So, when we last left our adventurers, the Fantastic 5 were headed home from a trip to Ohio – but more exploits awaited. If you head back East from the Cleveland area, and don’t mind taking the southerly route, what beautiful state park is not-too-much out of the way? Ohiopyle, PA! Yes, and we talked the Sylvia Starlight family into joining us. So southward we went, towards Cucumber Falls, the Youghiogheny River, and, as it turned out, some very lovely yurts.
Kids on a bridge, Cleverly selfie in front of Cucumber Falls
We Fantastics had gone to Ohiopyle as part of a bike-camp adventure in June of 2012. We loved the place, especially the natural water slides that are a part of Meadow Run. We didn’t expect to swim much this trip but wanted to explore the park some more.
Since our friends were coming, when we saw the off-season rates ($35 per weeknight) for the yurts, we reserved two online. There are also ‘rustic’ cabins there, which cost the same but have fewer amenities. The yurts are in great condition, in fact they seem fairly new. They have bunk beds that sleep 5 (one has a double lower bed), a stove, refrigerator, microwave, electric lights, fan and heater. They are rather close together, which didn’t matter to us since we were mostly the only ones there. There was one night that a boy scout group came and were a little noisy. Also, it turned out we Fantastics were in the yurt they reserved, oops. I considered it karma for the night the Boy Scouts took our Delaware Water Gap site in 2013. At any rate, they graciously used the other yurts and only stayed one night.
inside and outside yurt #3
The yurts got a little stuffy in the warm weather we had, even with fans on and windows open, so I imagine they would be pretty hot in the summer. Other than that, we were very happy with them. Keep in mind that there is no oven, so you don’t end up trying to make pizza in the frying pan and microwave like I did! Actually, that turned out ok, but I didn’t even try making the corn bread I had planned. Also, like the cabins as World’s End, there is no water, so one uses the bathroom building for washing dishes. Outside the yurt are a deck, picnic table and fire pit.
outside yurt (L), and the bathroom building (R)
Visitors may want to know that they yurts, in fact all the camping areas, are about a 4-mile uphill drive from the main part of the park. Alternatively, one could walk on the trails for significantly less mileage but note that the elevation change is hundreds of feet – i.e., you have a tough climb back up to the campground at the end of the day. We generally drove down each day and had no trouble parking and enjoying the trails, etc., then driving back.
Natural water slides
This is a big draw for Ohiopyle and for good reason. The moss-covered portion of Meadow Run is a slippery, smooth journey amid rocks and trees. We were so lucky to have warm enough water for a few times down. Fiercely took a great video of one of the twins going down the slides but it won’t load! Here are some stills.
Like I said, we lucked out on the weather!
Town of Ohiopyle and the Visitor Center
Ohiopyle itself once was a town with a mill and two railroads. It retains some historic buildings, repurposed for the outdoor tourism crowd. One of the railroads is now the amazing bike trail called The Great Allegheny Passage, which we utilized during our bike trip last time. This trip we had ice cream at a shop that had been the town mill.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Falling Water is just a few miles from the park and in my opinion it ups the game of the surrounding architecture. Nearby houses with wood and stone and large windows perch over the beautiful river, and within the park even the bathrooms feature natural light and pleasing rock walls. The new visitor center is especially pretty.
Inside and outside the visitor center. The lower floor has glass walls overlooking Ohiopyle Falls and, according to staff, will soon have nature exhibits. Upstairs are mannequin rafters and a floor with a river map. Outside are deck overlooks and wildflowers – gorgeous!
We took a little hike near Cucumber Falls, not far from the water slides. We followed a side trail and ended up down at the river where there were large rocks. The rapids were formidable and we didn’t venture in at this spot. We climbed around and looked at the rocks and sky and white water moving by. A group of rafters came by, it looked like a lot of fun.
That was most of the trip! The drive back was beautiful. Here are a couple of shots from the drive. What a pretty corner of the state!