Camping at LAUREL SUMMIT STATE PARK
Overview of Laurel Summit State Park
Laurel Summit State Park is a Pennsylvania state park located in Westmoreland County. This smaller park, often overshadowed by the larger nearby parks such as Laurel Mountain State Park, spans approximately 6 acres and is set in a picturesque high-elevation environment—around 2,739 feet above sea level. Due to its altitude, the park can be notably cooler than other areas, providing a refreshing escape during hotter months.
Activities and Amenities
Hiking Trails: The park serves as a starting point for several trails, including a portion of the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, which is suitable for both day hikes and longer backpacking trips with overnight shelters available for reservation.
Picnicking: Though modest in amenities, the park offers a peaceful setting for picnicking. Visitors can enjoy their meals surrounded by a mix of spruce and hardwoods which may not be commonly found at lower elevations.
Wildlife Observation: Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts can appreciate the diverse array of species, particularly due to the unique habitat presented by the high elevation.
Photography: Photographers often find this location ideal for capturing scenic vistas, native plants, and wildlife.
During the winter, snowfall can be heavy, and the park becomes a popular spot for:
Cross-Country Skiing: The trails can provide excellent skiing opportunities, though they may not always be groomed.
Snowshoeing: For those who prefer snowshoeing, the park's terrain offers an enjoyable experience.
Access and Parking
The park is accessible by car, and parking is available but can be limited, so visitors are advised to arrive early during peak times, especially on weekends and holidays.
If you're planning to visit Laurel Summit State Park, consider expanding your trip to include nearby attractions like:
Laurel Ridge State Park: For additional hiking, picnicking, and camping opportunities.
Linn Run State Park: A great place for fishing, hiking, and more family-friendly activities.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort: Popular for skiing, snowboarding, and golf.
Forbes State Forest: Offers even more hiking trials and natural beauty.
As of my knowledge update in 2023, there is no camping allowed directly within Laurel Summit State Park. However, nearby state parks and forests offer campsites, and the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail offers Adirondack-style shelters for backpackers, though reservations may be required.
Recommendations for Visitors
- Prepare for Cooler Weather: Since the park is at a high elevation, the temperature can be significantly cooler, so dress in layers.
- Check Trail Conditions: Before heading out for a hike or cross-country skiing, check the conditions of the trails as they can vary with the weather.
- Leave No Trace: Respect the park’s natural beauty by following Leave No Trace principles and packing out all of your trash.
- Be Wildlife Aware: Always maintain a safe distance from wildlife and do not feed any animals.
- Plan Ahead: If you wish to use the overnight shelters on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, make reservations in advance.
Remember to check the latest guidance and regulations from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources before your visit for the most current information, restrictions, and updates regarding Laurel Summit State Park's facilities and offerings.