Exploring Mount Davis – The Highest Point in Pennsylvania

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The view from High Point Lake Overlook on Mount Davis

Mount Davis in Somerset County is the highest point in Pennsylvania!

Highest Point in Pennsylvania road sign at Mount Davis.
Highest Point in Pennsylvania road sign at Mount Davis.

At 3,213 feet above sea level, this idyllic mountain in the Forbes State Forest is home to some incredible views of the surrounding Laurel Highlands.

View from the top of the observation tower at Mount Davis.
View from the top of the observation tower at Mount Davis.

In this write-up I will guide you to 4 of the most scenic overlooks on Mount Davis, as well as share some of my favorite photos and a bit of history of the area.

How to find the nest scenic overlooks on Mount Davis in Somerset County Pennsylvania
Map of the 4 best overlooks on Mount Davis in Somerset County.

Mount Davis Observation Tower

We’ll start at the most popular and famous of the overlooks on Mount Davis, the Observation Tower.

The observation tower at Mount Davis in Somerset County.
The observation tower at Mount Davis.

You would think that a large tower on top of Pennsylvania’s tallest point would be easy to spot, but it’s actually camouflaged well by the surrounding forest.

Mount Davis directional sign along Mount Davis Road.
Mount Davis directional sign along Mount Davis Road.

Look for signs along Mount Davis Road, then turn onto South Wolf Rock Road.

Road sign at intersection of Mount Davis Road and South Wolf Rock Road.
Road sign at intersection of Mount Davis Road and South Wolf Rock Road.

Procede approximately 1 mile, then turn into the parking area when you see the sign pictured below.

GPS coordinates for the Mount Davis Observation Tower parking lot are 39.78587, -79.17672.

Directional sign to Mount Davis observation tower.
Directional sign to Mount Davis observation tower.

The parking area is a large gravel lot capable of holding several dozen vehicles.

Mount Davis observation tower parking area.
Mount Davis observation tower parking area.

Walk towards the back of the parking lot and an informational kiosk where you can pick up a map of the area.

Information kiosk at Mount Davis parking area.
Information kiosk at Mount Davis parking area.

To the left of the kiosk you’ll see a gated, paved road.

This is the trail to observation tower.

Gated road to Mount Davis observation tower.
Gated road / trail to Mount Davis observation tower in SOmerset County.

The tower is maybe 50 yards from the gate.

I’m not gonna lie – if you don’t like heights scaling the tower can be a bit unnerving!

Looking straight up from the bottom of the Mount Davis observation tower.
Looking straight up from the bottom of the Mount Davis observation tower.

But the views from the top are outstanding!

Windmills in the distance as viewed from Mount Davis Observation Tower in Somerset County PA
Windmills in the distance as viewed from Mount Davis Observation Tower

To give you some sense of orientation for the photo below (the view to the west) – Deer Valley Lake in the foreground and the Casselman River Valley is in the background.

Deer Valley Lake as viewed from Mount Davis Observation Tower in Somerset County PA
The western view from Mount Davis.

Near the base of the observation tower are several plaques detailing some of the local history and geology.

Informational plaques at Mount Davis in Somerset County
Informational plaques at Mount Davis in Somerset County

Though well-worn by the elements, the signs are easy to read and quite informative.

Informational plaque at the foot of Mount Davis observation tower.
Informational plaque at the foot of Mount Davis observation tower.

For those who would compare the height of Mount Davis to some of the tallest points in the western United States, keep in mind the Rockies were formed a mere 80 million years ago.

Geologic history of Mount Davis in Somerset County.
Geologic history of Mount Davis in Somerset County.

Mount Davis has been aging and eroding for a LOT longer than that!


High Point Lake Overlook

Approximately 1/3 of a mile south of the Mount Davis Observation Tower you’ll find the High Point Lake Overlook along South Wolf Rock Road.

GPS coordinates for the High Point Lake Overlook area 39.78209, -79.18090.

High Point Lake Overlook along South Wolf Rock Road on Mount Davis.
High Point Lake Overlook along South Wolf Rock Road on Mount Davis.

A wheelchair-accessible ramp leads from the parking area to this small deck / picnic area with a phenomenal view of High Point Lake.

The view of High Point Lake from the observation area along South Wolf Rock Road on Mount Davis.
The view of High Point Lake from the observation area along South Wolf Rock Road on Mount Davis.

Baughman Rocks

Backtracking on South Wolf Rock Road, 2 more exceptional spots are worth investigating on the opposite side of Mount Davis Road.

