Trails and Hiking
Use the Park Maps app to find new trails to explore and track GPS locations while hiking.
With over 200 miles of multi-use trails, the possibilities are endless for outdoor recreation in the Allegheny County Parks. All of the trails are open for walking, hiking, jogging, bicycling, and horseback riding.
For new visitors to the county trails, or experienced hikers seeking challenging trails and new vistas, browse the Park Rangers' Featured Trails list. Please note that each park has many more hiking trails than the ones listed below.
Length: 1.2 miles | Easy-to-moderate
This hike begins at the Carpenter Log House on Pierson Run Rd. The trailhead is located across the road, marked by a log house trail sign. Ford the stream at a rock hardened crossing, then continue on to cross the utility corridor and follow a newly designed section of trail up the small creek valley. Stay left at the "Y" and follow the trail to a clearing by the airfield. At the opening take a sharp right and stay to the left to stay on the Yellow Trail — continue to stay left at the next intersection. Wind through young forest and pass through an interesting section of forest that is almost completely spicebush.
Coming out of the spicebush patch, the forest opens up to numerous large oaks. Exit into a small opening in the canopy — take a hard, almost 180 degree turn back into the woods. Entering back into the woods, take the first left onto an unblazed trail and follow a series of flowing downhill turns. This trail crosses an old access road (Yellow with Black Dot Trail) and drops down into a scenic valley of large oak trees and beautiful wildflowers in the spring. Stay to the right at the bottom of the hill (Yellow with Red Dot Trail), and eventually cross a small bridge at the bottom of a valley. Stay to the left and follow the trail back to the parking lot.
Green Loop Trail
Length: 2.25 miles | Easy-to-moderate
To begin, park at the Boyce Park Soccer Fields and then walk about 100 feet past the Chimney Swift Habitat Tower to find the first green blaze on the right. The first half of this hike meanders through mixed woodlands. This trail then crosses the gravel service road and stays in the forest for a short distance before it quickly turns back out adjacent to the road and then back into the woods for the remainder of the hike.
The last section follows along some of the largest oak trees in Boyce Park. The trail exits just uphill from the Archery Range then crosses over the service road and back to the Soccer Field parking lot.
Deer Lakes Park
Length: 1 mile | Easy
This trail is ideal for all experience levels and shares the beginning section with the Blue Trail, and then continues straight, diverging from the Blue Trail. The next section of trail is flat and leads to mild elevation changes. The trail then flattens out again as it approaches a cemetery on the right, just beyond the park's boundary. This section of the trail gets rocky before entering a meadow
Pause in the meadow to take in the surrounding sights and sounds of the flora and fauna. Exiting the meadow, the trail opens up to a much wider section and returns to the beginning. Add about two miles to the hike by connecting it with the Blue Trail.
Length: 1.5 miles | Moderately difficult
Access this trail by parking at the back of the Anglers Shelter parking lot off Cattail Drive. Enjoy a view of the quiet Upper Lake as mature oak trees and beds of moss line both sides of the trail. Cross a small footbridge and walk through a shallow stream to continue deeper into the forest.
The trail crosses an access road, passes through an area full of mature pine trees, and then crosses the road again. The path then descends into a valley where it takes a curve. Pass the Disc Golf Course next and come to a footbridge that leads back to the starting point.
Harrison Hills Park
Length: 2.13 miles | Moderate
This trail features mild elevation changes, with the first section being very wide. It meanders above a creek bed and wetlands that attract birds, mammals, and amphibians. This low, flat section takes a left turn and follows a tributary uphill. After crossing the spring that feeds the tributary below, the trail descends to a steeper rocky section, passing under dense tree canopy. To cut the trek in half, the trail leads back to a road, which is a short walk from the parking lot starting point.
The trail then cuts through the old farm field, which is a great opportunity to see some local bird species. The trail makes its way back into the forest and eventually comes out along the field near the edge of a bluff overlooking the Allegheny River, where there is a nice bench to enjoy a break and take in the view. The Green Trail next dips down into a small valley and can become a little swampy in the spring but provides great opportunities for birding. Finally, the trail climbs out of the valley and follows a ridge line back before descending to the parking lot again.
Length: 5 miles | Moderate-to-difficult
This loop circles the entire park, starting and ending at the Overlook parking lot. Find red blazes on the trees lining the fence at the end of the parking lot, marking the start of the loop. Turn right and cross a bridge at the top of a deep boulder-filled ravine that is lush with wildflowers in the spring. The trail follows the edge of this ravine, offering stunning views of the Allegheny River. The trail then leads toward the South Pond, where a bird blind sits at the end of a boardwalk.
