Exploring Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park

An autumn view of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park is arguably the most photogenic and most photographed waterfall in western Pennsylvania!

Cucumber Falls on a summer morning.
The falls on a summer morning.

A graceful 30 foot drop that looks simply magnificent in all seasons.

A young explorer checking out Cucumber Falls.
A young explorer checking out the falls.

So where exactly is Cucumber Falls, and what do you need to know before you visit?

High flow and muddy water at Cucumber Falls.
High flow and muddy water at Cucumber Falls.

Getting There

How to Find Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park

  1. From the town of Ohiopyle proceed south on Route 381 and make a right turn on Kentuck Road.

    Note: Kentuck Road is erroneously shown as Ohiopyle Road on Google Maps, and possibly on your navigation as well. A map showing the location of the Cucumber Falls parking lot at Ohiopyle State Park.

  2. Travel 1/3 of a mile on Kentuck Road and look for Cucumber Falls parking area on the right.

    Navigate to GPS Coordinates 39.862901, -79.502533 to find the lot.

  3. Park in the large gravel lot.

    Walk to the top of Cucumber Falls, just a few yards from the back corner of the parking area.
    Although it looks empty here, the parking lot fills up FAST on the weekends!
    The parking lot at Cucumber Falls.


Exploring the Falls

A staircase leading to an upper observation area, and then on down to the base of the falls, is located just a few steps from the the gravel parking lot.

Cucumber Falls sign at Ohiopyle State Park
Sign near the staircase.

On the back of the large Cucumber Falls sign near the stairs is a smaller sign indicating that Cucumber Falls was once part of Keister Park, a privately owned parcel of land.

Keister Park sign at Cucumber Falls.
Keister Park sign.

History of Keister Park and Ohiopyle State Park

In 1961 Mrs. Albert F. Keister gifted Cucumber Falls and 589 acres of surrounding land to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Sign near Cucumber Falls.
Sign near Cucumber Falls.

In addition, Pittsburgh businessman and department store mogul Edgar Kauffman donated the 100 acre Ferncliff Peninsula to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1962.

History of how Keister Park lead to the formation of Ohiopyle State Park.
History of how Keister Park led to the formation of Ohiopyle State Park.

These two parcels were the beginnings of Ohiopyle State Park in 1965.

The history of Keister Park as it relates to Cucumber Falls and Ohiopyle State Park.
History of the land donations that led to the formation of Ohiopyle State Park, on display in the nearby Visitor Center.

Viewing Cucumber Falls From Above

Cucumber Falls surrounded by snow and ice.
The falls surrounded by snow and ice.

Despite being referred to as a “roadside waterfalls” in many publications, it should be noted that Cucumber Falls is not wheelchair accessible. A handful of stair steps separates the parking lot from the upper observation area.

Fall foliage views from the top of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage views from the top.

From this upper observation are you catch your first glimpse of the falls.

Cucumber Falls after spring thaw.
Spring thaw.

In the winter, when the falls sometimes freeze solid, you can be sure that the remaining steps down to the base of the falls are equally icy.

Frozen Cucumber Falls as viewed from the upper observation area.
Frozen Cucumber Falls as viewed from the upper observation area.

So either come prepared with microspike on your boots, or don’t go beyond this point!

Stairs leading to the bottom of Cucumber Falls.
Stairs leading to the bottom.

Viewing Cucumber Falls From Below

After a drenching rain the falls can cover nearly the entire amphitheatre of rock as the water plunges 30 feet to the pool below.

High flow at Cucumber Falls.
High flow.

In late summer / early fall when the area is usually at its driest, Cucumber Falls more closely resembles a silver needle piercing the air.

Low flow at Cucumber Falls.
Low flow.

Not every autumn is dry in the Laurel Highlands – sometimes you get lucky and the water levels are up when the foliage is changing.

Fall foliage at Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage at Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

When conditions are perfect in the winter, a thin layer of hoar frost turns Cucumber Falls into something out of a “Frozen” fairytale.

Hoar frost surrounding Cucumber Falls.
Hoar frost.

Standing behind the falls gives you another visual and auditory perspective.

