Accessibility in Your County Parks

Parks are cherished as oases of tranquility, where people can reconnect with nature, unwind, and rejuvenate. However, for some members of our community, the simple act of enjoying a day in the park can be fraught with obstacles due to accessibility challenges. While we recognize that the parks in our region still have steps to take to ensure equal access to these spaces, there are lots of beautiful places that are ready to be explored now. In this blog post, we are going to share a few options for individuals with accessibility challenges to get out and explore trails in all 9 of their county parks!

ADA-Accessible Options

  1. The Paved Trail at the Sculpture Garden in Hartwood Acres Park: Hartwood Acres features a paved trail that allows visitors to enjoy a majority of the sculptures featured at the Carol R. Brown Sculpture Garden. Park at one of the two Mansion lots to access the ADA-Accessible trail that guides you around 11 of the 14 sculptures. View the Sculpture Garden map here!

2. Tennis Court Road Loop in North Park: This brand-new, .5 mile, ADA-accessible, trail runs from the North Park Boathouse to Walter Road and is a safe, beautiful way for anyone to enjoy the park. This short trail includes views of the lake, nearby woods, a playground and the riparian plantings we have been working on as part of our North Fork Pine Creek  project. Parking is available near the Boathouse, or along Tennis Court Road.

Paved Route Options

These options are not fully ADA-Accessible, but do offer visitors with a route that may work for them depending on specific needs. Further details on all of these park trails is available on Allegheny County’s website here

Dedicated Trails

  1. Maple Springs Loop at South Park: Maple Springs is a 1.75 mile loop made of paved surface with some rock and gravel sections. There is exercise equipment, a pond, a gazebo, a chess board table and woods along this trail!
  2. Farm Loop at Round Hill Park: This paved loop is .5 miles along and allows visitors to see all the farm animals who live at Round Hill including pigs, horses, llamas, goats, chickens and cows.
  3. Pond Loop at Deer Lakes Park: The paved loop at Deer Lakes Park is flat and gives visitors the chance to explore the perimeter around two of the three lakes. It is a little over a 1 mile trail and Veterans Shelter, an ADA-compliant pavilion, is available for rental along the route.
  4. Centerview Drive in Boyce Park: Centerview Drive was once a road, but is now closed to public traffic. It is a 1.2 mile out-and-back paved trail. Try parking at the soccer fields and walk past the Pack shelter just past the parking lot to connect with Centerview Drive.
  5. Watts Memorial Overlook Walk in Harrison Hills Park: Anyone can enjoy the view from Harrison Hills Park by using this short and accessible walkway to the overlook. From this scenic vantage point visitors can see Butler, Armstrong and Westmoreland Counties plus the Allegheny River.
  6. Panhandle Connector Trail in Settlers Cabin Park: The first phase of the trail segment connecting Settlers Cabin Park to the Panhandle Trail is complete. The trail is paved and is a 1.2 mile out-and-back route that begins on Greer Road, across from the old park office.

Shared Road Trails

  1. Corrigan Drive at South Park: Visitors can explore up to four miles of roadside trail through South Park on this out-and-back route. There is a dedicated section of the road for pedestrians, bikes and wheelchairs.
  2. Lake Trail Loop at North Park: The five mile Lake Trail loop includes lake and forest views, plus it is an area known for it’s bird watching.

Park Roads

  1. Sylvan Drive in White Oak Park: This 3 mile out-and-back takes you through White Oak Park, along the road and is a popular route for individuals and groups. There is rarely heavy traffic on the road and views will include woods, shelters, the dog park and the wedding chapel. Park as soon as you enter the park on Sylvan Road.
  2. Te Pe Drive and Greer Road in Settlers Cabin Park: You can enjoy a paved experience through White Oak Park by staying on two of the main roads and meandering through the park. This out-and-park is 2.4 miles total and goes from the old park office at the Panhandle Connector Trailhead to the loop above the Waterfall Trail parking lot.

Accessible park trails enrich the overall park experience for all by welcoming people of all backgrounds and abilities into the parks. We would love to hear about your favorite accessible areas of the county parks to visit. We would also appreciate your feedback on how we can continue to improve the park experience for all.  Let’s work together to ensure that park trails are accessible to everyone, allowing everyone to connect with the great outdoors and create lasting memories.