Exploring the Cascades Along the Meadow Run Trail at Ohiopyle State Park

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The Lower Cascades on Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.
The Lower Cascades on Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.

The Cascades along the Meadow Run Trail are a pair of nearly 100-foot wide waterfalls located in the southern portion of Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands region.

The Upper and Lower Cascades are but two of the highlights of a 1.85 mile Meadow Run Trail loop.

If a pleasant hike along a well-maintained trail featuring enormous rock formations, fossils, and the aforementioned waterfalls intrigues you, then read on as I tell you exactly how to find all of these features while exploring the Cascades along the Meadow Run Trail.


Getting There

A map showing the location of the Cascades on Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.
A map showing the location of the Cascades on Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.

How to Find the Cascades along the Meadow Run Trail at Ohiopyle State Park

  1. From Route 381 south of Ohiopyle, turn onto Dinnerbell Road.

    Look for the Meadow Run Trailhead area sign along Dinnerbell Road and park here.
    Meadow Run Trailhead along Dinnerbell Road at Ohiopyle State Park.

  2. Look for the trail sign pictured below near the back lower corner of the parking area.

    Follow the trail towards Flatrock. This may seem counterintuitive, but this makes for a MUCH more pleasant loop hike as you will start and finish you hike going downhill.
    Meadow Run Trail sign near parking area.

  3. At 0.48 miles reach Flatrock along Meadow Run.
    GPS Coordinates for Flatrock: 39.85553, -79.48925

    After hiking downhill for roughly half a mile, you’ll encounter this popular spot along Meadow Run.Flat Rock along Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.

  4. Hike upstream along the Meadow Run Trail for 0.55 miles to the Lower Cascades on Meadow Run.

    As you reach the Lower Cascades you’ll see the faded sign below along the trail, on your left. Trail sign at the Lower Cascades on Meadow Run

  5. Arrive at the Lower Cascades on Meadow Run.
    GPS Coordinates for the Lower Cascades Falls: 39.84899, -79.48993

    The Lower Cascades along the Meadow Run Trail.

  6. Proceed up the Meadow Run Trail 0.25 miles to the Upper Cascades.

    You’ll see the sign below along the trail.
    Sign along the Meadow Run Trail at the Upper Cascades.

  7. Arrive at the Upper Cascades on Meadow Run.
    GPS Coordinates for the Upper Cascades Falls: 39.84912, -79.49042

    The Upper Cascades Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

  8. Continue following the yellow-blazed Meadow Run Trail for approximately 150 yards as it turns sharply right and starts uphill towards the rock climbing area.

    Ascending the Meadow Run Trail at Ohiopyle State Park towards the rock climbing area.

  9. Arrive at the rock climbing area.
    GPS Coordinates for the Rock Climbing Area: 39.84989, -79.48992

    Rusty Glessner approaching the Meadow Run climbing area at Ohiopyle State Park.

  10. Continue past the rock climbing area for 0.7 miles as the trail descends back towards your vehicle, completing the 1.85 mile Meadow Run Loop.


Flatrock along Meadow Run

Fly fisherman at Flat Rock along the Meadow Run Trail.
Fly fisherman at Flat Rock along the Meadow Run Trail.

Flatrock is a popular destination for hikers and fishermen alike.

As the name implies, it is a massive flat rock, filled with natural “potholes”.


Meadow Run Between Flatrock and the Cascades

Numerous photo-ops exist between Flatrock and the Lower Cascades, as you make your way upstream along the Meadow Run Trail.

An autumn view of Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.
An autumn view of Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.

This is another reason I like hiking the Meadow Run Loop in a clockwise fashion, as your eyes are always looking upstream.

Unnamed cascades along Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.
Unnamed cascades along Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.

In my opinion, this makes it easier to spot the “good stuff”.


Lower Cascades on Meadow Run

The Lower Cascades have more of the traditional waterfall appearance to them.

Fall foliage along the Meadow Run Trail at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage along the Meadow Run Trail at Ohiopyle State Park.

When the temperatures are below freezing, small ice formations dangle from the laurel around the falls.

A late February view of the Lower Cascades Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
A late February view of the Lower Cascades Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

Of course there’s no “bad” season to visit the Lower Cascades Falls.

The Lower Cascades Falls along the Meadow Run Trail.
The Lower Cascades Falls along the Meadow Run Trail.

Upper Cascades on Meadow Run

The Upper Cascades are more complex than the Lower Cascades.

The Upper Cascades on Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.
The Upper Cascades on Meadow Run at Ohiopyle State Park.

After a hard rain the Upper Cascades swell to raging proportions.

A side view of the Upper Cascades on Meadow Run after the spring thaw.
A side view of the Upper Cascades on Meadow Run after the spring thaw.

While at other times of year you can easily walk out across the falls to photograph the far side from up close.

A summer view of the Upper Cascades on Meadow Run.
A summer view of the Upper Cascades on Meadow Run.

Final Thoughts

The Cascades along the Meadow Run Trail are just two of the many waterfalls at Ohiopyle State Park.

As far as stature, they rival Ohiopyle Falls in width.

A snow-covered winter scene at Ohiopyle Falls.
A snow-covered winter scene at Ohiopyle Falls.

As far as hikes go, this one rivals the Jonathan Run Falls hike at Ohiopyle for sheer beauty.

A summer scene at Upper Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park.
A summer scene at Upper Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park.

And as far as popularity, the Cascades on Meadow Run are right up there with Cucumber Falls in the summer months.

Cucumber Falls on a summer morning.
Cucumber Falls on a summer morning.

Throw in all the other outstanding sights to see along this hike, and I can’t think of a much better short hike (under 2 miles) at Ohiopyle State Park than the Meadow Run Trail.


Nearby Attractions

Looking for even MORE waterfall action nearby?

Then check out my Ohiopyle State Park Waterfall Guide!

The author at Lower Jonathan Run Falls in the spring of 2019.
The author at Lower Jonathan Run Falls in the spring of 2019.

In this guide you’ll find detailed maps and directions to the 10 best waterfall spots at Ohiopyle State Park!


Still not convinced you need to explore the Cascades on Meadow Run?

Then check out this video!


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