Look for a variety of birds and amphibians as the walkway passes over sensitive plant species. The trail then climbs up out of the grass fields that surround the pond and through a mixed woodland before crossing Woodchuck Dr. and passing Baneberry Shelter. The trail next winds through a mature upland forest before descending to cross Cottontail Drive, where it combines with the Green Trail for a half mile.
Continuing along the Red Trail, pass several little streams, and then climb out of the bottom land and follow along the edge of an old farm field — a great place to look for birds. The trail heads north passing an old farm pond, eventually joining with the Rachel Carson Trail. It then passes a cell tower before it goes back deeper into the forest and passes through its most spectacular section. The last mile of the Red Trail right next to the edge of the bluff for amazing views of the Allegheny River before returning to the parking lot.
Hartwood Acres Park
Length: 1.5 miles | Easy
Hartwood Acres features a paved trail system that stretches from one end of the park to the other, with a perfect surface for walkers and strollers alike. Park at the Mansion lot and access the trail beside the towering North Light sculpture (1982) by David von Schlegell — a part of the Sculpture Garden at Hartwood Acres. Pass through groves of hemlocks and pines, and mixed hardwood forests and then choose multiple paths once reaching the amphitheater area.
Visit the sprawling concert grounds and enjoy some of the sculptures that are located there, or follow the loop to the field behind the amphitheater to view the beautiful wildflower meadow. These paths altogether add about 1.5 miles to trek or head back to the mansion along the service road, just before the dog park. Climb back up from the amphitheater area and enjoy an excellent view of the Hartwood Acres Stable Complex. The mansion is only a short walk along the service road from the stables, so feel free to explore a little while before heading back.
Length: 2.25 miles | Moderate
This is a loop that features minor elevation changes and starts and ends at the Hartwood Acres Mansion parking lot, accessible from Saxonburg Boulevard. A purple blaze on a tree on the left-hand side of the road marks the trailhead. The historic Hartwood Acres stables are visible from this trail as the trail meanders along the crest of the hillside through a mixed hardwood forest.
The trail gradually descends through a rocky forest offering views of pastureland in the valley below. It then climbs back to the top of the ridge and winds in and out of oak filled valleys. Travel along old bridle trails and narrower hiking trails. Pass through a pleasing variety of shaded and sunny sections and have the opportunity to see a variety of plants and wildlife.
Length: 5 miles | Easy-to-moderate
This paved path circles the scenic North Park Lake, the largest in Allegheny County. It attracts fitness enthusiasts of every ability level all year long. The lake provides a habitat for several species of fish, turtles, birds, amphibians, and mammals. Start at the Boat House parking lot and take in the beautiful views of the lake on the right side. Walk towards Babcock Boulevard and look across the lake to the right to find an island. In the winter, this island is one of the most common areas where our Bald Eagles perch atop the tall trees. In the springtime, the double-crested cormorants come in large groups to perch in the trees. Ospreys, great blue herons, mallard ducks, and other birds are also commonly seen here.
Cross the dam and see the North Park Meadow to the left. The observation mound at the heart of the meadow offers stunning views of the area for all that climb atop it. As the trail follows Ingomar Road, catch a glimpse of a beaver swimming or gnawing on a tree in the water. The next leg of the trail meanders along Lakeshore Drive for a quiet escape from the busier roadways. Keep an eye out for all sorts of wildlife on this quiet one-way lane. Finally, the trail makes its way back to Tennis Court Drive. Finish up the walk with a stop at the Boat House for a bite to eat.
Length: 2.4 miles | Moderately difficult
White Trail is the most popular loop in North Park's South Ridge. Park at the far end of the Pie Traynor Field parking lot. At the end of the lot, there is a sign for the soccer fields. Follow the gravel path to the right. At the end of the path, make a left-hand turn onto the white blazed trail. The trail descends into the valley, away from the busy South Ridge area, and passes through a rocky woodland. Cross over a few small streams and pass though shaded pine forests before ascending back out of the valley along former service roads.
The second half of the trail closely follows the South Ridge Loop Road but stays tucked back far enough to offer a nice respite from busier park areas. Heading back to the parking lot, pass beneath towering oaks, home to many creatures including the great horned owl.
Round Hill Park
Harmony House Red Trail
Length: 2 miles | Easy-to-moderate
To begin on this unblazed trail, park at Harmony House Shelter which features a variety of farm animals and crop fields. The trailhead is marked by two split rail fences that flank either side of the trail. Follow this path through the forest and fields, stay left at the "Y," and the trail meets a wide clearing with a fire ring that is used for scouting groups. The trail continues at the far end of the clearing. Stay left and go through a small strip of forest and proceed downhill through another small field. Stay left again and climb up a small knob and through a small pine grove. Descending on the knob, continue following the edge of the wood line and stay to the left through the next few intersections. The trail opens to a utility corridor, turn right, and then descend along the right-hand side of the corridor.
