Laurel Highland Trail information request
Jul 30, 2020 at 5:02 am #3667589Jeffrey PetersBPL Member
Has anyone thru hiked the Laurel Highland Trail with a troop? I am think of offering this next summer as a trip for scouts who don’t meet the age requirements for traditional high adventure camps. I figured 6 day /5 nights. Let me hear your experiences and advise.Jul 30, 2020 at 6:23 am #3667591Kevin BabioneBPL Member
Another BPL’er just finished the LHHT – here’s his trip report. I did the first 20 miles from Ohiopyle heading north in 2015 and then did the remaining 50 miles (still northbound) last year with 5 other adults. A couple of thoughts for you:
- No matter which way you hike it, your first day will be rough because you have to get up on the Laurel Highlands ridge, but if you start in Seward and head south it’s a little less demoralizing because you don’t have the down and up again that you do coming out of Ohiopyle. As the Noble Duke of York once said, “When you’re up, you’re up” and that’s certainly true of the LHHT. There’s some elevation change in the middle 45 miles of the trail, but it’s nothing like the ends.
- You can count on the shelters and leave the tents (and their associated weight) behind. You’re limited to the designated campsites and they all have shelters…Why not take advantage of them? I booked a shelter for each night even though three of us were in hammocks – the other three guys just set up their inners in the shelter for protection from the mice. Having a reserved shelter was really nice the one night when it was pouring because it gave us a dry place to eat dinner together. You could easily put 5 scouts in each shelter on sleeping pads (and perhaps up to 7 if that makes your numbers work better, but it would be tight and they’d have to be good with their gear). There are pegs or hooks to hang packs inside the shelters to free up floor space.
- You’ll have to plan your trip in advance and reserve your spots. We hiked it in April and only saw other people at one campsite, but I’d book your sites/shelters as soon as you have your time set to make sure you get what you want. 6 days and 5 nights is very doable – it’s how we hiked it. You’ll have a couple of longer (around 14 miles) days, but plan on those in the middle part of the trail and you’ll be okay. Some of the shelters are pretty far off the trail – I think one is a full mile away from the actual trail. Be prepared for some complaining…
PM me if you’d like more information or a link to a pretty good map. We had two guys from NY on the trip and we did a lot of mid-hike car shuttling so that their cars were waiting in Seward when we rolled off the trail so that they could get started home while the other four of us piled into one car to head back and get our remaining vehicle.Jul 30, 2020 at 1:19 pm #3667630Jeffrey PetersBPL Member
Thanks Kevin, My current plan was to go from Seward to Ohiopyle. Have parents drop us off and pick us up . The hike plan that I found would make the last trail day 6-7 miles. I figured start early that day and get into Ohiopyle and let the boys cool off at the natural water slide for a while before the parents show up. I understand there is around the mid point a place where we can come off the trail and get some real food. I want this to be a non rushed trip. I loved Philmont but busting butt to make it to program was a pain.Jul 30, 2020 at 2:55 pm #3667633Kevin BabioneBPL Member
Sounds great – On one of our “shuttle days” we hit a diner for breakfast on the way back to the trail. Dropping everyone off at Seward and picking them up at Ohiopyle will save a tremendous amount of time. Our logistics were ridiculous…We had one guy (from NY) who left his car at Ohiopyle because he didn’t do the first 20 miles of the trail with us originally. We started our hike at Rte. 653 (after shuttling a car further north) and then the other NY guy met us at the Rte. 31 access point the next day. We had cars strewn all over that trail!Jul 31, 2020 at 8:04 pm #3667825Evan McCarthyBPL Member
I hiked from Seward to Ohiopyle this month on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. Thanks to Kevin for linking my trip report. You can definitely do a full resupply at the Highlands Market just based on what they have in the store. Also, concur that it’s a fairly flat and perfectly maintained trail. If you’re hiking in the summer/fall, be prepared for it to be a bit dry. But there’s always metallic water at the shelter area pumps. You should have a great time with the troop on it. Good call on the river at Ohiopyle to cool off at the end. That was pretty memorable for us.
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