Labor Day Trips Near Pittsburgh

9:50 p.m. on August 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi

Newbie here to Trailspace.  Love the site, I have checked out several threads & everyone is helpful & shares a lot of knowledge.  

I'm looking for a 2-3 day trip somewhere within a 4 hr or so driving from Pittsburgh, that won't be too crowded over labor day weekend.  I'll probably take my 9 yr old daughter, so daily mileage under 10 is good.  

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

10:09 p.m. on August 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Doug, welcome to Trailspace.

My first thought would be Ohiopyle but due to the holiday I would think it would be pretty crowded. I really like the LHHT(Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail) NOBO or SOBO. I just did the whole thing again. Its a 70 mile trip(80 because of a turnpike detour.) There are 8 shelters areas on the trail/5 shelters at each site. Plus there is extra room for about 30 tents. You don't necessarily have to start at the trail heads. You could always start at any shelter and hike either way. The reason I am leaning to starting out mid trail is the roughest elevation gains are at the trailheads which may not be fun for a 9yr old . Ohiopyle(NOBO) is the worst. But once ya get 20 or so miles in it levels off. Granted there are a few "hills" but nothing like the ones at the trailheads.

Its about 1.5 hr drive give or take from Pittsburgh

Are you looking for a weekend get away, a backpacking trip, etc?

Here is a link for the trip report I did from my last trip there in June:

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/trip-reports/topics/92698.html#92698

10:07 a.m. on August 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick, 

Thanks for the reply.  We've backpacked most of the LHHT at different times over the past few years, that seems to be our standby trip.  We did the Ohiopyle section last year, wasn't too bad we just took our time with a lot of stopping.  Even did a weekend trip there this past March, my daughter loved the big icicles hanging from the rocks.  Looking at the pa.reserve not too many sites are reserved yet, but it will probably be crowded with day hikers.  Might still be an option.  

Also thinking maybe something in the Quebec Run Wild Area or the ANF.  

12:31 p.m. on August 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Doug K said:

Rick, 

Thanks for the reply.  We've backpacked most of the LHHT at different times over the past few years, that seems to be our standby trip.  We did the Ohiopyle section last year, wasn't too bad we just took our time with a lot of stopping.  Even did a weekend trip there this past March, my daughter loved the big icicles hanging from the rocks.  Looking at the pa.reserve not too many sites are reserved yet, but it will probably be crowded with day hikers.  Might still be an option.  

Also thinking maybe something in the Quebec Run Wild Area or the ANF.  

 Thats one of the reasons I was thinking mid trail. I have done the LHHT many times; about to do it again here in a week or so. I noticed alot of the dayhikers seem to fall off after Ohiopyle shelter/Rt 56 shelters. 

I would think ya may run into some folks here and there but not many. I don't know how much of the trail you have completed but Beam rock is really nice. 

Maybe take a look at this link for a few options:

http://pittsburgh.about.com/od/hiking/tp/trails.htm

1:00 p.m. on August 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Never did the Beam Rock section, always stayed south of the turnpike.  

Might have to try that section, looks like a good option.  Do you know the what the water situation is at the turnpike shelters?  I don't have a pump, just been using chemicals, so that might be an issue.  

1:17 p.m. on August 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Water was really iffy the last time I was up there in mid June. 

Call this number for Kooser State Park and ask for Mike. He does alot on the LHHT and would be able to get ya dialed in on the latest info on the water situation etc. currently. 

814-455-8673

When I did my trip I skipped the Turnpike shelter. Looking at my map there is a hand pump listed but this water could be non-potable. I would strongly suggest contacting Mike. 

All of the shelter sites have hand pumps. At the same time just because they are there doesn't mean they are not dried up or in non-working order. They stay on top of this type of thing though. I typically filtered water from streams when I am on trail. 

I would also like to note that the views from the northern end of the Trailhead are really nice. The elevation gain isn't nearly as abrupt as the Ohiopyle(Southern) end. 

6:38 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick, Thanks for the info.  My daughter decided not to go since its suppose to rain.  Decided to do 3 days in the Southern, Ohiopyle section.  Seemed like the easiest section to plan a 3 day non-loop hike.  

6:45 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Good deal. That first section can be a workout lol. On my last thru hike I hammered that uphill. By the time I got to the 1st vista(the one that over looks the river and train tracks) I looked like I just stepped out of the shower. Definitely got the ol blood flowing. 

Being I do not know how much ground you typically cover on trail speed wise how far in are you headed?

The reason I ask this is the next shelter area after Ohiopyle which is the Maple Summit Shelter Area has a "no water" listing. 

Just a heads up. 

9:29 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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This will be my first solo trip, & I wanted to do something challenging to see how I do on the hills.  Trying to decide if I'm good enough to go for a Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim tour in October.  I'm parking off of Maple Summit in the state game lands.  Hiking south to the Ohiopyle shelter night 1, then back passed the parking to the rt 653 shelters.  My car will always be no further than the mid-point, so I can bail if things don't work out.

11:02 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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That hill coming out of the Ohiopyle shelter area in route north can be a real challenge. That one and the Ohiopyle trailhead are the 2 worse spots on the trail as far as elevation gains go.

Being you are parking at MS you shouldn't have much problems as far as water goes. The Ohiopyle shelter area has a pretty nice stream.

There is a member here on TS that did a GC rim to rim trip so ya might want to take a look at his trip report for a heads up as far as what you are getting into.

Here is a link to the thread:

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/trip-reports/topics/99672.html

So its your first solo aye. I'm solo 99% of the time because most of my local friends think I am nuts for the distances I travel at times. You should hear the responses I get in the winter when I am headed out...

I have found that being solo does have its pros. Less distraction in regards to getting dialed in with your surroundings. As long as ya don't do anything "dangerous" and put yourself in a bad spot you should be fine. 

I will suggest that if you are solo make sure ya have a number stored in your cell for assistance if needed. Granted you may have this covered already but if not I am just throwing it out there.  

Here is a number if you don't have one. If you run into anything or have any questions on trail give them a ring. 

814-455-8673

Have a good trip Doug. 




11:44 a.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Trip went well, but man was it hot & humid.  I was sweating just laying in my hammock at 10 at night:(  Overall did about 20 miles in two days, decided to cut the trip short to spend Labor Day with the family.  I did fairly okay on the hills, but think I need additional work before tackling the GC.  Going to plan some semi-local trips this fall instead.


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3:58 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Doug, glad to hear all went well. I can totally relate to the the hot & humid thing. At times it can feel like a rain forest up there.  

Fall is right around the corner. I know I can't wait. I love fall but winter is my favorite. Just something about being on the trail that time of year for me. 

Were there alot of people up there? I was thinking the shelters may possibly be a little more congested being its a holiday.

7:26 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick, 4 of the 5 shelters were taken.  Not many people on the trail though, only passed a few, probably due to the heat.  Looking forward to fall myself...

7:43 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Maybe a scout troop? Anytime I hit the shelter sites I typically pick somewhere as far away as possible when it comes to my tent site. Not that I don't want to chat with people etc but more that I kind of like the solitude. Those shelter areas can get somewhat crowded. 

7:48 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Not sure but I don't think so on the scout troop, it wasn't that noisy.  I had the farthest away shelter, & only took a quick look as I was leaving in the morning.  I fell asleep in my hammock in the late afternoon & didn't get a chance to chat with anyone.   

7:56 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Did ya get hammered with any rain? Last time I was up there I did. 

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