Rusty Glessner behind Cucumber Falls.
The author behind Cucumber Falls.

The runoff after a heavy rain turns Cucumber Run into something resembling the river in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

A side view of Cucumber Falls after heavy rain.
A side view of the falls after heavy rain.

And the roar from behind the falls can be deafening!

Rusty Glessner behind Cucumber Falls.
The author behind the falls.

Winter is, by far, my favorite season to visit Cucumber Falls.

Cucumber Falls surrounded by a fresh blanket of snow.
A fresh blanket of snow.

Seeing the waterfalls grind to a frozen halt is a sight you won’t soon forget!

Cucumber Falls frozen solid after a prolonged coldspell.
Cucumber Falls frozen solid after a prolonged coldspell.

Final Thoughts

If you could visit only one waterfall in western Pennsylvania, THIS is the one I would recommend!

Vibrant fall foliage at Cucumber Falls.
Vibrant fall foliage at Cucumber Falls.

I hope YOU have a chance to visit it soon.

Cucumber Falls during heavy rain.
Cucumber Falls during heavy rain.


Looking for a place to call home during your stay in Ohiopyle?

Discover Ohiopyle offers an array of rustic cottages and cabins, luxurious honeymoon spots and retreats, hotels, campgrounds, and even more unique options, like tree houses!

An Ohiopyle vacation rental available through Discover Ohiopyle.
Photo courtesy of Discover Ohiopyle.

If you’re looking for an Ohiopyle lodging experience like no other, look no further than Discover Ohiopyle.

An Ohiopyle vacation rental home available through Discover Ohiopyle.
Photo courtesy of Discover Ohiopyle.

Nearby Attractions

Looking for even MORE waterfall action at Ohiopyle State Park?

Then be sure to check out 10 Must-See Waterfalls at Ohiopyle State Park, where you’ll find maps and detailed directions to the 10 best waterfall spots at Ohiopyle State Park!

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

And don’t forget – you’re just minutes away from the world-famous Fallingwater, designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and located just up the road along Route 381.

Fallingwater as seen from the "Classic View" on the Visitor Center map.
Fallingwater on a winter day.

Kentuck Knob in Fayette County is another nearby Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, built in 1954 for Isaac and Bernardine Hagan, founders of the Hagan Ice Cream company in nearby Uniontown, PA.

The sandstone walls and cantilevered roof over the patio surrounding Kentuck Knob.
The sandstone walls and cantilevered roof over the patio at Kentuck Knob in Fayette County.

If you’re looking to get some hiking in while visiting Cucumber Falls, be sure to check out 10 of the Best Hiking Trails at Ohiopyle State Park.

The Youghiogheny River Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
The Youghiogheny River Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

If you enjoy a great vista, be sure to check out The 14 Best Scenic Overlooks in the Laurel Highlands.

A young hiker takes in the winter view at Baughman Rock Overlook, Ohiopyle State Park.
A young hiker takes in the winter view at Baughman Rock Overlook, Ohiopyle State Park.

If you’re visiting in the fall, be sure to check out The 12 Best Places to View Fall Foliage at Ohiopyle State Park.

Fall foliage around the High Bridge at Ohiopyle State Park in the Laurel Highlands.
The High Bridge at Ohiopyle State Park in mid-October.

If you’re visiting in the winter, be sure to check out 10 Amazing Winter Scenes at Ohiopyle State Park.

A snowy winter view of the Youghiogheny River along the Ferncliff Trail at Ohiopyle State Park
A snowy winter view of the Youghiogheny River along the Ferncliff Trail at Ohiopyle State Park

Fort Necessity in Fayette County is the site of the first battle in what would become known in North America as the French and Indian War.

The modern-day replica of Fort Necessity at the National Battlefield in Fayette County PA
Fort Necessity in Fayette County.

Laurel Caverns in Fayette County is billed as “Pennsylvania’s Largest Cave”, and is a great way to spend an hour or two BENEATH the Laurel Highlands!

The overhead Grand Canyon of Laurel Caverns.
The overhead Grand Canyon of Laurel Caverns.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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