Pittsburgh may be known as the “Steel City” or the “City of Bridges” but it’s also an awesome place to pull on your boots and take a hike – without having to travel hours away for a decent adventure. Pittsburgh and its close surrounding areas have plenty to offer hikers. And the views aren’t too shabby either.
Great Allegheny Passage
Various locations in PA through MD
The Great Allegheny Passage is a 330-mile route between Pittsburgh and Washington D.C., created to give hikers, bikers and other recreational participants the opportunity to pursue their outdoor interests in a non-motorized trail area. The Montour Trail, located in the Great Allegheny Passage, will soon connect McKeesport to the Pittsburgh International Airport and Coraopolis, giving Pittsburgh residents an easy access to a beautiful hiking trail. A recent update of the trail expansion shows that the trail is complete from Cumberland, Maryland to the Waterfront Shopping District in Homestead, Pennsylvania. The trail offers hikers beautiful scenic landscape and terrific nature watching.
Rachel Carson Trail
Just about 30 minutes north of Pittsburgh, the Rachel Carson Trail is ideal for hiking enthusiasts. This 35.7-mile trail reaches from Harrison Hills County Park (northeast corner of Allegheny County) to North Park, with plenty of twists and turns to keep hikers on their toes. You can travel through several different terrains during your trek—from county parks, suburban homes and farms, creeks, woods, fields and more. Most of the land has remained untouched, with few bridges leaving most hikers the experience of crossing streams by foot. For more information on the trail, visit this website.
North Highland Avenue
For hikers not interested in working up too much of a sweat, the beautiful Highland Park offers hikers a two-mile excursion, along Elm, Babbling Brook, Memorial Grove, Bunker Hill and Bigelow Trails. Hikers even get to take in a great view of Lake Carnegie while they make their trek around Highland Park. In addition, be sure to check out the Babbling Brook’s rocky watercourse and Mount Bigelow. These are views that will make you forget you’re in the city. This park also offers different trails for the less experienced hikers. Check out their website for detailed trails (beginners, intermediate, difficult). But before you leave, don’t forget to check out the entry garden—complete with over 40,000 tulips, a stunning water fountain and other beautiful plants.
Ohiopyle State Park
171 Dinnerbell Rd
Butler, PA 16002
Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Even though Ohiopyle State Park is an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, this is one hiking destination that you can’t miss. Ohiopyle offers an incredible 79 miles of trails, showcasing the untouched beauty of the Laurel Highlands. Hikers of all experience levels can tie up their hiking boots for an incredible excursion. From one-day hikes to challenging backpacking, the sky is the limit. For those looking for the easiest hiking route, be sure to check out the 27-mile Youghiogheny River Trail. And there are plenty of fun activities to do for the next trip. From white water rafting, horseback riding and biking, Ohiopyle gives outdoor enthusiasts plenty of reasons to come back.
If hiking is a bit too much for you check out the Best Walking Trails in Pittsburgh.
Christine Mouser is currently living in the Pittsburgh area, where she is an editorial intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. She is set to graduate from Penn State University this summer, with a degree in print journalism. She has written for HappyValley.com, Town&Gown magazine and Penn State’s Valley magazine.