Bear Run Nature Reserve

Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania 15470

Bear Run Nature Reserve

Bear Run Nature Reserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"There are a number of highlights on this hike. The trail begins in a pristine stand of pines, continues on gently rolling grassy roads, and finally leads to a heart-stopping view into the 1,700-foot-deep Youghiogheny River Gorge. Returning from the gorge, you pass Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece.

The Bear Run Nature Reserve is a 5,000-acre natural area owned and maintained by The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. On the east side of the reserve, you’ll find gently rolling grassy terrain, the visitor center, and a bulletin board of information about the trails. Across PA 381, on the western side of the reserve, it’s rugged, rocky terrain that ends at the Youghiogheny River Gorge. Here you’ll also find an unusual treat for a woodland hike: The conservancy also owns and operates Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous structure Fallingwater, built of local sandstone and cantilevered over a waterfall on Bear Run."

More Bear Run Nature Reserve Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Pittsburgh (Menasha Ridge Press)
Donna L. Ruff
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"The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy owns and protects this 5,000-acre reserve located on the western slope of Laurel Ridge. The trails and terrain are diverse and notably beautiful and peaceful. This hike includes passing through a stand of virgin hemlocks, dense woods, and many views of the clear waters of Bear Run. There is something about stepping between the information sign and registration and comment box onto the trail in this particular reserve that signifies almost instantly that this is going to be a special place. The beauty of the trail and woods ahead immediately draws one in, making the hiker feel as though he or she is walking into the world the way it should be." Read more
Best Hikes Pittsburgh - 2nd Edition (Falcon Guides)
Bob Frye
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"The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has been buying and saving land in western Pennsylvania for more than seventy-five years. Most of the time, it secures unique and special natural places, then turns them over to agencies like the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Pennsylvania Game Commission to maintain. The organization has kept the 5,189-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve to conserve the region’s native plants, animals, and their ecosystems. Although the reserve also serves as a monitoring station for biodiversity in the region, it remains open to the public." Read more
AMC's Best Backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Michael R. Martin
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"Bear Run Nature Reserve offers a rich variety of landscapes, from dramatic views of the Youghiogheny River, to picturesque trails meandering through thickets of rhododendron, and beautiful valleys following Laurel Run and Bear Run. For the most part, its trails are gently graded and well marked, many of its stream crossings are bridged, and one is never too far away from the trailhead in case something goes awry. This makes Bear Run an excellent introduction to backpacking and the trails of Pennsylvania." Read more

Bear Run Nature Reserve Reviews

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This hike is a 2.5. The description indicates a highlight is an overlook at paradise point. The view from there was somewhat obscured by trees but pretty good but calling it "paradise point" is a stretch. Our assessment is that the hike would be better in the late fall when leaves have fallen leaving unobstructed views on certain portions of the trail. The hike itself takes you through terrain pretty characteristic of the area but there is nothing that makes this hike stand out. We enjoyed the Quebec Run hike much more (relatively close by).

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Trail Information

Nearby City
1,038 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
5 hours
Spring, summer, fall
Additional Use
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 800 Waterfront Dr., Pittsburgh 15222; (412) 288-2777;
Local Contacts
USGS Mill Run, PA
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018