Best Easy Day Hikes Pittsburgh  by Bob Frye

Best Easy Day Hikes: Pittsburgh Guide Book

by Bob Frye (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Pittsburgh  by Bob Frye
Best Easy Day Hikes Rochester, New York includes concise descriptions and detailed maps of twenty of the author’s favorite hikes in and around the Flour City—from a 100-acre wilderness in Cobb’s Hill Park and the rock walls in the Genesee River Gorge to the Erie Canal Heritage Trail and the Thousand Acre Swamp.

© 2009 Bob Frye/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: Pittsburgh" Guide Book
Displaying trails 18 of 18.

Displaying trails 1 to 18 of 18.

A relatively short hike through a nature preserve that contains just 134 acres, this loop is nonetheless enjoyable, especially if you want to stay close to Pittsburgh. You can join any walk here with one of Beechwood’s many public nature programs or a trip to its store, too. From exit 48 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, get onto Route 910/Yellow Belt. Turn left onto Locust Hill Road, go 1.4 miles, and turn right onto Guys Run Road, then turn right onto the Green Belt. After traveling 1.3 miles, go left onto Dorseyville Road and follow it to the nature reserve.
Fox Chapel, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
Bushy Run Battlefield was the site of a key British victory over seven tribes of Indians in 1763. It was first memorialized in 1918, when the schoolchildren of Westmoreland County contributed one penny each—70,000 pennies in all—to buy six and a half acres and establish the battlefield as a park. Today, it’s expanded to about 250 acres, and visitors can learn about its unique place in history by walking the Edge Hill Trail.
Claridge, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 1
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This is a relatively easy hike along a gated road on State Game Lands 302 on the border of Greene and Washington Counties. It largely follows the Enlow Fork of Wheeling Creek and is rich in wildflowers, birds, and wildlife. It’s a good winter trail, too.
Wind Ridge, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 6.8
This hike is a relatively short one, but it’s very scenic and pleasant to walk. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can take a fast-paced dip into some startlingly refreshing— real cold—water. It’s not uncommon to be walking a trail and come across a tree with the initials of long-gone lovers carved into its bark. You’ll even see a few while walking Flat Rock Trail. It’s more unusual to find initials carved into stone. But this trail has those, too. As its name implies, Flat Rock Trail leads to a shelf of flat rock, 80 feet or more at its widest.
Ligonier, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.9
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This loop hike through Frick Park involves only a few hills and will allow you to see the tiny Hot Dog Dam, an even smaller pond, and, if you’re lucky, people playing lawn bowling at the only site in Pennsylvania where that game still goes on. Expect to see lots of people and dogs, too. Many hikes take you through areas of solitude. That’s not the case here. Frick Park is always busy with a multicultural crowd of joggers, lawn bowlers, bicyclists, high school cross-country runners, and skiers. This hike begins on the South Clayton Loop Trail near Frick Environmental Center. It’s not marked, but if you walk to the end of the parking area, keeping the composting area and Meadow Trail on your left, you’ll find it by a water fountain.
Wilkinsburg, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 5.1
This is an easy to moderate hike, with lots of wildlife—notably, white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrels, and songbirds— to be seen. You get some nice views of the Monongahela River, too. What makes this hike really unique, however, is the opportunity to visit the Gallatin House, where you can get a guided tour, watch a video presentation, and learn about an important if little known American.
Bobtown, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 4
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This is a fairly easy hike—it has just one challenging climb— and can be combined with one of Jennings Environmental Education Center’s many nature programs for a full day of fun outdoors. Programs typically cover everything from tree identification and wildflowers to rattlesnakes and Native American culture, with some specifically for children.
Prospect, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 3
This loop hike in Laurel Hill State Park is a very pleasant one, winding through a maturing hardwood forest. Its best feature, though, is to be found near the end in the form of an engineering marvel that dates back seven decades or more.
Somerset, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 3.1
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You’ll be hiking at some high altitudes here—the trailhead lies at 2,708 feet—so expect to find snow and colder temperatures here when Pittsburgh is warmer and drier. Don’t worry about having to do any climbing, though. Because this hike stays on the ridge the entire time, it offers flat walking.
Ligonier, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 2.3
Mingo Creek County Park southwest of Pittsburgh is a true multiuse park, popular with everyone from horseback riders and picnickers to history buffs and model airplane operators. There’s plenty for hikers to like, too, though, in the way of scenery and wildlife.