Baughman Rocks (not to be confused with Baughman Rock Overlook at Ohiopyle State Park) is a fascinating mountain top rock formation, located just off Mount Davis Road.

The GPS coordinates for the Baughman Rocks parking area along Mount Davis Road are 39.79422, -79.17189.

Sign along Mount Davis Road for Baughman Rocks.
Sign along Mount Davis Road for Baughman Rocks.

Baughman Rocks has a rather macabre history associated with it, which you can read about on an informational sign near the observation deck.

History of Baughman Rocks on Mount Davis in Somerset County
The somewhat ominous history of Baughman Rocks on Mount Davis in Somerset County.

The flat gravel trail from parking area to the observation deck is approximately 50 yards long, and surrounded by spectacular growths of mountain laurel, the official state plant of PA.

Short trail from parking area to Baughman Rocks on Mount Davis.
Short trail from parking area to Baughman Rocks on Mount Davis.

Upon reaching the observation deck, you’ll quickly see that any distant views that may once have existed here are now obscured by tall trees.

Observation deck at Baughman Rocks on Mount Davis in Somerset County.
Observation deck at Baughman Rocks on Mount Davis in Somerset County.

That doesn’t take away from the overall beauty of the scene though.

The view of Baughman Rocks on Mount Davis from the observation deck.
The view of Baughman Rocks on Mount Davis from the observation deck.

Upon closer inspection you can certainly see how a body could “disappear” in these deep crevices between the boulders.

Baughman Rocks in Somerset County Pennsylvania.
Baughman Rocks in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Be sure to step carefully so that you don’t become one of them!


Camp Buckey Overlook

Perhaps the best vista on Mount Davis, Camp Buckey Overlook is a favorite of locals, especially teenagers who frequent it as a party spot.

A view of Deer Valley Lake from Camp Buckey Overlook in Somerset County.
A view of Deer Valley Lake from Camp Buckey Overlook in Somerset County.

To find the overlook, turn off of Mount Davis Road onto Camp Buckey Road and follow this unpaved but relatively smooth road for 1.6 miles.

Camp Buckey road sign along Mount Davis Road.
Camp Buckey road sign along Mount Davis Road.

The parking area for the Camp Buckey Overlook is located at GPS coordinates 39.80546, -79.19452.

Parking area for Camp Buckey Overlook.
Parking area for Camp Buckey Overlook.

Look for this sign below at the unblazed but well-worn trailhead.

Camp Buckey Overlook trailhead in the Forbes State Forest.
Camp Buckey Overlook trailhead in the Forbes State Forest.

The trail is roughly 220 yards long, and while rocky, is relatively flat.

Camp Buckey Overlook Trail in the Forbes State Forest.
Camp Buckey Overlook Trail in the Forbes State Forest.

They payoff is a majestic view of massive rock formations and Deer Valley Lake far below.

Camp Buckey Overlook on Mount Davis in the Laurel Highlands.
Camp Buckey Overlook on Mount Davis in the Laurel Highlands.

This is one of my favorite lookouts in the Forbes State Forest, rivaling those at Beam Rocks, also located on Somerset County.

Camp Buckey Overlook on Mount Davis.
Camp Buckey Overlook on Mount Davis.

Unlike Baughman Rocks, there is no observation deck at Camp Buckey Overlook, so use caution when exploring the rocks, as the crevices are every bit as deep here as they are where Henry Baughman hid the body of his son.

Camp Buckey Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.
Camp Buckey Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.

Camp Buckey Overlook is one of THE best spots for “leaf peeping” in Somerset County.

The view from Camp Buckey Overlook in October.
The view from Camp Buckey Overlook in October.

And while the entire Mount Davis area is decked out in spectacular fall foliage come October, Camp Buckey Overlook just feels a little extra special.

Fall foliage surrounding Camp Buckey Overlook in Somerset County PA
Fall foliage surrounding Camp Buckey Overlook in Somerset County PA

Nearby Attractions

Be sure to check out “The 10 Best Scenic Overlooks in the Laurel Highlands” for a list of ALL the best views in the area!

The author photographing an autumn sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook.
The author photographing an autumn sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook.

The Laurel Highlands are home to an incredible assortment of waterfalls, and you can read about some of the finest in my write-up 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.

Somerset County is also home to 10 historic covered bridges, which you can find more information on in the covered bridges section of this website.

A lone fisherman on Brush Creek below the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.
A lone fisherman on Brush Creek below the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

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