|Elevation||2,994 ft (913 m)|
|Parent range||Allegheny Mountains|
|Topo map||USGS Ohiopyle, Mill Run, Kingwood, Seven Springs, Bakersville, Ligonier, Boswell, Rachelwood, Vintondale, Johnstown, New Florence (PA) Quadrangle|
|Easiest route||drive up and hike|
Laurel Hill, also known as Laurel Ridge or Laurel Mountain, is a 70-mile-long (110 km) mountain in Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains. This ridge is flanked by Negro Mountain to its east and Chestnut Ridge to its west. The mountain is home to six state parks: Laurel Ridge State Park, Laurel Mountain State Park, Linn Run State Park, Kooser State Park, Laurel Hill State Park, and Ohiopyle State Park. The 70-mile-long (110 km) Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail runs the length of the ridge.
Two state forests, comprising over 22,000 acres (89 km2), are located on Laurel Hill: Gallitzin State Forest and Forbes State Forest. State Game Lands 42 and 111 are also located on the mountain and also comprise a little over 22,000 acres (89 km2).
Laurel Hill has an average elevation of 2,700 ft (820 m) along its length, while there are individual "knobs" that rise above 2,900 ft (880 m). The highest point is above the Seven Springs Mountain Resort at 2,994 ft (913 m). Laurel Hill is flanked on its north end by the Conemaugh Gorge and on its south end by the Youghiogheny Gorge, both water gaps being approximately 1,700 ft (520 m) in depth. The ridge continues north of the Conemaugh Gorge for several miles as Rager Mountain, which reaches an elevation of 2,580 feet (790 m). South of the Youghiogheny Gorge, a short ridge, generally still labeled Laurel Hill, at the edge of Ohiopyle State Park, reaches above 2,920 feet (890 m).
The industrial city of Johnstown and historic borough of Ligonier are located near its northern end, while the recreational boroughs of Confluence and Ohiopyle are located towards its southern end. Two major highways cross Laurel Hill, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and U.S. Route 30. The abandoned Laurel Hill Tunnel goes beneath Laurel Hill. A number of smaller state roads cross at other points on the mountain.
Laurel Hill is made up of Mississippian and Pennsylvanian clastic sedimentary rocks, consisting mostly of conglomerate, sandstone, and shale. Formations include the Burgoon, Mauch Chunk, Pottsville, and Allegheny. The mountain is anticlinal in structure.
Along the length of this ridge there are several prominent knobs that rise from the ridgeline. They are as follows south to north: Sugarloaf Knob 2,667 ft (813 m), Highpoint 2,994 ft (913 m), Birch Rock Hill 2,934 ft (894 m), Painter Rock Hill 2,920 ft (890 m), Bald Knob 2,930 ft (890 m), Ulery Hill 2,820 ft (860 m), Pea Vine Hill 2,900 ft (880 m), Pikes Peak 2,840 ft (870 m), Mystery Hill 2,880 ft (880 m), and Sugar Camp Hill 2,908 ft (886 m).
The Laurel Hill region shares the humid continental climate of the Mid-Atlantic region in which it is located.
The mountain ridge is oriented at right angles to approaching weather systems, forcing prevailing westerly airflows upward. As rising air cools, moisture in the air mass condenses; once reaching the saturation point, precipitation results. Laurel Hill may also act as a barrier to weather systems and slow the movement of storms, which has an impact on the local area and forms a microclimate. Although the mountain is not high enough to create its own weather, its orography is enough to gently nudge weather from hot to warm, cool to cold, and from rain to snow; along with moisture from the Great Lakes, the latter can result in heavy snowfall during winter months. The mountain ridge can be 5 to 10 °F (−15 to −12 °C) cooler than surrounding towns and valleys, depending on other weather variables.
|Climate data for Laurel Summit, Pennsylvania (2,600 ft ASL) (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1967–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||63|
|Average high °F (°C)||29.7|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||22.7|
|Average low °F (°C)||15.7|
|Record low °F (°C)||−40|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||4.14|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||41.8|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||23.3||24.6||16.1||15.5||14.7||12.5||10.8||10.5||9.3||12.3||18.5||24.7||192.8|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||21.2||22.3||11.3||6.7||1.2||0||0||0||0||1.5||8.3||20.1||92.6|
Laurel Hill has a diversity of habitats, and with that comes a variety of birds and mammals. Ravens and wild turkeys are frequently seen, while the hermit thrush, Canada warbler, brown creeper, and winter wren all nest near the bog at Spruce Flats. During the summer, black-throated blue warblers, blue-headed and red-eyed vireos can be seen. Raptors on the mountain include the broad-winged, red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, and barred owls.
Commonly seen mammals on the mountain include white-tailed deer, chipmunks, and red and gray squirrels. More elusive animals include the woodchuck, raccoon, and opossum. Black bear have also been seen, but are shy and reclusive and not likely to be encountered.
Snakes including the timber rattler and copperhead also make their home on Laurel Hill around rocks and scree areas.
Somerset County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 77,742. Its county seat is Somerset. The county was created from part of Bedford County on April 17, 1795, and named after the county of Somerset in England.
The Youghiogheny River, or the Yough for short, is a 134-mile-long (216 km) tributary of the Monongahela River in the U.S. states of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. It drains an area on the west side of the Allegheny Mountains northward into Pennsylvania, providing a small watershed in extreme western Maryland into the tributaries of the Mississippi River. Youghiogheny is a Lenape word meaning "a stream flowing in a contrary direction".
