Exploring Spruce Flats Bog in Westmoreland County

The partially frozen Spruce Flats Bog on top of the Laurel Summit in Westmoreland County, PA.

Spruce Flats Bog in the Forbes State Forest is the lesser-known neighbor of Beam Rocks Overlook to the east and Wolf Rocks Overlook to the west.

An October morning at Beam Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.
An October morning at Beam Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.

And while a bog might not sound as exciting as a scenic overlook, I’m going to try and change your mind!


Spruce Flats Bog FAQs

Where is Spruce Flats Bog?

Spruce Flats Bog is located a quarter-mile from a parking area at Laurel Summit State Park.
How to find Spruce Flats Bog in the Forbes State Forest in Pennsylvania

Can I navigate to Spruce Flats Bog using GPS?

Yes – use GPS coordinates 40.11842, -79.17625 to navigate to the large parking lot at Laurel Summit State Park.
Parking area at Laurel Summit State Park near the Spruce Flats Bog trail head.

How hard is the hike to Spruce Flats Bog?

It’s very easy – roughly a quarter-mile along a flat, crushed stone path from the parking lot to the bog.

Spruce Flats Bog Trail in the Forbes State Forest of western PA.

Can you hike through Spuce Flats Bog?

No you cannot, as it is deemed a sensitive ecosystem. There is a boardwalk and observation area from which you can observed the bog without disturbing it.
The snow covered Spruce Flats Bog in the Forbes State Forest.

Is it true that Spruce Flats Bog was once a forest?

Yes – the area was home to large stands of hemlock trees that were clear-cut in the early 1900s.
History of timber operations in what is now Spruce Flats Bog in the Forbes State Forest.

What makes Spruce Flats Bog unique?

Bogs are typically found at much lower altitudes – Spruce Flats Bog sits on a mountaintop at 2,720 feet above sea level.

A late autumn morning at Spruce Flats Bog in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Why do the trees at Spruce Flats Bog all bend in one directions?

The strong westerly winds cause the trees to take on a bent shape known as Krummholz – German for “crooked wood”.
The windswept pines at Spruce Flats Bog in the Forbes State Forest.

Will Spruce Flats Bog remain a bog forever?

No – it will slowly fill in and transform into a meadow, and then eventually a forest once again (assuming no human intervention or significant envirnonmental changes take place).
Summertime at Spruce Flats Bog in the Forbes State Forest.


Hiking to Spruce Flats Bog

As mentioned previously, the hike to Spruce Flats Bog is very simple.

The trail begins at Laurel Summit State Park.

Spruce Flats Bog trail head at Laurel Summit State Park.
Spruce Flats Bog trail head at Laurel Summit State Park.

It follows a mostly-straight and flat course for a quarter-mile mile before bringing you out at a boardwalk and observation area.

Approaching the Spruce Flats Bog observation deck in WestmorelandCounty PA
Approaching the Spruce Flats Bog observation deck in Westmoreland County PA

The boardwalk provides excellent 360 degree views of Spruce Flats Bog, and to preserve the ecosystem you are asked to NOT stray from the boardwalk into the bog itself.

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

A number of informational signs on the boardwalk describe the history of the area as well as the the unique plants and trees found there.

Informational sign at Spruce Flats Bog in Westmoreland County PA
Informational sign at Spruce Flats Bog in Westmoreland County, PA.

As you might expect, a bog environment means plenty of bugs in the summer months!

Late summer at Spruce Flats Bog in the PA Laurel Highlands.
Late summer at Spruce Flats Bog in the PA Laurel Highlands.

Which is one of the reasons I find winter to be a excellent time to visit Spruce Flats Bog!

Winter at Spruce Flats Bog looking due east into Somerset County.
Winter at Spruce Flats Bog looking due east into Somerset County.

Bogs also mean plenty of moisture in the atmosphere, so don’t be surprised to find thick fog there if you visit early in the morning.

A foggy morning at Spruce Flats Bog in the Forbes State Forest.
A foggy morning at Spruce Flats Bog in the Forbes State Forest.

Spruce Flats Bog is a quick and easy hike, and the uniqueness of this 28-acre ecosystem makes it an interesting pit-stop while exploring other close-by and perhaps better-known attractions in and around the Forbes State Forest.

Winter at the Spruce Flats Bog observation deck.
Winter at the Spruce Flats Bog observation deck.

Nearby Attractions

Wolf Rocks Overlook is accessed via the Wolf Rocks Trail, which originates from the same parking lot as the Spruce Flats Bog Trail.

Fall foliage at Wolf Rocks Overlook in Somerset County PA
Fall foliage at Wolf Rocks Overlook in Westmoreland County, PA.

Beam Rocks Overlook is accessed via a trail head along Laurel Summit Road, less than 2 miles from Spruce Flats Bog.

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

Adams Falls at Linnn Run State Park is roughly 4.5 miles from Spruce Flats Bog, just off of Linn Run Road.

Adams Falls in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania
Adams Falls at Linn Run State Park in Westmoreland County.

Laurel Run Overlook is located 13 miles south of Spruce Flats Bog, along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

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

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

Selfie at Lower Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park
The author at lower Jonathan Run Falls in the Laurel Highlands.

The 11 Best Scenic Overlooks in the Laurel Highlands will introduce you to some of the highest points in the region, including the highest point in all of Pennsylvania!

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.

Did you enjoy this article?

If so, be sure to like and follow PA Bucket List on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest to stay up-to-date on my latest write-ups.

Click on any of the icons below to get connected to PA Bucket List on social media!


Pennsylvania’s Best Travel Blog!

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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here