Features to Experience
This area has large rocks and cliffs along with the possibility of snakes sunning themselves on the rocks. Keep an eye out where you step and be cautious while climbing.
How to Access
Park at the Youghiogheny River Parking lot and cross the Great Allegheny Passage Trail to access the Ferncliff Trail. Follow trail along the river towards the Ohiopyle Falls.
A resistant layer of Pottsville Sandstone is exposed by the Youghiogheny River making this area largely free of vegetation allowing for an easy walk to explore the river's edge ahead of the Ohiopyle Falls. This same layer of resistant sandstone continues from the falls at 1160 feet in elevation to the top of Laurel Ridge (also known as Laurel Hill) at a 2920 feet and bends back down to be 500 feet below the surface at Confluence, PA. This arch is known as the Laurel Hill Anticline making it a folded mountain.
Ancient fossils can be observed in the rock in this area along with a visible history of the river's past with potholes and shallow pools cut off from the present water's flow.
The wall of vegetation running parallel with the river features a range of hardwoods with rhododendrons along some treacherous and wild terrain that is common along Ferncliff Peninsula. With the river's dramatic horseshoe shaped curve at Ferncliff being at the bottom of the Youghiogheny Rive Gorge it has a milder and more humid microclimate climate compared to the rest of the region. This and seeds having washed down from southern locales has contributed to Ferncliff Peninsula becoming a botanical treasure featuring rare plants and plants not usually found in this region.