Laurel Hill State Park consists of 4,062 acres of mountainous terrain in Somerset County. The 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake is a focal point of the park.
Laurel Hill is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine state park and state forest lands.
A trail system invites visitors to explore the park and observe the diversity of plants and wildlife. The Jones Mill Run Dam and the Hemlock Trail Natural Area are two must-see destinations on your visit.
Hiking at Laurel Hill State Park
15 miles of trails
Most trails are wide, easily followed, and blazed in yellow. Routed signs are posted at intersections of various trails.
2.75 miles, more difficult hiking
Beltz Trail follows an old road grade and provides access to many of the park’s trails as well as several on Forbes State Forest.
1 mile, most difficult hiking
The most remote trail, this very steep path is not recommended for the beginning hiker. To avoid most inclines, hikers should start from Beltz Trail.
Copper Kettle Trail
1 mile, easiest hiking
This new, family-friendly bike trail meanders along the western shoreline of Laurel Hill Lake. It connects Picnic Area #4 and the beach area, provides excellent fishing access and allows you to explore the park without using your vehicle.
1.2 miles, more difficult hiking
Narrow at times and running along steep banks at places, this trail loops through the six-acre natural area. Hemlock Trail Natural Area is a stand of old growth eastern hemlock trees along the banks of Laurel Hill Creek.
1.75 miles, most difficult hiking
This scenic trail winds along Laurel Hill Creek and follows the eastern shore of Laurel Hill Lake. This steep, narrow, sloping path is slippery in places and is the park’s most difficult trail.
1 mile, easiest hiking
This wide trail passes through a number of forest ecosystems and provides the widest variety of tree species during fall foliage.
1.6 miles, easiest hiking
A slow, gradual incline leads from the Pumphouse Trail Parking Lot along a wide path to the Jones Mill Run Dam. Benches and large rocks provide a resting place where visitors can enjoy this scenic historic site built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
1.5 miles, more difficult hiking
This wide, grassy trail is often used as a wildlife corridor. It offers the best opportunity for chance encounters with wildlife and viewing animal tracks and signs.
Tram Road Trail
1.7 miles, more difficult hiking
This trail follows the general course of the logging railroad that traversed Laurel Hill State Park and Jones Mill Run in the early 1900s.
0.6 mile, more difficult hiking
An uphill grade from the Pumphouse Trail Parking Lot, this trail is perfect for viewing geologic features such as the lepidodendron fossils common to the park.
Picnicking at Laurel Hill State Park
Three picnic areas have more than 500 picnic tables:
Trent Picnic Area has horseshoe pits, a large ball field, playground equipment, and two picnic pavilions.
Beach Picnic Area is by the beach and has playground equipment, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball court, boat rental, and three picnic pavilions.
Old Mill Picnic Area, located at the upper end of the lake by the boat mooring and launching area, provides excellent shoreline fishing.
Five picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Stay the Night at Laurel Hill State Park
flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
Of the 262 campsites, 149 have electric hook-ups. Some sites have full-service hook up, which includes sewer, water, and electricity. The campground has:
Sanitary dumping stations
Swimming at Laurel Hill State Park
A 1,200-foot sand beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8:00 A.M. to sunset.
Maximum depth is five feet.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. The beach has an:
ADA accessible ramp to the lake
ADA accessible beach wheelchair
ADA accessible restroom
A food concession is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Swim at your own risk.
Please read and follow posted rules.
Swimming is only permitted within the designated buoy areas.
Smoking is prohibited on the beach and in the swimming area.
For visitors who smoke and still want to use the beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes:
Other handheld, lighted smoking devices
Wildlife Watching at Laurel Hill State Park
The rich flora and fauna of Laurel Hill State Park make it a great place to watch wildlife year round. The mixed deciduous forest is dominated by oak, maple, cherry, and poplar trees with an understory of witch hazel, serviceberry, rhododendron, and mountain laurel.
Although most of the park was timbered in the early 1900s, for unknown reasons the Hemlock Trail Natural Area remains intact. The massive eastern hemlocks within this six-acre old growth stand are now approaching the climax stage of succession.
Wildflowers are common and range from the early blooming snow trillium and spring beauties that grace the trail edges, to the goldenrod and sow thistles that color the fields and roadsides well into November.
Whether by sound or sight, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of bird species, both migrant and resident. Especially popular are the tree swallows and eastern bluebirds that inhabit the park’s twenty-box cavity-nesting trail. The trail winds from below the campground to the meadow across from the visitor center. This relatively open area is also a popular hunting ground for diurnal raptors, such as the red-tailed hawk and nocturnal predators such as tiny screech owls that nest in the area each year.
In the spring and early summer, calls of spring peepers, bullfrogs, and American toads fill the night, intermingled with the haunting calls of great horned and barred owls. Ruffed grouse drum on air making a sound like an engine trying to start.
Late in the summer, the chirps, trills and buzzes of katydids, cicadas, and tree crickets fill the night.
Small Mammals like woodchucks, chipmunks, and gray, red, and fox squirrels are commonly seen throughout the park during daylight hours.
White-tailed deer and eastern cottontail rabbits are most often seen at dawn or dusk in the more open meadow areas.
The elusive mink, fox, black bear, coyote, bobcat, and fisher have been spotted in the park.
Familiar to every camper are the skunk, raccoon, and opossum that frequent the park in search of carelessly stored camp foods.
Please observe wildlife only from a distance and do not feed wildlife.
Boating at Laurel Hill State Park
electric motors only
The 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake has 30 mooring sites and two boat launches.
An additional non-powered boat launch is in Picnic Area #1 and is part of a six-mile water trail that ends at an improved take out at the historic Kings Covered Bridge.
Fishing at Laurel Hill State Park
The 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake has warmwater and coldwater fish. Laurel Hill Creek and Jones Mill Run are excellent trout streams.
Common species are:
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. A fishing pier for people with disabilities is near the bridge over Laurel Hill Creek.
A fishing license, not available at the park office, is required for people ages 16 and older.
The natural ice of the 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake is open to ice fishing. Common species caught through the ice are:
Ice thickness is not monitored.
Hunting at Laurel Hill State Park
During established seasons, more than 2,200 acres are open to:
Training of dogs
Most of Laurel Hill Lake is open to goose and waterfowl hunting.
Common game species are:
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas.
Mountain Biking at LaureL Hill State Park
15 miles of trails
Many of the trails at Laurel Hill are open to mountain biking, including:
Copper Kettle Trail
Sledding at Laurel Hill State Park
A sledding hill is located in the field loop area of the campground. It is lighted on weekends until 9:00 P.M. as conditions permit.
A large fire ring and wood are also provided for sledders.
Snowmobiling at Laurel Hill State Park
The 10-mile trail system in the park connects with a more than 120-mile trail system in Forbes State Forest.
The trail system is open daily for registered snowmobiles after the end of deer season in late December. Trail maps are available at the park office.
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