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The borough of Seven Springs is nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, and many visitors come here for one thing: to swoosh down the slopes at the area’s eponymous ski resort. Thanks to its high elevation, the place also offers a welcome respite from high summer temperatures. It is an ideal base for exploring the gorgeous Laurel Highlands, as the hilly surrounding countryside is called. Marked by mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and streams, this lush region draws outdoor enthusiasts keen to bike, hike, and ski. But recreation isn’t the only reason to come here. The highlands’ green pastures are also home to numerous historic sites and battlefields, including more than a few places trod by George Washington, the country’s first president, and locales that played key roles in the Revolutionary War.
Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (LBE) in Latrobe is located about 25 miles from Seven Springs, although many visitors fly into Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), located about 80 miles away, due to its greater flight options. Once on the ground, opt for a rental car to get you the rest of the way to Seven Springs and to explore the Laurel Highlands.
The ski resort and local towns buzz with visitors during winter, when snowfall is heavy and temperatures are freezing. March is maple syrup season, and local farms invite visitors to sample their goods straight from the tree. The cold weather can extend into spring, although warm days typically arrive by May, when the landscape comes to life with fresh greenery and flowers. Warm, sunny summers are ideal times to book a vacation rental here if you’re interested in hiking and biking, and fall ushers in spectacularly colored foliage. Because this area is marked by valleys and mountains, there can be a range of temperatures on any given day, so pack for diverse weather conditions.
With 33 slopes and trails, seven terrain parks, and 10 lifts, there’s a lot of ground to cover at the local ski resort. Beginners can sign up for a class at the ski school, while those who prefer their winter antics sitting down can hit the 11-lane tube park. In the summer the mountain turns into an adventure park with zip-lining and rock climbing. With several restaurants and bars dotting the slopes, you may never take the lift down.
Unfurling over 20,000 acres, Ohiopyle State Park is a rugged gem snugged against the Allegheny Mountains. The roaring rapids of Youghiogheny River Gorge call to whitewater rafters, while cyclists set out across the Great Allegheny Passage, a former railroad route converted into a 150-mile scenic trail. Cucumber Falls, accessible by a short walk from a nearby parking lot, is rewarding in summer and winter. During the hot months it's a misty spectacle that spills into natural water slides; in winter it freezes into an elaborate ice formation.
Considered an architectural masterpiece, Falling Water is a feat of organic architecture, constructed with native sandstone, perched above a waterfall, and surrounded by 5,100 acres of protected land. Join a guided tour to get a look inside and to learn more about the famous architect who created it. Nearby, you can tour Kentuck Knob, another creation by the same visionary. This majestic one-story home, made of sandstone and red cypress, blends seamlessly into the hillside on which it resides.