Exploring Yoder Falls in Somerset County

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The author preparing to make the second wet crossing on the hike to Yoder Falls.
The author preparing to make the second wet crossing on the hike to Yoder Falls.

Yoder Falls is one of the tallest, and THE northernmost waterfall in the Laurel Highlands.

Situated near the Somerset / Cambria County line on land owned by the city of Johnstown (but open to public hiking), it is a popular destination for locals looking for a short jaunt to a sequestered destination.

So how do you find this picturesque waterfall?

Follow along as I give you step-by-step directions on where to park and how to find and follow the Yoder Falls Trail.


Getting There

How to Find Yoder Falls in Somerset County

  1. From Route 403 in Davidsville, turn onto Carpenter Park Road and travel 1.8 miles

    This will take you across a bridge over Route 219.A satellite view of the Yoder Falls hike, as well as surrounding landmarks.

  2. Navigate to GPS Coordinates 40.247385, -78.892312

    This will bring you to the Yoder Falls parking area on the left side of the road, just past the bridge over Route 219.
    The parking area looks like a semicircle of crumbling asphalt, and is across the road from a horse farm.

  3. Proceed to the trailhead at the back left corner of the parking area.

    The trail is unmarked, but well-worn and easy to follow.Yoder Falls trailhead next to parking area along Carpenter Park Road.


Hiking to Yoder Falls

This is a relatively short but steep hike of 0.3 miles (one way).

There change in elevation is 272 feet from the parking area to the lowest point near the Stonycreek River.

A map of the Yoder Falls Trail in SOmerset County, PA.
A map of the Yoder Falls Trail in Somerset County, PA.

From the map above, you can see that you will be hiking downhill to a spot near the Stonycreek River, then hiking back up the small waterway that Yoder Falls is on, making 2 wet crossings along the way.

The reason you bypass the falls initially is due to the steep, rocky nature of the gorge Yoder Falls lies in. I’ve made the descent down the gorge wall twice, but I can’t recommend that as the preferred way.

The trail itself is 3-4 feet wide and very easy to follow as it descends to the Stonycreek River.

The trail leading to Yoder Falls in Somerset County, PA.
The trail leading to Yoder Falls in Somerset County, PA.

At the bottom of the hill you’ll encounter the remnants of an old bridge that once spanned the Stonycreek, in the shadow of the current McNally Bridge, which carries Route 219 over the river.

A view of the old bridge remnants along the Yoder Falls Trail, with the newer McNally Bridge in the background.
A view of the old bridge remnants along the Yoder Falls Trail, with the newer McNally Bridge in the background.

You can read more about the 1,388 foot long McNally Bridge HERE.

The view of McNally Bridge over the Stonycreek River from the Yoder Falls Trail.
The view of McNally Bridge over the Stonycreek River from the Yoder Falls Trail.

Hiking Upstream to Yoder Falls

With the Stonycreek River and the old bridge remnants at your back, start hiking up the left side of the small stream, and make the first of two wet crossings at this point below a massive rock formation.

The first wet crossing on the hike to Yoder Falls.
The first wet crossing on the hike to Yoder Falls.

Now safely on the right side of the stream, you’ll encounter this rope handrail that guides you up a rocky path towards your first glimpse of Yoder Falls.

Rope handrails on the Yoder Falls Trail, between the first and second wet crossing.
Rope handrails on the Yoder Falls Trail, between the first and second wet crossing.

Just past the rope handrail you’ll crest a hill, then descend to this second wet crossing downstream from Yoder Falls.

Wet crossing along trail immediately below Yoder Falls.
Wet crossing along trail immediately below Yoder Falls.

Once you’ve made the second wet crossing, it’s a short scamper to the pool at the base of the falls.

The author at Yoder Falls in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
The author at Yoder Falls in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

From the base of the falls, unless the water is really high, you can easily cross back and forth to either side of the stream.

GPS coordinates for Yoder Falls: 40.248628, -78.892275

Yoder Falls checks in around 25 feet tall, and can easily run 15 feet wide during high water conditions.

The lush green foliage of early spring makes this spot look like a fairytale setting, despite its close proximity to a highway.

A springtime view of Yoder Falls near Davidsville, PA.
A springtime view of Yoder Falls near Davidsville, PA.

Of course during high water conditions the highway noise is completely drowned out by the roar of Yoder Falls!

A November view of Yoder Falls in the Laurel Highlands of PA.
A November view of Yoder Falls in the Laurel Highlands of PA.

Winter brings delicate ice formations to life all around the falls.

Ice formations surrounding Yoder Falls.
Ice formations surrounding Yoder Falls.

There is really no “bad” season to visit Yoder Falls!

When you’ve satisfied your curiosity, simply backtrack to return to your vehicle.


Final Thoughts on Visiting Yoder Falls

As one of the tallest waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands, Yoder Falls makes for an interesting and relatively short (0.6 miles out and back) hiking excursion.

If you’re looking for more fantastic and easy to get to waterfalls in Somerset County, consider Cole Run Falls

A summer view of Cole Run Falls in the Forbes State Forest.
Cole Run Falls in Somerset County.

and the waterfalls under the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge as well.

A summertime view of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.
Waterfalls beneath the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

Of course if you’re looking for the ULTIMATE Laurel Highlands waterfall hike, you need to check out my article on the Jonathan Run Trail at Ohiopyle State Park.

A summer scene at Upper Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park.
Upper Jonathan Run Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

And for a totally different experience, Yoder Falls is only 4 miles from the famous Abandoned Trolley Graveyard in Windber, PA.

Scenes like this are why finding the Windber Trolley Graveyard are on the bucket list of so many urban explorers.
The Abandoned Trolley Graveyard in Windber, PA.

Still not convinced you need to see Yoder Falls?

Then check out the video below!


PA Bucket List - Discover Pennsylvania's Ultimate Travel Destinations

Pennsylvania’s Best AD-FREE Adventure Guide!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Though technically not in the Laurel Highlands there are 2 waterfalls located inside Loyalhanna Gorge 1 unnamed can be seen from Rt 30 it is located right behind the old Kennametal Headquarters in Kingston the second Victoria Falls is located on some old logging roads at about the midpoint of the gorge there is a parking area marked by a green sign for Loyalhanna recreation area (heading towards Latrobe from Ligonier it’s on the right just past where the stone quarry used to load trucks) from the parking area you follow the trail in to the right skirting up the rocky hollow, the falls are on the right of the trail 3/4 of the way up.

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