Exploring Yoder Falls in Somerset County

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.

If you’re looking for directions to Yoder Falls near Johnstown, you’re in the right place!

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 hike to a sequestered destination.

So how do you find this picturesque waterfall which ranks as one of the tallest waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands?

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, downstream from the falls.

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 the 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 along the 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 the 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 the 0.3 mile trail to your vehicle.


Nearby Attractions

24 Must-See Waterfalls in the PA Laurel Highlands is your guide to all the best waterfalls in the surrounding region.

Selfie at Lower Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park
Lower Jonathan Run Falls in the Laurel Highlands of PA.

10 Must-See Attractions in Cambria County is your guide to the best things to do in and around Johnstown.

The view from the Johnstown Inclined Plane in Cambria County PA
The view from the top of the Johnstown Inclined Plane in Cambria County.

15 Must-See Attractions in Somerset County is your guide to the best things to see and do just south of Yoder Falls.

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

For a totally UNNATURAL adventure, Yoder Falls is only 4 miles from the famous Windber Trolley Graveyard.

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!


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

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.

    • Interesting. Are these on public lands, and are they seasonal falls or do they flow year round?

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