Spring Day at Ohiopyle

Back at the end of March, I spent the weekend in the Laurel Mountains so I headed to Ohiopyle on that Saturday afternoon.  I've never been to Ohiopyle so I was looking forward to exploring a new area.

I took this picture while standing on the bike/walking bridge on the Ohiopyle side of the Ferncliff peninsula.  This section of the river is directly above the main falls, which are about 100 yards around the bend downriver in the photo.

I started my day hiking on Ferncliff peninsula.  This area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 due to its unique habitat that hosts many southern species that north of their typical range.  The area has a microclimate that is warmer than the surrounding area that give those plants a rare foothold.  Even though Rhododendrons are not uncommon in our area, they are especially dense on this section of the peninsula.

After passing the falls there is a set of steps on the left side of the trail that lead to a large boulder that overlooks the falls and provides a great vantage point for photographs.  While the light the day I was there wasn't the best, the picture still gives one an idea of how large the falls really are.  And I was surprised to find many people fishing the large pool just below the falls (a man and his boy are visible at the bottom left of my photo).

I hiked the Ferncliff trail starting at the river's edge closest to the falls.  The start of the trail traverses large boulders along the water and then heads up into the forest above the cliffs.  At this point, the river is at the bottom of a 60 foot cliff to the right side of this picture.

I was hoping the Ferncliff trail would head back down to the river's edge, but after leaving the main falls, it stayed on top of the cliffs for the rest of the way.  At one point, the river was visible through the trees and rhododendron thickets so I snapped a few pics.

This picture was taken from the rails to trails biking/walking bridge looking up river.  The bridge is 120 feet above the water and has great views of the river valley in both directions.

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) -  The sounds of the bullfrogs were so loud when I got close to this vernal pool that I honestly thought there was a flock of ducks or geese close by, but it turns out they were Bullfrogs in mating season.  I took a lot of pictures but this is one of my favorites; the stripes on their legs is clearly visible and the frog didn't seem bothered by me being there.

Cucumber Falls are in another part of the park not far from Ferncliff Peninsula on the aptly named Cucumber Run.  The trail down to the base of the falls was covered in ice so I was surprised to see quite a few people having lunch and relaxing at the base of the falls.  Even though there were a lot of people around, I was able to get a good picture without too many people in the shot.  

Baughman Rock is about 5 miles east of Ferncliff Peninsula and has some spectacular views of the Youghigheny river valley from the top of the mountains.  Since the trees hadn't even began to leaf yet, my pictures turned out a little drab with the brown of the forest being so dominating.  

More Pictures:

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

Youghiogheny River Main Falls

Cucumber Falls

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

Youghiogheny River