The Best Waterfalls Near Pittsburgh Road Trip

A roadmap to the best waterfalls near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Who’s up for an epic 358 mile round-trip road trip to see the best waterfalls near Pittsburgh?!

A summer morning at Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.
A summer morning at Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County, north of Pittsburgh.

If this sounds like something you’ve always wanted to do, I’ve plotted out the perfect road trip for you.

Cucumber Falls on a summer morning.
Cucumber Falls on a summer morning.

Simply follow along and click on the blue text links to open more detailed descriptions and directions to each of these waterfall hotspots near Pittsburgh.

Approaching Quaker Falls in Lawrence County Pennsylvania.
Approaching Quaker Falls in Lawrence County.

This road trip departs from and returns to Pittsburgh, and I’m going to describe the trip going in a clockwise direction, but you could just as easily go the opposite way and have just as much fun!

Freedom Falls along Rockland Station Road in Venango County.
Freedom Falls along Rockland Station Road in Venango County.

1. Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County

Our first stop on the Pittsburgh waterfalls road trip is Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County, a magnificent waterfall in a rather unexpected, urban location.

View of Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County from the upper observation area.
View of Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County from the upper observation area.

Located just a few hundred yards from the Beaver Falls exit of the PA Turnpike, Buttermilk Falls is one a handful of waterfalls in Pennsylvania you can stand behind!

The author behind Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County PA.
The author behind Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County, PA.

2. Waterfalls at McConnells Mill State Park

Road trip stop number two is McConnells Mill State Park in Lawrence County, home to many wonderful attractions, including numerous waterfalls.

Ice formations at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park
Ice formations at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park.

Alpha Falls is the tallest waterfall at McConnells Mill State Park, at 35 feet.

Rusty Glessner at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park
The author at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park.

Hell’s Hollow Falls may be the most famous, in part because of the ominous-sounding name.

The author at Hell's Hollow Falls.
The author at Hell’s Hollow Falls, McConnells Mill State Park.

And Grindstone Falls may be the least well-know, as it doesn’t even appear on the official park map (not yet, at least).

The author visiting Grindstone Falls.
The author visiting Grindstone Falls at McConnells Mill State Park.

3. Quaker Falls

Quaker Falls is a 50 foot-tall waterfall located less than a mile from the Ohio border, north of Pittsburgh in Lawrence County.

Exploring Quaker Falls in Lawrence County Pennsylvania.
The author at Quaker Falls in Lawrence County.

Quaker Falls is the centerpiece of the newly-created Quaker Falls Recreation Area, a Lawrence County park.

Quaker Falls as viewed from the parking lot at Quaker Falls Recreation Area in Lawrence County Pennsylvania.
Quaker Falls as viewed from the parking lot at Quaker Falls Recreation Area in Lawrence County.

4. Freedom Falls

Pittsburgh waterfalls road trip stop number four is Freedom Falls, 20 foot tall waterfall in Venango County, Pennsylvania.

Freedom Falls on Shull Run in Venango County.
Freedom Falls on Shull Run in Venango County.

Freedom Falls is named after the early 1800s village of Freedom, the ruins of which are still visible in the area around the falls.

Freedom Falls near Kennerdell in Venango County Pennsylvania
Freedom Falls near Kennerdell in Venango County, Pennsylvania.

5. Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County

Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County is one of the tallest waterfalls in western PA, at 45 feet.

View of Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County from the top of the stairs.
View of Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County from the top of the stairs.

Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County is another of the handful of Pennsylvania waterfalls you can stand BEHIND!

View from behind Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County.
View from behind Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County, east of Pittsburgh.

6. Fallingwater

Road trip stop number six is Fallingwater in Fayette County, voted “the best all-time work of American architecture” by the American Institute of Architects in 1991.

The "classic view" of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in the PA Laurel Highlands.
The “classic view” of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in the PA Laurel Highlands.

Fallingwater was designed around a spectacular multi-tiered waterfall along Bear Run in Fayette County.

Fallingwater as seen from the "Classic View" on the Visitor Center map.
Fallingwater on a winter afternoon.

7. Ohiopyle State Park

The final stop on the Pittsburgh waterfalls road trip is Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County, arguably THE BEST water-themed state park in western Pennsylvania!

Selfie at Lower Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park
The author at Lower Jonathan Run Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

Whether it’s waterfalls, natural waterslides, or whitewater rafting – Ohiopyle has it covered.

Whitewater rafters near Ferncliff Peninsula at Ohiopyle State Park.
Whitewater rafters near Ferncliff Peninsula at Ohiopyle State Park.

