Fish Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest may be the prettiest little waterfall in Westmoreland County that you’ve never heard of!
Not only is the waterfall beautiful, but it’s located next to a historic railroad aqueduct built more than 120 years ago!
How to Find Fish Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest.
Fish Run Falls is located adjacent to the Pittsburgh, Westmoreland, and Somerset Railroad Mountain Bike Trail, or PW&S Trail for short.
The hike itself follows the bike trail for 0.3 miles down a slight grade from the parking area along Linn Run Road.
GPS coordinates for the Fish Run Falls parking area are 40.12640, -79.19427.
Near the trailhead is a small clearing with several interpretive exhibits related to the Pittsburgh, Westmoreland, and Somerset Railroad.
The Pittsburgh, Westmoreland, and Somerset Railroad
The PW&S Railroad started out as a timber train, hauling logs cut in what is now the Forbes State Forest and Linn Run State Park to a sawmill in Ligonier.
The finished lumber was then hauled further west to Latrobe and Pittsburgh.
Eventually the PW&S also hauled passengers back and forth between Somerset and Pittsburgh, as well as points in-between.
Just down the road from Fish Run Falls, you’ll find a section of the old PW&S railbed at Linn Run State Park, along with more historical displays about the railroad.
Hiking to Fish Run Falls in Westmoreland County
The hike to Fish Run Falls from the parking area along Linn Run Road is relatively short at 0.3 miles (one way), with a slight decline on the way to the falls from the parking area(100 feet of elevation change between parking area and falls).
Along the hike you’ll cross a pair of wooden bridges, before reaching Fish Run Falls at GPS coordinates 40.12951, -79.19819.
Photographing Fish Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest
The are lots of angles to photograph Fish Run Falls from, starting with the PW&S Trail which sits above Fish Run.
Down at stream level, this is a shallow body of water (best visited after heavy rain or spring thaw), so crossing back and forth is a pretty straightforward affair.
There really are no “bad” angles to shoot this waterfall from.
And the fall foliage views here are EXCELLENT in October!
The PW&S Railroad Aqueducts
A pair of stone aqueducts built by the PW&S Railroad would have allowed trains to to cross Fish Run as they went up and down Laurel Mountain.
The viaducts are separated by approximately 100 yards, with the one closest to Fish Run Falls being the easier of the two to explore.
These two aqueducts are products of functional necessity, with no style points being sought during their construction.
Compare that to the intricate, 199 foot-long abandoned South Penn Railroad Aqueduct in Fulton County.
Nevertheless, these rough-looking stone aqueducts are still standing, having carried the waters of Fish Run beneath the old rail bed turned bike trail for more than 120 years.
Linn Run State Park is a 612 acre park in Westmoreland County, popular with hikers, campers, and picnickers.
Wolf Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest is an outstanding scenic vista overlooking Linn Run State Park.
Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest offers a fantastic 180° eastern view from high above the treetops and the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail below.
Spruce Flats Bog is one of the most unique ecosystems in all of Pennsylvania – a high altitude bog featuring plants and trees found nowhere else in the state.
Adam Falls is a picturesque 12 foot tall waterfall at Linn Run State Park.
The abandoned hunting lodge at Linn Run State Park is a remarkable set of ruins from the early days of “retreat camping” in western Pennsylvania.
Mill Creek Falls is a picturesque, cascading waterfall on an idyllic mountain stream in Westmoreland County.
Fort Ligonier in Westmoreland County is a historically accurate reproduction of a British fort originally constructed in 1758 during what would become known as the French and Indian War.
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