Exploring Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest

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An October morning at Beam Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.
An October morning at Beam Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.

Beam Rocks Overlook is one of the most scenic mountain vistas in the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania.

Located in the Forbes State Forest near the Westmoreland / Somerset County line, it offers a fantastic 180° view from high above the treetops and the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail below.

A late autumn morning at Beam Rocks.
A late autumn morning at Beam Rocks.

The hike to and from Beam Rocks Overlook is an easy one, provided you know where to start.

A one mile out and back hike along a well maintained trail, with less than 100 feet of elevation change between the parking area and the overlook.

So where DO you start the hike to this outstanding overlook?


Getting There

How to Find Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest

  1. From Route 30 near the Westmoreland / Somerset County line, turn onto Laurel Summit Road.

    A map to Beam Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.

  2. Travel 4 miles on Laurel Summit Road.

    The first 2 miles will be paved road. After passing Laurel Mountain Ski Area, the last 2 miles will be dirt state forest road.

  3. Arrive at Beam Rocks parking area at GPS coordinates 40.13467, -79.16372 .

    Beam Rocks parking area along Laurel Summit Road.

  4. Proceed down the Beam Rocks Trail from the back of the parking area.

    Beam Rocks Trailhead in the Forbes State Forest.

  5. Arrive at Beam Rocks Overlook after hiking 0.5 miles.

    Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.


Exploring Beam Rocks Overlook

First a few words on safety.

BE CAREFUL!

Beam Rocks warning sign.
Beam Rocks warning sign.

Heed the warnings posted by the DCNR.

Having said that, Beam Rocks Overlook is a very relaxing place.

Relaxing at Beam Rocks in Somerset County.
Relaxing at Beam Rocks in Somerset County.

It offers fantastic views and stellar “leaf peeping” in the fall.

Fall foliage around Beam Rocks in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
Fall foliage around Beam Rocks in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

How far you can see depends on the weather, of course.

On a foggy morning, you’re lucky if you can see a hundred yards.

A foggy morning at Beam Rocks in Somerset County.
A foggy morning at Beam Rocks in Somerset County.

Whereas on a clear day, you can see for what seems like a hundred miles.

Beam Rocks in early November.
Beam Rocks in early November.

Exploring the Crevices At Beam Rocks

In between several of the enormous rocks are crevices large enough to walk through.

A crevice between rock formations at Beam Rocks.
A crevice between rock formations at Beam Rocks.

As I mentioned earlier, use caution when exploring these areas between the rocks.

Beam Rocks in Somerset County.
Beam Rocks in Somerset County.

The Return Hike

Returning to your vehicle is a simple matter of backtracking for a half-mile along the Beam Rocks Trail.

Beam Rocks Trail in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
Beam Rocks Trail in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

The return hike is ever so slightly uphill – 90 feet of elevation change over the course of the 0.5 mile trip.

Final Thoughts

A young hiker on the Beam Rocks Trail in the Forbes State Forest.
A young hiker on the Beam Rocks Trail in the Forbes State Forest.

Beam Rocks Overlook and the Beam Rocks Trail makes for an excellent beginner’s hike.

A one mile out and back hike to a superb vista and rock formation, with very little elevation change.

If you’re exploring the best vistas in the Laurel Highlands, then Beam Rocks Overlook has to find its way onto your bucket list!


Nearby Attractions

Wolf Rocks Overlook is just minutes from Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.

Fall foliage at Wolf Rocks Overlook in Somerset County PA
Fall foliage at Wolf Rocks Overlook in Somerset County PA

Also, be sure to check out “The 10 Best Scenic Overlooks in the Laurel Highlands” for directions to ALL the best views in the region!.

A springtime sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook, Ohiopyle State Park.
A springtime sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook, Ohiopyle State Park.

Looking for more great adventures in the Forbes State Forest?

Then check out Cole Run Falls and the Cole Run Trail loop hike.

A summer view of Cole Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest.
A summer view of Cole Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest.

Or for a complete list of all the best waterfalls in the area, check out “21 Must-See Waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands”.

Selfie at Lower Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park
The author at Lower Jonathan Run Falls in the Laurel Highlands.

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