youghiogheny River meandering through the heights of Laurel Ridge, and Baughman Rock Overlook with its view of Laurel Ridge surrounding "The Flats."

The park's elevation ranges from 1200 feet (Youghiogheny River in the northwest) to over 2900 feet on top of Laurel Ridge resulting in a temperature difference of up to 12 degrees. The park's roof is popular with cross country skiing in the winter months as it averages three times the snow of the valley and lower elevations to the northwest.

A myriad of hiking trails crisscross the park under a heavy forest. Mountain biking and equestrian trails can be found near Sugarloaf Knob near the top of Laurel Ridge. The Youghiogheny River Trail, a corridor of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, is a relatively flat hiking/biking trail that lines the Youghiogheny River's western shore.
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Meadow Run Cascades located in Ohiopyle State Park, PA at a point where Meadow Run passes over a wide span of rock ledges that are often mostly dry with the exception of several chutes of water near the stream's eastern shore. However, plentiful rain can make the entire expanse of the cliff faces wet with gushing water.

The easiest access to the Meadow Run Cascades requires up to a mile of hiking each way along scenic Meadow Run Trail and from the trail's parking lot access off of Dinner Bell Road (SR 2011) near the park office for Ohiopyle State Park, PA.
Recreation
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The three miles of Meadow Run Trail in Ohiopyle State Park, PA passes along some of the park's best scenery. A constant along the trail are eastern hemlock, rhododendron, and mountain laurel. Meadow Run Trail has several access points including a parking area near Dinnerbell Road (SR 2011). From this access point the trail splits off into multiple segments with the right cutting by an impressive outcropping of blue limestone made up of cliffs and overhangs several stories high before the trail joins up at Meadow Run near the scenic Meadow Run Cascades. From this point forward the trail meanders along scenic Meadow Run passing Flat Rock before veering above the run until it joins again near the Meadow Run Natural Waterslide, which has a parking lot off of Route 381. The trail continues under a bridge before emerging at the Youghiogheny River in a location that sports enormous rocks and rock ledges. Following the shoreline the trail cuts through some rough terrain that rises above the Youghiogheny River before heading down in elevation at the end of Meadow Run Trail where Cucumber Run joins the Youghiogheny River less than one hundred yards from Cucumber Falls.

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Pictures by Michael D. McCumber

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?} Fast Running in Meadow Run Natural Waterslide at Ohiopyle
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