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Hiking Guides

The Laurel Highlands: A Hiking Guide
Monika Vucic, Mark Christy, Jan Frissora, Kim and Tom Metzgar, TomBeebee, Palvina & Chavaya Beebee-Galvao, Judy Rodd, Bruce Sundquist

The ridges of southwestern Pennsylvania--Chestnut Ridge, Laurel Ridge and Allegheny Front--contain the bulk of the scenic public lands in the region. Nowhere else in southwestern Pennsylvania can one find large expanses of nature-oriented and outdoor-recreation-oriented public lands for public enjoyment. The best way to gain access to the scenery and natural values of the region is by way of the roughly 550 miles of foot trails that blanket the 218 sq. miles of state forests, state parks and state gamelands of the "Laurel Highlands".

The Sierra Club's new guide "The Laurel Highlands: A Hiking Guide", gives you all the information you need to enjoy this major recreational and natural resource. This 288-page Guide describes opportunities for hiking, backpacking and ski-touring on 446 miles of foot trails on the public lands of these Laurel Highlands. It omits the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail because that is described in a separate guide devoted exclusively to that trail. It also omits some trails in the Mt. Davis area of Forbes State Forest, the 26-mile Lost Turkey Trail on Gallitzin State Forest (which offers a map and brief guide), and some trails on State Gamelands #51 adjacent to Ohiopyle State Park. Covered in this guide are the foot trails of the following public lands in the Laurel High lands:

State Parks: (sq. miles) State Forests (sq. miles)
Ohiopyle Park (30)  Forbes (86)
Laurel Ridge (24)  Gallitzin (30)
Coopers Rock (20) Other Public Lands:
Blue Knob ( 9)  Bear Run Nature Res. ( 8)
Laurel Hill ( 6) Lower ICV Trail ( 4)
Linn Run ( 1)   
Kooser (0.4) Total Public Lands: 218 sq. miles

Peaks on ridges in the Laurel Highlands are at altitudes between 2500 and 3000 ft. Allegheny Front is the "backbone" of the Appalachian Mountains in this part of the country. It is the highest, the most rugged, and the most remote from major centers of population. Laurel Ridge is closer to population centers and contains an amazing wealth of public lands--state forests, state parks, and state gamelands. It is probably the most popular region for outdoor recreation in western Pennsylvania. Chestnut Ridge is closest to major population centers but contains less public land so it is not as popular among outdoor recreationists as Laurel Ridge. All of these ridges are heavily forested, largely because the steepness of the ridge slopes makes them poor sites for urban developments.

Besides trail descriptions, this 6x9" soft-cover Guide provides 26 pages of USGS topographic maps showing trail routes. Trail routes on the maps are keyed to the descriptive text to make using this guide as easy as possible. This Guide gives other information as well:

  How to get to the trailheads
  Information on ski-touring and backpacking in the Laurel Highlands
  32 photographs of some of the scenery to be seen along the trails
  Ratings of trail scenery, condition and difficulty (hiking and skiing)
  Altitude changes, stream crossing and other maps
  Information on organizations open to the public that use foot trails
  foot-trail maintenance, water purification, and hiking ethics

To get your copy of "The Laurel Highlands: A Hiking Guide" send a check or credit card information for $12.00 plus $3 shipping, plus six percent sales tax, to Mid-Atlantic Karst Conservancy, P.O.Box 52, Blairsville, PA 15717. Please make checks payable to Mid-Atlantic Karst Conservancy


Allegheny National Forest Hiking Guide - $10.00



Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide - $15.00



The Laurel Highlands: A Hiking Guide - $12.00


A Hiker's Guide to Laurel Highlands Trail - $6.00