Five Great Fall Hikes Around the Pittsburgh Area
Looking to spend a day away from the bustling streets and noisy crowds of city life and hit the trail for a fall hike? Lucky for Pittsburgh’s more adventurous crowd, there are a number of scenic, tranquil spots just a short drive outside city limits. Whether you’re looking for serious thrills atop a waterfall or a breezy afternoon to clear your mind before the week ahead, these five hikes are sure to offer the kind of reset you’ll only find from Mother Nature herself.
McConnells Mill – Portersville, PA. If you’ve ever talked hiking with a fellow outdoor enthusiast, chances are, you’ve heard of McConnels Mill. This beloved hiking destination is located just 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, but its 2,546 acres of lush, green park land and rushing Slippery Rock Creek make it feel like a mini vacation. If you want to make a day of it, get up early and plan to stop for breakfast at nearby Brown’s Country Kitchen to fuel up for a day on the trails. Be warned, though — regulars say that the slippery rocks in the aptly named Slippery Rock Creek Gorge require serious hiking boots.
Ohiopyle State Park – Ohiopyle, PA. Head in the opposite direction and you’ll eventually reach Ohiopyle State Park, another hiker’s favorite just over an hour away from Pittsburgh. If you have some time, start your visit with a visit to the charming and eclectic Bittersweet Cafe, which is known for its organic coffees and gigantic Bittersweet Burger. Design lovers will feel inspired by the area, just minutes from Frank Lloyd Wright’s world-famous Fallingwater house (which makes a great detour pre- or post-hike). Once you reach the trails, however, you’ll feel like you’re a world away from it all; the 20,500 acres of rugged terrain and rushing water from the Youghiogheny River Gorge are challenging for experienced hikers, but newbies will also love spending the day lying on the flat, smooth rocks in the river after a particularly hot summer hike.
Riverview Park – North Side, Pittsburgh, PA. Working with only an afternoon or a few hours in the morning? You don’t have to venture far to find seriously awe-inspiring hiking near Pittsburgh, and Riverview Park on the city’s North Side is proof. This 259-acre park is located between Perrysville Avenue, Woods Run and Marshall Avenue, and it’s known for its extensive network of trails that boast views of dense forests, the historic Chapel Shelter and steep hills that are great for those looking for some cardio on their hike. End the day with a visit to the Allegheny Observatory, located on the park grounds.
Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve – Fox Chapel, PA. For serious animal lovers, Beechwood Farms is the perfect spot for a hike because of the plethora of wildlife that’s always flying, hopping or darting from the brush along its trails. This nature reserve acts as the headquarters for the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, which also makes it the perfect place to brush up on your birdwatching while you hike.
North Park – Allison Park, PA. This 3,075 acre park is situated around a 65-acre lake at its center, which makes it the ideal destination for those looking for more than just hiking on their woodland excursion. Rent a kayak to traverse the lake before hitting the paved or dirt trails that wind their way throughout the park grounds. And there is the added bonus of a beer at Over the Bar with a lakeside view after you are done!