Exploring Laurel Run Overlook in Fayette County

October morning at Laurel Run Overlook in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

Laurel Run Overlook is one of several exceptional scenic vistas along the Fayette County portion of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

This 70 mile-long hiking trail stretches along Laurel Mountain from the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park to the Conemaugh River Gorge near Johnstown.

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
The 70 mile-long Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

What I’m going to share with you here are a few different routes to reach Laurel Run Overlook, as well as photos of what to expect when you visit it yourself!

Laurel Run Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Fayette County, PA/
Laurel Run Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Fayette County, PA.

How to Find Laurel Run Overlook

Located between mile markers 21 and 22 on the official DCNR Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail map below, Laurel Run Overlook is a rougly 2.5 mile hike from the Route 653 trail head.

A map of the Laurel HIghlands Hiking Trail near Laurel Run Overlook.
A map of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail near Laurel Run Overlook.

There is also a second parking area, much closer to Laurel Run Overlook, within the boundaries of Laurel Ridge State Park.

A map to the parking area along Earl Ansell Road near Laurel Run Overlook
A map to the parking area along Earl Ansell Road near Laurel Run Overlook.

Located near the intersection of John Henry Road and Earl Ansell Road (shown as Kings Mountain Road on some maps), this parking area is situated in a large mountaintop meadow, close to a snowmobile trail.

Parking area along Earl Ansell Road at Laurel Ridge State Park.
Parking area along Earl Ansell Road at Laurel Ridge State Park.

The GPS coordinates for the Earl Ansell Road parking area are 39.98494, -79.34656.

Please note – the forest roads within Laurel Ridge State Park are not maintained in the winter, and this route is not advisable if there is significant snow on the ground.

From the meadow, hike Middle Branch Road north for 0.2 miles until it intersects with the yellow-blazed Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

Middle Fork Road near the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
Middle Fork Road near the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

Hang a left onto the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail and follow it 0.33 miles to Laurel Run Overlook.

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail intersecting with Middle Fork Road in Fayette County PA
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail intersecting with Middle Fork Road in Fayette County, PA.

No matter which route you take to get there, Laurel Run Overlook is located along that Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail at GPS coordinates 39.98265, -79.35174.

Laurel Run Overlook facing west towards Fayette County.

Viewing Laurel Run Overlook

For first time visitors, it’s important to mention from the outset that there are TWO viewing areas at Laurel Run Overlook, situated rougly 50 yards apart.

The northernmost viewing area is easily identified by the many bowl-shaped depressions in the rock surface.

Laurel Run Overlook in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
Northern viewing area at Laurel Run Overlook in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

The southernmost viewing area features more elongated depressions in the rock surface.

Laurel Run Overlook in October 2020.
Southern viewing area at Laurel Run Overlook in October 2020.

Either way, both areas are extremely photogenic!

Fall foliage at Laurel Run Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
The author at Laurel Run Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

Those seeking a phenomenal vantage point to take in the famous Laurel Highlands fall foliage would be hard pressed to find a better location that Laurel Run Overlook.

Laurel Run Overlook at Laurel Ridge State Park.
Southern viewing area at Laurel Run Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

The size of the rock formations that make up the two viewing areas at Laurel Run Overlook is perhaps best appreciated by viewing them from the sides.

Rock formations at Laurel Run Overlook in Fayette County PA
Rock formations at Laurel Run Overlook in Fayette County, PA.

As the name implies, this vista overlooks the Middle Fork of Laurel Run, although catching a glimpse of the stream is virtually impossible, given all the tree canopy.

Fall foliage along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail at the Laurel Run Overlook.
Fall foliage along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail at Laurel Run Overlook.

Whether you are hiking in from the north or south, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trai leading to Laurel Run Overlook makes for a very enjoyable trek to a spectacular scenic view!

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail near Middle Fork Road in Fayette County PA
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Fayette County, PA.

Nearby Attractions

The Youghiogehny River Overlook is also located along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Fayette County, at Ohiopyle State Park.

The Youghiogheny River Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
The Youghiogheny River Overlook along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Fayette County

Beam Rocks Overlook is located north of Laurel Run Overlook, just off the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in Somerset County.

Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.
Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.

Cole Run Falls is located approximately 5 miles from Laurel Run Overlook, in the Forbes State Forest.

The author at Cole Run Falls in the Laurel Highlands.
The author at Cole Run Falls in the Laurel Highlands.

The Barronvale Covered Bridge is located roughly 4 miles from Laurel Run Overlook.

Aerial side view oof the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA.
Aerial side view of the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

22 Must-See Waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands introduces you to some of the best waterfalls in the region.

Snow and ice at Lower Jonathan Run Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
The author at Lower Jonathan Run Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

The 11 Best Scenic Overlooks in the Laurel Highlands shows you where to find the most stunning vistas in the region.

The author photographing an autumn sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook.
The author at Baughman Rock Overlook in the Laurel Highlands.

10 of the Best Hiking Trails at Ohiopyle State Park will introduce you to some of the premier hiking trails in the Laurel Highlands.

The author at Fechter Run Falls in the spring of 2019.
The author at Fechter Run Falls along the Sugar Run Trail at Ohiopyle State Park.

Exploring Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset County will show you some of the best things to see and do at this iconic Laurel Highlands destination.

Jones Mill Run Dam at Laurel Hill State Park.
Jones Mill Run Dam at Laurel Hill State Park.

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Pennsylvania’s Best Travel Blog!

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

2 COMMENTS

  1. I hiked to this overlook last summer and noticed that, on a clear enough day, you can spot the US Steel and BNY Mellon towers in Pittsburgh from the overlook. I included a link to a photo I took showing those buildings on the horizon.

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