Exploring Laurel Mountain State Park in Westmoreland County

Exploring Laurel Mountain State Park Ski Area in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania

Laurel Mountain State Park is a 493-acre ski resort in Westmoreland County, donated to the state in 1964 by Richard K. Mellon.

Entrance to Laurel Mountain State Park ski area.
Entrance to the park.

Started in 1939 as a private facility by Mellon and other wealthy Pittsburgh industrialists, it was opened to the public following World War II and became popularly known as the “Ski Capital of Pennsylvania.”

Laurel Lodge patio and warming area at Laurel Mountain State Park.
Laurel Lodge patio and warming area.

While the park land is owned by the state, the skiing assets are owned and operated Vail Resorts, who in 2021 purchased nearby Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Resort, and the Laurel Mountain Ski Area for $118 million.

Ski patrol at Laurel Mountain State Park ski area.
Ski patrol on the slopes.

Directions to Laurel Mountain State Park Ski Area

Laurel Mountain State Park is located roughly 11 miles east of Ligonier, or 7 miles west of Jennerstown if you’re approaching from Somerset County.

How to find Laurel Mountain State Park ski area in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania.
Map to Laurel Mountain State Park ski area.

In either event, turn off of Route 30 onto Laurel Summit Road and proceed two miles to the entrance to Laurel Mountain State Park (which will be on your right).

Laurel Mountain State Park Ski Area entrance along Laurel Summit Road.
Entrance along Laurel Summit Road.

If navigating by GPS, use coordinates 40.163773, -79.165718 for the main parking area next to Laurel Lodge at the park.

Laurel Lodge at Laurel Mountain State Park Ski Area.
Laurel Lodge on a February morning.

Skiing at Laurel Mountain State Park

Laurel Mountain boast the highest vertical drop on the Laurel Ridge in Pennsylvania at 761 feet.

Ski lift at Laurel Mountain State Park in Westmoreland County, PA.
Quad ski lift.

Laurel Mountain State Park ski area is also famous for its double diamond Lower Wildcat Slope, the steepest in Pennsylvania at an average near 60% slope! 

Skiing at Laurel Mountain State Park in Westmoreland County PA.
Skiing on a February morning in Westmoreland County.

Of course there are slopes and trails for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

Slopes and trails at Laurel Mountain State Park Ski Area in Westmoreland County PA.
Slopes and trails at Laurel Mountain State Park Ski Area.

In all, Laurel Mountain has 20 slopes and trails and a quad chairlift.

Top of the ski slopes at Laurel Mountain State Park.
Top of the ski slopes.

Laurel Lodge at Laurel Mountain State Park

Laurel Lodge is a cozy place to eat and enjoy fantastic views of the ski slopes.

Outdoor fireplace and patio at Laurel Lodge.
Outdoor fireplace and patio at Laurel Lodge.

Inside there is ample room to get warm and enjoy a bite to eat.

Inside Laurel Lodge at Laurel Mountain State Park in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania.
Inside Laurel Lodge.

The Laurel House Cafe menu includes burgers, fries, soup, chicken tenders, and pizza.

The Laurel House Cafe in side the lodge at Laurel Mountain State Park.
The Laurel House Cafe in side the lodge.

You can also rent Rossignol skis for both adults and children and Burton snowboards at the Laurel Lodge.

Snowboarders at Laurel Lodge.
Snowboarders at Laurel Lodge.

Final Thoughts

High atop Laurel Ridge, at close to 3,000 feet in elevation, Laurel Mountain State Park is situated in one of the prettiest winter areas in PA!

Snow covered trees at Laurel Mountain State Park.
Snow covered trees on Laurel Ridge.

If you’re a skier or snowboarder looking for a beautiful getaway in western PA, put Laurel Mountain State Park Ski Area on your PA Bucket List!

Ski lift at Laurel Mountain State Park ski area in the PA Laurel Highlands.
Looking out over Westmoreland County from the top of the slopes.

Nearby Attractions

Linn Run State Park is a 612 acre park in Westmoreland County, popular with hikers, campers, and picnickers.

Looking down on Adams Falls at Linn Run State Park after heavy spring rains.
Looking down on Adams Falls at Linn Run State Park after heavy spring rains.

Wolf Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest is an outstanding scenic vista overlooking Linn Run State Park.

Early December at Wolf Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.
Early December at Wolf Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.

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.

The author at Beam Rocks Overlook on a snowy day.
The author at Beam Rocks Overlook on a snowy day.

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.

Observation deck at Spruce Flats Bog in the PA Laurel Highlands.
Observation deck at Spruce Flats Bog in the PA Laurel Highlands.

Mill Creek Falls is a picturesque, cascading waterfall on an idyllic mountain stream in Westmoreland County.

Sunrise over Mill Creek Falls on State Game Lands 42 in Westmoreland County.
Sunrise over Mill Creek Falls on State Game Lands 42 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.

Fort Ligonier on a late summer morning.
Fort Ligonier on a late summer morning.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.