Find several trails off to the right while descending. These trails meander through the forest, but follow the utility corridor to the base of the hill. Head right through the woods into another large field, and stay along the left side and eventually climb to the top of the field. Round a hairpin turn and then descend again and find a small bench and a stream crossing. Cross the stream and follow the trail uphill. This section is a much narrower path through the woods. At the top of the climb, the trail widens again and then opens into a field. Cross the field following the wood line on the right-hand side. Pass over a small creek and then arrive at the lower Harmony House parking lot. Walk uphill on the side of the road to reach Harmony House Shelter parking lot.
Harmony House Blue Trail
Length: 1 mile | Easy
This walk follows along part of the same path of the Red Trail but is just over one mile long and has far less elevation change. To begin, park at Harmony House Shelter and look for the trailhead marked by two split rail fences that flank either side of the trail. Follow this path through the forest and fields, stay left at the "Y," and the trail meets a wide clearing with a fire ring that is used for scouting groups. The trail continues at the far end of the clearing.
Stay left and go through a small strip of forest and proceed downhill through another small field. Stay left again and climb up a small knob and through a small pine grove. Descend the knob and enter a small field. Take a sharp right-hand turn to begin the journey back. Come into another open field where the trail becomes a "Y" again — stay to the left. To the right is the route just previously traveled. Follow along a series of fields: depending on the time of the year, some fields may be fallow, while others may have crops planted. The trail curves through a final section of forest and then opens into a final field and then see the road again. Pass through a restoration tree planting and then meet the road just below the Harmony House Shelter parking lot.
Settlers Cabin Park
Length: 7.75 miles | Moderate-to-difficult
This trail is for the more adventurous! Bring a lunch and enjoy an all-day trip. Park at the Panhandle Connector lot to access this trail. The trailhead marker is underneath the large tree at the corner of the parking lot. Take the trail into the woods and follow it to a clearing in the utility corridor; follow the Red Trail down the hill and back into the forest. At times, the trail parallels a small stream that cascades over rocks, leading to a small pond. Go right for better views of the pond and continue the hike along the beautiful Pinkerton Run Valley, filled with a variety of wildflowers in the spring. The trail winds its way back up to a utility corridor and into an open meadow. Follow the Red Trail to the left to Greer Road. Cross the road and follow the trail to the Gilbert Love Shelter parking lot. The trail crosses the park entrance road and into the Algonquin Shelter parking lot before dropping back into the woods.
The Red Trail meets the Blue Trail and together they pass the dek hockey rink and tennis courts before returning to the woods. The Red Trail then crosses the Waterfall Trail/Green Trail. (Follow the Green Trail through the valley and connect back to the Red Trail for a scenic detour.) Before the Blue Trail breaks away from the Red Trail at the Tomahawk Shelter parking lot, travel through a beautiful section of white pine forest and see some upland bogs off the trail to the left. The Red Trail continues along the valley where it joins the Green Trail for a short distance. The Red Trail then joins with the Yellow Trail before breaking away the final time and crossing the Panhandle Connector Trail. (To cut the hike short, take the Panhandle Connector uphill back to the parking lot.) The Red Trail drops down into a small valley and then back up the hill before entering the lower Pinkerton Run Valley. Pass a picturesque cascade on Pinkerton Run and then shortly after, arrive at the first utility corridor. To finish the hike, head up the hill to the right and return to the parking lot.
Waterfall Trail / Green Trail Loop
Waterfall Trail – 1 mile | Easy-to-moderate
Green Trail – 2 miles | Moderate-to-difficult
The Waterfall Trail begins at the Waterfall Trail/Off-Leash Dog Park parking lot. Find the trailhead entrance located between two stacked stone piles and marked with a sign and green blazes. This trail leads to a picturesque natural waterfall nestled in a cool hemlock ravine. The trail winds through the woodland, offering views of the valley bottom along the way. As the trail begins its descent into the valley, it narrows and passes through a hemlock grove and descends with a set of timber steps. Step up to the split rail fence and be greeted with the first view of the waterfall. Head down the timber and earthen steps to the left and follow the Waterfall Trail sign as the trail makes the final descent to the stream below. Follow the trail back to the parking lot for a one-mile round trip.