You could spend literally days exploring all the waterfalls at Ohiopyle State Park, but for the purposes of this road trip I’ll focus on the two most-famous and easiest-to-reach.

A young couple enjoying the magnificent view at the Ohiopyle Falls overlook along the Ferncliff Trail.
Young couple at Ohiopyle Falls.

With a drop of 20 feet and a width spanning the entire Youghiogheny River, Ohiopyle Falls is one of the most visited and most photographed tourist attractions in the Laurel Highlands.

A winter view of Ohiopyle Falls from the Observation Deck.
A winter view of Ohiopyle Falls from the Observation Deck.

Finding Ohiopyle Falls is easy (it’s literally right next to the Ohiopyle Visitor Center parking lot).

Ohiopyle Falls as viewed from inside the Laurel Highlands Visitors Center.
Ohiopyle Falls as viewed from inside the Laurel Highlands Visitors Center.

Deciding where to view it from is the hard part, because there are so many good spots to choose from!

Fall foliage at Ohiopyle Falls in Fayette County.
Fall foliage at Ohiopyle Falls in Fayette County.

Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park is the most photogenic (in my opinion) waterfall in western Pennsylvania.

An autumn view of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Fall foliage at Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle State Park.

An upper viewing area is located next to the Cucumber Falls parking area, while a staircase takes you down to steam level if you want to view it from that angle.

The view from above Cucumber Falls on a winter day. Ohiopyle State Park, Fayette County, PA
Cucumber Falls from the upper viewing area on a winter day. Ohiopyle State Park, Fayette County, PA.

From Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park, it’s an easy drive back to Pittsburgh, where this waterfalls road trip began!

The view from Mount Washington in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
The view from Mount Washington in Pittsburgh.

Or maybe you’d rather break the trip up into sections, and spend the night in a rustic Laurel Highlands vacation rental!

Exterior of a rental cabin in the PA Laurel Highlands.
Photo courtesy of Vrbo.

Does the thought of taking a 540 mile cross-state road trip to see the tallest waterfalls in Pennsylvania intrigue you?

A map showing how to find the the tallest waterfalls in Pennsylvania.

Then you’ll enjoy this east-west route I mapped out with that will take you to some of the tallest waterfalls in each region of Pennsylvania, while allowing for ample opportunity to improvise along the way.

Summer at Angel Falls in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.
Summer at Angel Falls in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.

Or maybe the thought of taking a scenic cross-state road trip to see the best roadside waterfalls in Pennsylvania is more up your alley?

A map showing how to find the best roadside waterfalls in Pennsylvania.

Then you’ll never have to get out of the car to enjoy this 483 mile east-west route I came up with that will take you to some of the most beautiful roadside waterfalls across Pennsylvania.

Toyota Tacoma parked in front of Holcomb Falls along Leroy Mountain Road in Bradford County PA
Parked in front of Holcomb Falls along Leroy Mountain Road in Bradford County.

If you’ve always wanted to explore the eastern part of PA, then The Best Waterfalls in the Poconos Road Trip is exactly what you’re looking for!

A road map to the best waterfalls in the Poconos region of eastern Pennsylvania.

This 209 mile round-trip road trip will take you to some of tallest and most scenic waterfalls in PA.

Raymondskill Falls in Pennsylvania
Upper and middle tiers of Raymondskill Falls, the tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania.

How about a road trip to see the best abandoned places in PA.

a road map to 9 of the best abandoned places in Pennsylvania.

I’ve mapped out a 587 mile route that takes you to nine of Pennsylvania’s most intriguing abandoned places.

The western portal of Rays Hill Tunnel along the Abandoned PA Turnpike
The Abandoned PA Turnpike near Breezewood.

10 Great PA Backroads Adventures not only lead to interesting destinations, but also take you down scenic roads that are themselves sights to be savored.

Faupel Road in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Faupel Road in Bedford County.

13 Must-See Attractions Along Interstate 80 may just surprise you with how many great things there are to see along this 311 mile stretch of concrete and asphalt.

Rosecrans Falls in Clinton County Pennsylvania on a foggy summer morning.
Rosecrans Falls in Clinton County, just off Interstate 80.

The Fountain of Youth really does exist, and you can find it in a public park just north of Pittsburgh!

The Fountain of Youth in North Park, north of PIttsburgh.
The Fountain of Youth in North Park, north of Pittsburgh.

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

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