There are few hotels in Pennsylvania that are more historic than the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford County, PA. And while staying at one of the few remaining mineral spring resorts in the country is definitely on the pricier side, those wanting to see the grounds and the springs can take a free hike on their fabulous hiking trails.
That are roughly 20 miles of hiking trails at Bedford Springs, about half of which also double as mountain biking trails. What’s great is that there appears to be no restriction on non-guests hiking here, which is a great way to see this beautiful and historic property. (A map of the trails can be found here, though it’s a bit confusing as some trails run together and others appear to but don’t.)
While you can do loops of just about any length and difficulty, my main target was the resort’s famed springs. From 1806 until the 1980s, Bedford Springs Resort was known for the supposed healing powers of its springs. It even attracted seven current, future, or former Presidents to visit, and was known as the Summer White House because of how frequently President James Buchanan (who was born nearby) visited the hotel.
The best spot to park when exploring the grounds is in the parking area at the end of the Shuster Way Heritage Trail along Sweet Root Road on the edge of the resort. You can find this parking area at these coordinates: 39.997302, -78.504275.
The Shuster Way Heritage Trail is a fairly new four-mile walking and biking path that runs from the Omni Bedford Springs Resort on its southern end to downtown Bedford, past the Fort Bedford Museum, and up to Old Bedford Village to the north.
From the trailhead, cross the bridge over the creek, and look to your right to pick up the trails at the Bedford Springs Resort.
While you can hike to a total of six different springs along the resort’s trails, three are located close together just across Shobers Run from the resort and the parking area. That makes them easy to see and worth hiking to whether you want a short and easy hike or a long and challenging one.
The blue-blazed Naugle’s Mill Trail, which you can pick up after you cross the bridge, follows closely to the creek and is quite a beautiful spot for a hike. It soon passes Limestone Spring before coming to another bridge over the creek and a covered area that houses Magnesia Spring.
Beyond this, make sure to take the orange-blazed Evitt Trail for a short distance until you reach probably the most impressive of the springs at the resort, Iron Spring. This spot is especially great because the resort has created a stone encasement around the spring that results in an 8-foot waterfall right on the edge of the spring itself.
From here, you could certainly continue on the Evitt Trail, which runs up the hillside and creates a 4.6-mile loop that is rated as difficult or you could retrace your steps back to the Limestone Trail and complete a shorter loop, which is what I opted to do because I had several more spots I wanted to check out.
The first is a small cave known as the Davey Lewis Cave. According to lore, Lewis was a local outlaw who would hide his loot in this small cave on the property.
The cave is totally unmarked but can be found along the teal-blazed trail at the point where two branches of a seemingly unnamed creek meet.
The entrance here is quite small, and even kids would need to lie down and army crawl inside. Given I was alone and am not really experienced with caving (other than some easy stuff at Tytoona Cave in Blair County), I opted not to go inside. However, it is said that the entrance opens up into several small rooms, though I definitely don’t recommend checking out more than the entrance.
After seeing the entrance to the cave, I retraced my steps back toward my car. However, instead of leaving right away, I took a few minutes to check out the grounds around the resort.
This is truly a beautiful resort and there are a lot of activities for guests to take part in here. I would love to stay here at some point, though it’s definitely an expensive spot to spend the night.
Near the end of the hotel, you can see another spring, known as Sulphur Spring (which fortunately didn’t smell much). It emerges from near the base of a large stone wall, which creates a rather dramatic scene.
It was at Sulphur Spring that I ended my exploration, but you could spend all day hiking the trails here if you really wanted to explore the land around the resort. There are also two more springs that are a bit harder to reach, Black Spring and Crystal Spring, both of which I’d love to see someday.
So, whether you are looking for an easy hike to some interesting and historic spots or want a longer and more challenging experience, the trails around the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford County, PA are definitely worth exploring when exploring the Alleghenies.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]