Looking for a longer adventure? Continue along the Green Trail — either by taking a left and following the green blazes from the split rail fence view point; or turn around at the waterfall and follow the trail downstream to a stepping stone crossing. Cross the stones and stay to the right at the next intersection to stay on the Green Trail and continue into the valley. Another route crosses the second set of stone steps and follows the Green Trail back up to the top at this point as well. As the trail meanders along the creek in the valley, see many species of trees and wildflowers. Large boulders and rock outcroppings jut out from the edges of the valley. The trail makes a right turn at the end of the valley and follows a small spring that climbs up out of the bottom. Along this section, enjoy some impressive views of the valley below just previously traversed. The trail tops out onto a flatter area and turns right to join the Red Trail for a short while. Again, the Green Trail turns right as it splits from the Red Trail, descending back down into the valley, just above the waterfall. Next, cross a small bridge and then a wet crossing above the waterfall. The Green Trail completes the loop at the stairs and split rail fence. Follow the timber stairs back up and out of the valley to the parking lot.
Montour Connector Trail
Length: 2 to 4 miles | Easy-to-moderate
This family-friendly, crushed gravel, unblazed trail is not a loop, so it can be shortened by turning back at any time. The trail is two miles long one way or four miles total out and back. It meanders through the woods, into a quiet valley with a stream crossing before it connects to the Montour Trail. Park at the Game Preserve parking lot on Sesqui Drive and look for the trailhead to the right of the bike racks.
Meander up and down though mixed woodlands. and after passing the model airfield, the trail is a continuous downhill path to the creek. Traveling along the lower sections of the creek, look for an old stone quarry where the stone for sites like the Vale of Cashmere, the Cascades, and many of the original shelters was quarried. Be prepared for an uphill journey on the way back. This trail is mostly shaded but does have some sunnier spots along the way.
Vale of Cashmere Trail
Length: 1 mile | Easy
This short, easy hike winds through some of the earliest historical features of South Park, dating back to the 1920s. Traveling north on East Park Drive from the roundabout, look for the trailhead in the small parking lot on the left hand side of the road not long after the road enters the woods. This unblazed trail quickly descends to a shallow creek and crosses a bridge. A short walk leads to the Vale of Cashmere, what was once a series of five interconnected stone and earthen pools. It gets its unusual name from a beautiful place described in a poem by Thomas Moore.
On this trek, find the stunning remains of the largest pool and watercourse. The path follows along its stone walls up the valley, passing more of the Vale along the way, including subsequent pools and channels, though none as grand as the first. The trail next winds through a sunny wetland area — stay to the right and cross a shallow creek. The trail then climbs back up almost to the road and stays to the right following the creek downstream. Pass a small stone-lined spring and see views of the Vale below. The trail next leads back to the bridge near where the hike began.
White Oak Park
Length: 1 mile | Moderate-to-difficult
This trail travels nearly the entire perimeter of the park's main section. Start at the Wedding Gardens parking lot. To access the trail, cross the field to the wood line. The trailhead is located on the right side of the field, about halfway between the parking lot and the restrooms — look for a white trail blaze. Follow the trail through the woods and then shortly cross a rocky creek. Proceed sharply uphill for a short section. The trail meanders through forested areas with eye-catching valley views on the left. About halfway through the trek, the White Trail wraps around the furthest shelter in the park, Redwood Shelter. The trail hangs on the edge of the park's steep hillsides and offers views deep into the valley.
Nearing the end of the loop, the White Trail splits. Stay right following the parking lot trail marker to climb out of the valley and past the Off-Leash Dog Park and walk down the park's entrance road back to the Wedding Gardens parking lot. Walking to the left leads out to McClintock Road. Cross at the intersection with Muse Lane and follow the trail (currently unblazed) to access the Park Office parking lot, which can be an alternate starting point.
Help Keep Trails in Great Shape
When visiting the Allegheny County Parks, please remember that it takes a lot of work to build and maintain the trails, much of which is done by volunteers.
Please follow these simple guidelines to help keep our trails beautiful and healthy.
- Respect other trail users and remember: Bikers yield to hikers, and everyone yields to horses.
- Please stay on established trails. Trails are carefully planned by the trail management team and unplanned, illegal trails are costly to remove. Leaving the trail also causes erosion and damages sensitive plant communities.
- Please avoid using the trails when they are wet and muddy, as significant damage to the trails occurs when the ground is soft. Please choose to walk or ride on one of the paved walking paths or turn back.
For those interested in volunteering to help maintain trails in the Allegheny County Parks, please contact the following:
Trail PGH Trail Pittsburgh is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating, enhancing, and preserving great singletrack trail experiences in Southwestern Pennsylvania parks.
The Rachel Carson Trail Conservancy The Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization dedicated to the development, protection, and promotion of hiking, biking, and walking trails throughout western Pennsylvania.