It’s a great time to enjoy spring weather, get some fresh air, and celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Southwestern PA offers many amazing hiking trails both within the city limits and a few miles outside of it. Here are some close-to-home hiking spots you can enjoy this spring.
The Rachel Carson Trail
Named after the environmental activist Rachel Carson, this trail is around 45 miles long and features a lot of different types of terrain and vegetation. One end of the trail starts in Harrison Hills Park, where there is plentiful parking and lots of picnic tables placed throughout. Several different trails are marked throughout the park. Be advised that this one can get a bit muddy if it’s been raining recently.
Fall Run Park
This trail off Fall Run Road in Shaler offers a picturesque nature walk that runs along a stream and has a waterfall. The hike is a narrow out-and-back path of a total of 1.6 miles. The waterfall is about 0.5 miles in so it’s a short walk that’s easily accessible. You’ll cross the stream over wooden bridges and get a great view of the waterfall by walking up some wooden stairs. While this is a fairly flat nature walk, it’s another one that can get muddy.
Located in the heart of the city, Frick Park is the city’s largest historic regional park. This woodland park offers multiple trails, paved and unpaved, through densely wooded areas. Frick Park is a favorite among bird watchers because of the many bird species that call Frick Park home.
Another urban park, Schenley Park offers hidden-away hiking and biking trails. Panther Hollow Trail runs right through the center of the Park and is a great option for all hiking skill levels. And while you’ll see a great view of downtown from the top of the park, you’ll forget that you’re in a city when you’re in the heart of the trails.
McConnells Mill State Park
Hike along Slippery Rock Creek and view a historic gristmill and covered bridge from the 1800s at McConnells Mill. This trail features boulders along a creek and waterfall views. Because the boulders can be slippery and the Slipper Rock Creek Gorge is fairly steep, it’s important to stay on the trails and out of the water.
Moraine State Park
Hike along Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park. This park features nearly 30 miles of trails ranging from one-mile hikes for beginners to the challenging 14.8-mile Glacier Ridge Trail. Moraine is quite close to McConnells Mill State Park as well.
Ohiopyle State Park
As Pennsylvania’s largest state park, Ohiopyle is an expansive park that covers more than 19,000 acres. The Youghiogheny River Gorge passes through the park, so you can find some waterfall views within the park. The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail offers some of the best hiking in the region, spanning nearly 70 miles of beautiful outdoors.
As you enjoy the great outdoors, be aware of social distancing recommendations. While trails are open, many state park facilities including park offices, campgrounds, restrooms, and reservable facilities are currently closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.