Active Things to Do
There is a multitude of active things to do when you visit Hidden Valley, of course depending on the season. In the summer you can play golf, cycle, fish, raft, and hike, just to give you some of the more obvious choices. As the site expands, it will become a guide to active things to do at Hidden Valley.
Idlewild and SoakZone
Just two miles west of Johnstone is Idlewild and SoakZone, a theme park and a water park. There are great rides, roller coasters, 14 waterslides, kiddie rides and the one and only Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Then, when you are ready for a short break from the fun and excitement of rides and waterslides, have a seat, relax and enjoy shows. See the Human Cannonball soar high above the SoakZone waterpark, visit the Hootin’ Holler Gasebo Stage and wrap up your day at the Hillside Theater. The park is open from May until October.
The beautiful Youghiogeny River runs through Ohiopyle, about a half hour from Hidden Valley. Near the center of town you can see the beautiful Ohiopyle Falls, pictured here. If you click on the photo, you’ll be taken to the site of a photographer who offers this and other great photos of the area for sale and license.
The Yough, as locals call it, is fed by Youghiogeny Lake, a man-made lake north of Confluence. The flow is controlled to preserve the river’s fish population and keep the rapids at a good level for rafting. The US Geological Survey has proved an on-line gauge of water flow.
There are several outfitters who can set up you with a safety vest and helmet and raft and take you on a guided raft trip down the river. These trips are a lot of fun and are highly recommended. They are active; you have to paddle and work your way through the rapids, and a few rafters will get to experience the river as swimmers if they don’t negotiate some of the rapids properly. But you don’t have to be an athlete–anyone who is even moderately active can do it easily and safely and will have a great time.
For more information about rafting on the Yough, and all the activities available in the park, take a look at the park’s Web site. The site also provides a list of licensed outfitters who can provide you with a great rafting experience. These trips usually book in advance, so it’s a good idea to make your reservation before you arrive at Hidden Valley.
If you don’t fancy a white water adventure, then you can always rent a canoe or raft and enjoy a more placid experience on the Upper Yough. It’s an incredibly beautiful canoe trip, and not terribly demanding or dangerous. You can also wade into the water to fish for trout; on a good day you can generally find a few fishermen below the Yough dam outside Confluence.
Learn to Ski
Yes, Hidden Valley is a great place to ski. But it’s an even better place to learn how to ski, for the whole family. The Hidden Valley Ski School for years has been the secret gem of the resort. It’s staffed by capable, dedicated instructors who enjoy what they do, and the terrain is ideal for learning.
The beginner’s slope now has a carpet type lift that’s perfect for the little ones. You can put your children in ski school and not worry about whether they will have a good time–or whether they are safe. Then once they learn to ski, you’ll find that Hidden Valley is the sort of friendly, family place where you can let them ski by themselves.
You’ll be happy to find out that the Hidden Valley programs for young children are very professional. Your kids will have a great time, and they’ll have a terrific chance to learn to ski as well.
We all know that skiing started it all at Hidden Valley. For a long time, locals knew that this valley got a lot of snow whenever the snow fell, and would have snow when the surrounding terrain didn’t. So, even before the advent of modern snowmaking, Hidden Valley began as a ski area, developed by George Parke.
Today, from our home at Hidden Valley, you can wall about a hundred yards to the nearest ski trail, which is central to the whole trail complex, and connects you to both major parts of the Hidden Valley Ski Resort. Of course, today the resort doesn’t rely on natural snow any more; there’s an extensive network of snow-making that can provide snow even when Mother Nature lets us down.
Since the Buncher organization took over at Hidden Valley, the news has been nothing but good. Lifts have been replaced and new lifts have been added. Snowmaking was expanded to an amazing extent, so reliance on Mother Nature to provide our winter fun has been much reduced. A number of trails have been made wider and much more pleasant to ski. We see the impact on the skiing experience of real professionals who want to provide a great guest experience and know how to do it.
Skiing and snowboarding take time to learn; what if someone who has come along on a ski trip doesn’t know how to ski? Sure, they can take lessons and get started on the sport. They can also consider Hidden Valley tubing, which requires no lessons, is great outdoor fun and is quite safe.
You tube on a ski slope. You go down the slope in a large inner tube! When you reach the bottom, you find that there’s a lift to pull you and your tube back up the slope. The tube runs in a track that’s cut into the snow, so the path downhill is well controlled.
Hidden Valley offers tubing fun most days when the ski slopes are open with up to four lanes in operation. You don’t even need your own tube; they’re supplied.
The Ohiopyle State Park, a half hour drive from Hidden Valley, offers some of the most spectacular cycling you’ll ever have the chance to enjoy. There is a network of rail trails that have been converted to hiking-cycling paths in Pennsylvania, that connect all the way to the Maryland border in the South to Lake Erie in the north. Ohiopyle is in about the middle of all of these great trails.
Starting at Ohiopyle you can take a short ride to Confluence that’s about ten miles away. You ride along a beautiful trail through the woods that is nearly flat, along the beautiful, unspoiled river. For most of the ride you won’t see any signs of civilization at all. Then at the end of the ride, Confluence is across the river, and you can have lunch at the Rivers Edge Cafe, highly recommended. Then on the way back you’ll see that it’s slightly downhill on the way back, easing your way.
Or head the other direction from Ohiopyle and you’re going toward Connellsville. At the start of the ride you’ll cross a fabulous trestle bridge that crosses the Youghigeny River. It’s beautiful at all times of the year; this photo shows the bridge in autumn, when it’s gorgeous because of the beautiful fall colors in this part of Pennsylvania.
When you arrive at our home at the Summit at Hidden Valley, you’ll find that it’s within an easy walk (or an extremely easy drive) of the Hidden Valley Tennis Club. Here there are Har-Tru tennis courts, several of them lighted, and there’s a resident tennis pro. Bring friends and have a game, or ask the pro to find a game for you.
The tennis club is not super-busy, so you won’t have a lot of trouble getting court time. Even in the summer, the temperatures at the top of the mountain are reasonable, so you’re unlikely to find the weather too hot to play, even on the hottest days of the summer.
The Golf Club at Hidden Valley is well known for its beauty and challenge. It has narrow, tree-lined fairways that nestle among native mountain laurel. From the golf course, you can see 30 miles of vistas from the mountain. Every hole is breathtakingly beautiful. The course is hilly enough that carts are required–and you’ll want to take a cart, trust me!
Here’s what the resort Web site says about the golf course:
Golf course architect Russell Roberts designed the course to take full advantage of the 20 to 30 mile vistas and rolling, wooded terrain. Narrow tree-lined fairways, which do not run parallel, put a premium on accuracy. Water, sand, and natural rock outcroppings all play a part in the developing legendary status of our 18 hole, par 72 championship golf course, which boasts a slope rating of 142! (Championship tees). Built along the natural fall lines of its mountaintop home, 30 mile vistas capture the dramatic landscape of the surrounding countryside. The course was designed to accommodate varying levels of expertise: Championship, 6,589 yards; Men, 6,117 yards; and Women, 5,027 yards.
You may want to call 1-814-443-8444 in advance to reserve a tee time if you plan a Hidden Valley vacation, because the course is popular.
A new attraction at Hidden Valley is the Hidden Valley Stables, just down the road from the Summit. The riding trails throughout the area are excellent, so if you’re an equestrian you can have a great time. Check the Resort Web page for more information.