Pittsburgh is a beautiful city that offers more than just a stunning view of its iconic three rivers from Mount Washington. It’s also home to some of the best hiking destinations for both novice and experienced hikers. If you’re on the hunt for places to hike near Pittsburgh, get your hiking gear ready and consider the following recommendations.
Laurel Highlands Trail
Located about 50 miles from Pittsburgh in Rockwood, PA, the Laurel Highlands Trail is a 70-mile backpacking trail. Peppered with flower-laden rocks, it stretches along a breathtaking patch of land that stretches from Ohiopyle by the Laurel Mountains to just near Johnstown by the Conemaugh Gorge. You’ll find both beginner and more challenging trails here.
North Country Trail
This expansive trail covers seven states and spans nearly 5,000 miles, 175 miles of which are located in Pennsylvania. If you take a roughly 2-hour drive from Pittsburgh via I-79 N you’ll find an assortment of easily accessible trails. If you’re up for a challenge, head to Allegheny National Forest to get to the North Country Trail and hop onto trails nestled along the Clarion River corridor. The trail is rated moderate in terms of difficulty. Leashed dogs are allowed.
Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve
Just 10 miles from Pittsburgh in Fox Chapel, the Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve offers five miles of hiking trails. As you make your way along pathways pay attention to the seasonal flora, fauna, and wildlife you’ll find within this area. Many of the trails here are wide and spacious and largely family friendly, although you can certainly find some challenging hiking trails here as well.
The fourth-largest municipal park in Pittsburgh, Riverview Park is only 4 miles north of the downtown area. This scenic park is also home to 8 miles of hiking trails. Be advised that the trails are primarily in dense woodlands with steep hillsides, so they are considered to be on the challenging side. If you want something more moderate, consider the 2.7-mile Riverview Park Loop Trail since it’s recommended for all skill levels. Dogs are welcome, too, as long as they’re leashed.
Gerard Hiking Trail
In order to access this trail you’ll need to go about 100 miles from Pittsburgh to Oil Creek State Park, but the drive is less than 2 hours via I-79 N. Rated as moderate, the trail loop itself extends 12.2 miles over a moderately trafficked pathway. If you do some exploring in the area after hiking along Gerard Trail you’ll also see oil machinery and abandoned homesteads that reflect the history of this part of PA. If you prefer something more picturesque, look for the waterfalls that dot the landscape along the trail.
Forbes State Forest
Six good hiking trails can be found when you visit Forbes State Forest. Altogether, this location boasts more than 300 miles of multi-use trails, with most of them considered to be on the easy side. Forbes State Forest is located about 64 miles from Pittsburgh and accessible via I-76 E.