Courtney, PA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.1
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Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania, 3,213 feet above sea level. Don’t expect to see a singular majestic peak, however. The area around Mount Davis is one big plateau, so while you can get a very nice view from an observation tower, it’s surprisingly flat.
Salisbury, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.8
This hike winds through Ohiopyle State Park’s Ferncliff Natural Area, a hundred-acre peninsula that’s a National Natural Landmark. You’ll likely see kayakers and rafters churning through rapids, get a bird’s-eye view of the Yough from an old railroad bridge, and wander almost under the 30-foot Cucumber Falls. In the late 1880s, Ferncliff Natural Area was anything but natural. Entrepreneurs turned the peninsula into a regular Coney Island, with a boardwalk, dance pavilion, ball fields, tennis courts, fountains, and hotel. Today Ferncliff has largely returned to its natural state. It’s a unique one, too. The Youghiogheny River, known as the “Yough” and pronounced “yock,” flows north into Pennsylvania here, carrying seeds from Maryland and West Virginia.
Ohiopyle, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.7
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There are many beautiful hikes in western Pennsylvania, but it’s hard to imagine any surpassing this loop through the Quebec Run Wild Area on Chestnut Ridge. Towering hemlocks, mountain laurel, two exquisite streams, and a variety of wildlife make this walk nothing short of amazing. If there’s a place where you can experience wilderness despite the once-heavy hand of man, Quebec Run Wild Area is it. The nearly 7,500 acres that make up this portion of Forbes State Forest have been extensively logged at least twice, most recently seventy years ago. But you wouldn’t know it to hike here. The wild area—which will never again see permanent development—is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful places in western Pennsylvania.
Bruceton, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.9
This hike, which begins and ends with hills but is relatively flat otherwise, winds through what is perhaps the most diverse habitat in Pennsylvania. Abundant wildflowers, rocky cliffs, and a picturesque stream are among the highlights.
Clinton, PA - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
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Military battles can change history, as can earthquakes, plagues, and inventions. So, too, can the tiniest ripples, as the existence of Todd Nature Reserve attests. In the 1880s, a teenage W. E. Clyde Todd was studying birds on his grandparents’ farm near Sarver. He spotted a nesting magnolia warbler. The discovery had significance; previously, no one realized the birds nested so far south. Todd Nature Reserve is the older—if lesser well known—of two properties owned by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. This hike through the 176-acre woodland lets you experience streams shaded by dark hemlocks, boulder fields, and a pond banked by regenerating forest.
Silverville, PA - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 1.1
A lot of hikes promise to lead to scenic overlooks. Wolf Rocks Trail delivers. It takes you to a rocky outcrop nearly 100 feet wide and offers a magnificent view of the Linn Run Valley that’s particularly stunning in the greens of summer and the reds, oranges, and yellows of fall.
Ligonier, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 4.5
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Since its dedication on July 4, 1976, Yellow Creek State Park has become immensely popular with picnickers, swimmers, boaters, and anglers. Hikers haven’t always viewed it with the same level of desire, though. That’s too bad because the park has several nice trails, perhaps the best being Damsite Trail. It’s been rerouted—it’s longer and shaped differently than the park map would have you believe—but is a beautiful hike nonetheless.
Indiana, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Fishing,Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3
The Yough River Trail is part of the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile rail trail connecting Pittsburgh with Cumberland, Maryland, though a connection to the C&O Canal path will let you go 316 miles and all the way to Washington, D.C. This particular section of trail follows the path of what was a Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad line. It’s a perfectly flat walk over crushed stone. June 10, 1901, was a day of tragedy for those connected to Port Royal Mine No. 2. On that day at that mine in West Newton, an underground explosion large enough to shock even miners numbed to constant danger occurred. The disaster attracted national attention for claiming the lives of more than twenty miners and would-be rescuers, according to newspapers covering the incident at the time. Today, a monument to those lost souls exists along the Yough River Trail, a rail trail that covers 43 miles in its northern section. To hike this 6-mile portion, start at the Arthur H. King II access in West Newton and turn right, or upstream, to head south along the trail.
West Newton, PA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Snowshoeing,Trail Running - Trail Length: 6
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