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.
Yoder Falls Trailhead Parking
The parking area for the Yoder Falls Trail is located just east of where Carpenters Park Road passses over Route 219 (see satellite map above).
The GPS coordinates for the parking area are as follows: 40.247385, -78.892312
There is space for at least a dozen cars there, maybe more. Basically it’s a semicircle of crumbling asphalt.
The unmarked trailhead itself is easily found at the far left corner of the parking lot (see photo below).
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.
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.
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.
You can read more about the 1,388 foot long McNally Bridge HERE.
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.
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.
Just past the rope handrail you’ll crest a hill, then descend to this second wet crossing downstream from Yoder Falls.
Once you’ve made the second wet crossing, it’s a short scamper to the pool at the base of the falls.
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.
Of course during high water conditions the highway noise is completely drowned out by the roar of Yoder Falls!
Winter brings delicate ice formations to life all around the 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.
Of course if you’re looking for the ULTIMATE Laurel Highlands / western PA waterfall hike, you need to check out my article on the Jonathan Run Trail 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 (also in Somerset County). You can read my article on that site in the link provided.
Still not convinced you need to see Yoder Falls?
Check out the video below, filmed during peak water conditions!