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Overview

Considerable snowfall blankets southwest Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, providing a close-to-Pittsburgh getaway for winter sports enthusiasts seeking skiing, snow-shoeing, snow-mobiling, snow-tubing (snow-tubers, also known as icetaters) and those seeking vistas filled with frosted pines and fresh air. What the Alleghenies fail to offer in height for downhill skiers (average run length is 300 ft.) is made up for by scenic beauty and luxury. Mystic Mountain is home to four different resorts including family-friendly Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and posh Nemacolin Woodlands — all offer spa services and more.

The area’s state ...

Considerable snowfall blankets southwest Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, providing a close-to-Pittsburgh getaway for winter sports enthusiasts seeking skiing, snow-shoeing, snow-mobiling, snow-tubing (snow-tubers, also known as icetaters) and those seeking vistas filled with frosted pines and fresh air. What the Alleghenies fail to offer in height for downhill skiers (average run length is 300 ft.) is made up for by scenic beauty and luxury. Mystic Mountain is home to four different resorts including family-friendly Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and posh Nemacolin Woodlands — all offer spa services and more.

The area’s state parks are open year-round and have good cross-country skiing. Laurel Ridge State Park offers free use of a 35-mile cross-country trail and a 70-mile snowmobile trail system; there is also a 20-mile cross-country ski touring concession in the park, fee required. Ohiopyle State Park has more than 13 miles of snowmobile trails and 33.9 miles of cross-country trails. A hill is maintained for sledding in the Sugarloaf Snowmobile/Mountain Bike Area.

If a drive through pristine woods is on your itinerary, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed country house Kentuck Knob (with its fabulous collection of outdoor art), Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and Johnstown Flood Museum are open year-round among other historical and cultural places. Pick up winter picnic supplies at Friendship Farms and see how many of the area’s numerous covered bridges you can pass through on your way to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Somerset.

Joanne Miller
About the Expert

Joanne Miller is the author of several Moon guidebooks, including Pennsylvania Handbook, Chesapeake Bay Handbook, and Maryland/Delaware Handbook.

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Joanne Miller for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The highlands are special year round, and especially beautiful after a fresh snowfall. The area offers a great variety of winter sports and entertainment December-April.