The Allegheny Front is the major southeast- or east-facing escarpment in the Allegheny Mountains in southern Pennsylvania, western Maryland, eastern West Virginia, and western Virginia, USA. The Allegheny Front forms the boundary between the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians to its east and the Appalachian Plateau to its west. The Front is closely associated with the Appalachian Mountains' Eastern Continental Divide, which in this area divides the waters of the Ohio/Mississippi river system, flowing to the Gulf of Mexico, from rivers flowing into Chesapeake Bay and from there into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Potomac Heritage Trail, also known as the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail or the PHT, is a designated National Scenic Trail corridor spanning parts of the mid-Atlantic region of the United States that will connect various trails and historic sites in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The trail network includes 710 miles (1,140 km) of existing and planned sections, tracing the natural, historical, and cultural features of the Potomac River corridor, the upper Ohio River watershed in Pennsylvania and western Maryland, and a portion of the Rappahannock River watershed in Virginia. The trail is managed by the National Park Service.
The Laurel Highlands is a region in southwestern Pennsylvania made up of Fayette County, Somerset County and Westmoreland County. It has a population of about 600,000 people.
Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania. Located in the 5,685-acre (2,301 ha) Forbes State Forest near the hamlet of Markleton in Elk Lick Township, Somerset County; it lies on a gentle crest of a 30-mile (50 km) ridge line extending from central Somerset County southward into Garrett County, Maryland known as Negro Mountain.
Bear Run is a 5.0-mile-long (8.0 km) tributary of the Youghiogheny River in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in the United States.
Blue Knob State Park is a 6,128-acre (2,480 ha) Pennsylvania state park in Kimmel, Lincoln, and Pavia townships in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. The average annual snowfall at the park is about 12 feet (370 cm). The park is named for Blue Knob, the second highest mountain in Pennsylvania at 3,146 feet (959 m). It is the location of Blue Knob All Seasons Resort, the ski slope in Pennsylvania with the highest elevation. Blue Knob State Park is just off Interstate 99 on Pennsylvania Route 869 west of Pavia.
Forbes State Forest is a Pennsylvania state forest in Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry District #4. The main offices are located in Laughlintown in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in the United States. Mount Davis, the highest peak in Pennsylvania, is located in the forest.
Ohiopyle State Park is a Pennsylvania state park on 19,052 acres (7,710 ha) in Dunbar, Henry Clay and Stewart Townships, Fayette County, Pennsylvania in the United States. The focal point of the park is the more than 14 miles (23 km) of the Youghiogheny River Gorge that passes through the park. The river provides some of the best whitewater boating in the Eastern United States. Ohiopyle State Park is bisected by Pennsylvania Route 381 south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The park opened to the public in 1965, but was not officially dedicated until 1971.
Indian Creek is a 31.0-mile-long (49.9 km) tributary of the Youghiogheny River in Fayette County, Pennsylvania in the United States.
Laurel Mountain State Park is a 493-acre (200 ha) Pennsylvania state park in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland County and Jenner Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania in the United States.
Laurel Ridge State Park is a 13,625-acre (5,514 ha) Pennsylvania state park that passes through Cambria, Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties, Pennsylvania in the United States.
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a 70-mile (110 km) hiking trail in southwestern Pennsylvania, which largely follows the Laurel Hill geologic formation. Some of the trail is within the boundaries of various tracts of Laurel Ridge State Park. The trail begins at Ohiopyle State Park and travels generally to the northeast, and ends at Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown. The trail goes through state forests, state parks, state game lands, and some privately owned lands. Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is open year-round and is marked with yellow blazes, with large wooden signs at every major highway crossing. Connector trails are marked with blue blazes; those trails connect the main trail with parking and shelter areas. Six parking lots at the highway crossings provide starting points; some have access to drinking water. Construction of the trail began in 1970.
Blue Knob is a Pennsylvania summit with a broad dome that is the northernmost 3,000-footer in the range of Allegheny Mountains. It is the highest point in Bedford County.
The Geology of Pennsylvania consists of six distinct physiographic provinces, three of which are subdivided into different sections. Each province has its own economic advantages and geologic hazards and plays an important role in shaping everyday life in the state. They are: the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province, the Piedmont Province, the New England Province, the Ridge and Valley Province, the Appalachian Plateau Province, and the Central Lowlands Province.
Kentuck Knob, also known as the Hagan House, is a house designed by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in rural Stewart Township near the village of Chalk Hill, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA, 45 miles (72 km) southeast of Pittsburgh. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000 for the quality of its architecture.
Woody's Knob, at an elevation of 4,170 feet, is a summit or "knob" in the Blue Ridge Mountains and one of the highest points in the unincorporated village of Little Switzerland and in Mitchell County, North Carolina.
The Pennsylvanian Pottsville Formation is a mapped bedrock unit in Pennsylvania, western Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, and Alabama. It is a major ridge-former in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians of the eastern United States. The Pottsville Formation is conspicuous at many sites along the Allegheny Front, the eastern escarpment of the Allegheny or Appalachian Plateau.
Sugarloaf Knob is a well-known summit within Ohiopyle State Park on the south end of the Laurel Ridge. This mountain has a unique profile and can easily be recognized at different lookouts in the park and surrounding area. The Youghiogheny River cuts beneath the "knob" and Laurel Hill creating a 1,700-foot (520 m) deep chasm. The highest peak in the area is the south end of the Laurel Hill Ridge as it reaches 2,920 ft (890 m) above sea level.
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