One of the less known, but rather impressive waterfalls in Western Pennsylvania is Yoder Falls, which is in Somerset County near Johnstown. This is one of those waterfalls that many locals know about, but there is no official park for the waterfalls. The land that the waterfall sits on is owned by the City of Johnstown and is open to hiking and exploring, so by visiting this waterfall you are not on private land.
Getting to Yoder Falls
There is a small pull-off / parking lot for the falls which is located at these GPS coordinates: 40.247334, -78.892415. For those wondering it is about an hour and a half from the Pittsburgh area.
Once parked you’ll find an unmarked trailhead that leads down into the woods. It is steep to start start, but gets easier as you go down.
Exploring Yoder Falls
As you follow the trail down the hill you’ll eventually come to the bottom, from there go to your left where you’ll find an opening to the Stonycreek River. The Stonycreek River is a great place to take a break and even have lunch. You get a great view of the McNally Bridge as well.
After enjoying the Stonycreek River turn around and starting heading up the stream that empties into the river. You should be able to make your way pretty easily for the first few minutes. After that it gets a little harder and the creek opens up quite a bit with some very massive rock formations. You’ll eventually find a rope handrail on the right side of the stream which will take you around the rocks that block the stream.
After taking the rope handrail and hiking around the rocks you’ll make your way to Yoder Falls. It is quite impressive, although when we visited (August) it was a bit dry. It is about a 25 foot waterfall, which is pretty tall for Western, PA! You can sit and enjoy the falls for a while.
Now you can either go back the way you came or go left up the embankment to the top of the falls. If you go back the way you came you’ll hike back down the stream to the original path and then head up the trail to your car. Now if you do decide to go to the top of the falls please be careful and make sure you have proper shoes on as it will be slippery. We decided to go to the top of the waterfall and follow the stream out that way.
Overall it was a great waterfall to visit and one that is very easy to get to. It should only take you about 20-30 minutes to get to the waterfall from the parking lot, which means this hike can really be done all-year around.